RPTA 376 Perspectives in Outdoor Recreation

Date Link Comment
Jan 17
  • See information in Course Syllabus
Jan 17
  • See information in Course Syllabus
May 9
  • Final examination exercise
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Course–Related Web Links
Link (open in new window/tab) Description
Chris McCandless & Into the Wild
  • Discusses & supports Hamilton’s theory (see below) about the cause of McCandless’s death
  • PBS documentary featuring interviews with Carine McCandless, Chris’s step–sisters, and his parents (who in my opinion are let off far too easily by the producers).
  • Presents new information on the circumstances of McCandless’s death
  • Features comments by Will Forsberg, who found McCandless’s backpack in fall, 1992. Hidden in the backpack was McCandless’s wallet with multiple IDs and $300 in cash — evidence that McCandless intended to return to civilization at some point.
  • Discusses the lessons Carine McCandless learned from her brother, his death, coping with their dysfunctional parents, and raising her own daughters. She is a strong, impressive woman.
Climate Change & Other Environmental Issues
  • NASA project that collects and analyzes climate change data, including effects on animal habitat. For anyone skeptical about the existence of climate change, a visit to NASA’s “Scientific Consensus” page will be worthwhile.
Risk Recreation (e.g., mountaineering)
  • Uses a legendary 1936 incident on the Eiger in the Swiss Alps to explore why people continue to risk it all even after having already confronted their likely deaths while climbing. Quite well done.
  • Analyzes data on Mount Everest climbing fatalities. Demonstrates that Sherpa mortality is higher than climber mortality. Finds that being a Sherpa on Everest is more dangerous than being a soldier in Iraq from 2003 to 2007. Question: Is it fair to expose people to such danger just so others may climb a mountain?
  • Dramatization of the Everest first ascent. Uses mix of historic and contemporary materials.
  • Discusses the role Sherpas play in Himalayan climbing, demonstrating how unfairly Sherpas are often treated fairly by Western expedition services. Suggests Western climbers are reluctant to acknowledge dependency on Sherpas for actual climbing, not just logistical support. Questions: What does it take to fairly claim that you have climbed a mountain or run a river? How much of the actual work must you do?
  • BBC documentary that provides a sympathetic account of Sherpa culture and their often heroic contributions to Everest climbing.
  • National Geographic Society documentary. The video directly and provocatively confronts ethical issues in extreme risk recreation, both regarding one’s motives for climbing and one’s duties to other climbers.
  • Discovery Channel documentary featuring accounts by many participants in the 1996 expeditions. Gives a prominent role to Jon Krakauer and his account.
  • Recommended. Video showing the notorious Khumbu ice fall from a climber’s perspective. Shot with a helmet–mounted GoPro camera.
  • Recommended. Sympathetic account of sherpa life and culture, makes clear the economic necessities that drive many sherpas to pursue work in the mountains.
  • An ABC Turning Point program focusing on the 1996 Everest tragedies, including interviews with participants. Offers a very different take on events, closer to Jon Krakauer’s controversial book Into Thin Air, than Storm Over Everest viewed in class.
  • BBC documentary covering early expeditionsn to Everest, including the 1953 first ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
  • Classic account of August, 2008, events when eleven climbers perished on K2, the earth’s second highest mountain. K2 is said to be the most dangerous 8000 meter summit to climb. The film explores why people chose to do so and what happened during a terrible forty-eight hours on that mountain.
  • Photographer Aaron Huey discusses a feature he shot for National Geographic emphasizing Sherpa culture. He emphasizes that the word Sherpa does not designate a job but rather a people with a well–developed culture.
Wild Animals & Related Issues
  • Decent video of bear activity near mouth of Ayakulik River. Basic commentary explains what’s going on (try to ignore the canned background music).
  • Tribune article with video on the Nachusa Grasslands project being conducted by the Nature Conservancy.
  • Loads with view of activity at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska. This is a famous salmon fishing area for brown bears. Other web cams are also available. Activity levels vary by season and time of day.
    Note: Best viewed with Chrome or similar browser; Safari gives less satisfactory performance.
  • Self–explanatory
  • Live broadcasts from morning and evening scout trips by guides from Djuma Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand/greater Kruger National Park area in South Africa. Current broadcast times are 9:00 PM CST and 9:00 AM CST. Kind of a kick.
  • A European perspective, focused on the sprawling Carpathian Mountains. There are some surprises here.
  • Audio recording. Imagine hearing this late at night near your campsite.
  • PBS web page with supplemental materials for the Nova documentary Fire Wars
  • Eighteen minute documentary by The Weather Channel about the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona that killed 19 firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots. The documentary, at times emotionally difficult to watch, discusses what happened on June 30, 2013 and why wild fire will be an increasing national problem.
  • Well–done documentary on wildfires of 1910, still the most costly in U.S. history. Explores the background of the catastrophe and its lasting effects on attutudes towards wildfire.
  • Extended essay discussing events at Yarnell Hill and the issue of wild fire policy.
  • Documentary on Yellowstone fires of 1988.
  • Ever wonder what it’s like having to survive inside a fire shelter? This video features wildfire survivors describing their experiences using fire shelters. Some amazingly brave people here.
  • Using accounts by firefighters involved in the South Canyon fire tragedy, explores what went wrong and how to avoid those mistakes in the future.
  • Interview with Kyle Dickman, former hotshot and author of On the Burning Edge, a book about what happened at the Yarnell Hill Fire.
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Handouts & Reading for Class
 When available by 6:00 pm. the evening before class, print, read & bring to class.
Date Link Comment
Jan 24  
Feb 5  
Feb 7  
Feb 9  
Feb 16  
Feb 23  
Feb 26 Abbey, pp. 151–194  
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Presentation Materials from Class
Date Link Comment
Jan 22
  • This is a larger file because of images. You may want to download it but not print it to save ink/toner.
Jan 24  
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Video Worksheets
Date Link Comment
Jan 26  
Jan 31  
Feb 16  
Mar 2  
Mar 19  
Mar 26  
Apr 4  
Apr 20  
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Writing Guidelines
Date Link Comment
Guidelines for Written Assignments
Aug 22
  • These general requirements apply to all written assignments in my courses. Please read carefully.
Aug 22
Aug 22
Aug 22
  • Help with APA formatting & style.
Aug 22
  • Sample papers in the APA Publications Manual (6th ed.) contained errors as originally published — how’s that for irony? Link to pdf document with corrected versions.
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