In reply to KI7Z:
I think Stu is dead on. Its beefing up the information pages on the summits that is really a lot of work and important in terms of growing the ranks of activators. Having more summits is important, but I think it is the rare first time activator that will go to a summit with no access information in hand.
When I started hiking in the NYC area, I couldn’t find trailmaps, I had no idea where or if I could park at the different summits…it was all a mystery. Town libraries/governments had no idea how to access the summits in their area, and the trailclubs are very regional…they have some info for some of the summits in their area and nothing about surrounding areas. I got lost several times trying to locate my first summit, South Beacon Mountain.
I have found that to find trail info/access info for a summit I might have to check with local, state, and federal governments as well as an assortment of trail clubs, nature preservation groups and other internet sources before I can put together a picture of how to get up the mountain or even if a mountain is open to the public.
Its important for me to have a plan BEFORE I get to a hill’s area because most hills are quite some distance from my home and I don’t have loads of extra time…I can’t drive an hour one way only to find out there is no access to a summit or that access is limited to certain hours/days.
Now, coming up on two years of activating, I am much better at finding trail info, but many reasonably close by summits are still mysteries to me, and an exhaustive search has turned up nothing in terms of access information.
I have found that in W1 and W2 most new activators seem to activate summits that already have info posted on the summit information pages. This would lead me to believe that if more summits had info posted, then more activators would join the program because more homes would be within easy driving distance of summits where access info had already been detailed by other hams.
I know in W3 they are trying to build a website with a map of all the summits with notations on which summits have information posted.
The only good graphical resource I have found for all SOTA summits is the google earth file at:
which does NOT label which summits have info posted.
If someone could make a live resource, or if you in W7 could make something where potential activators could see on a map which summits did have and which did not have access info posted then I think you would be taking a great leap towards bringing SOTA to greater numbers of people.
I would say you should get as many summits in the program as possible, but be sure to make it easy for potential activators to find summits near them where someone else has already done the leg work of determining access and trail info.
Also I want to stress to all the activators out there, help your fellow hams…after you activate a summit, update the summit information page with any access info you have. Access might be obvious to you, but not to others without a bit of a guiding hand. Its always upsetting to see summits that have been activated but have no info posted…