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Backpacker Magazine – September 2005

What Would Davy Crockett Do?

He'd toss the titanium stove and build a big fire. Our man enrolls in a traditional guide school and learns how to survive - and think - like an American original.

by: Michael Mason


Clouds are building overhead, and as rain begins to fall we gather the maps and retreat to the lodge to watch a video about low-impact practices in the backcountry. The earnest, well-scrubbed hosts look as if they have just emerged from hot tubs in Aspen. Hikers, they tell us, should never walk single-file lest they unnecessarily break a new trail. Campfires should be built on fireproof cloths spread atop rocks, and the ashes buried. Dishes must be washed with water and spruce combs. In the wilderness, toilet paper is a luxury.

Jeff is showing us this video, I gather, not because he endorses it, but because he believes it's an example of the politically misbegotten nonsense that sensible people in the outdoor-recreation business have to confront all the time. For well-heeled hunters, he and the outfitters at COAGS regularly run mule trains into the backcountry carrying tons of equipment - mammoth tents, entire kitchens, food, water, medicine for dozens of people and animals. In one legendary exploit, an outfitter packed a grand piano into Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness.

"Leave-no-trace is impossible, in my opinion," Jeff says after the video ends. "But do we want to make it a shithole out there? Absolutely not. Some of these rules are positive, like not cutting corners on switchbacks. But the rules are different in every forest. As a commercial outfitter, you will always have a mandated set of rules to follow from the government." Like Ed Abbey, who famously flaunted the rules in his beloved canyon country, Jeff seems less perturbed by any specific decree than by the whole body of them - and by the nauseating idea that people less competent than he want to tell him what to do. While many of us regard the wilderness as a place of escape, Jeff, it appears, has seen enough to know better. Where once there was freedom, there is now regulation.

There is frustration in his voice now, and a little anger. As Jeff tells it, there is a battle being fought for the outdoors. On one side are pointy-headed Washington rulemakers and misguided environmentalists who wish to preserve public land in a pristine state, untouched by human hands. On the other are recreation enthusiasts who believe that God put nature here to be used - wisely, of course, but used.

"The wilderness has to be available to everyone in this country," Jeff says. "Llama-packers, hunters, ATVers, motorcyclists. Everyone has a right to an outdoor part of the ground they're paying for. But some groups push for other groups not to be able to use public land, and if we keep alienating each other - the snowmobilers from the hikers, the ATVers from the mountain bikers - then pretty soon we all lose strength."

Most hikers I know believe that safeguarding the environment is the answer, not the problem. But listening to Jeff, I can see how baffling it must be to people who make their living in the wilderness that so many of us regard it as a sort of gigantic terrarium that must be sealed off from noxious human influences. To someone like Jeff, a wilderness without people is a wasteland, and any effort to rid it of them is an attempt to remake nature into something it never was. Here's something I think hunters know that hikers forget: We belong outdoors. It is our first home. Not having the skill - and attitude - to survive there is like not having a key to your own front door.



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Anonymous
Oct 02, 2012

OUCH!! $250,000 !! Too bad Jeff Miner doesn't own anything, the Ball's will be lucky if they ever collect a dime from him. He's got a couple junker vehicles, not worth $1000 total.

Anonymous
Oct 02, 2012

m

Anonymous
Sep 23, 2012

Jeff, you can't even figure out who writes these comments about you? Past investors, do the math Jeff, as of September 21, 2012 you should have received your notification of judgement against you. Let's see, more than $250.000.00 owed to Mr and Mrs. Ball for fraud. What was it, $100.000.00 plus in civil damages and over $100.000.00 in punitive damages? Oh yeah, your innocent allright!
Surely you can't be so ignorant as to think all the persons writing their comments in this article have no knowledge of your slimy background. Oh and yes I understand you are being pursued for criminal actions also, in New Mexico and Colorado. The wheels of justice turns slow when you are a victim, but justice is finally catching up to you.
Better get busy hiring lawyers, you are going to need them. Don't worry your little brain about who writes these comments, worry about how your going to pay what you owe and how you'll do your time.


Jeff Miner
Sep 14, 2012

I would sure like it if all the people that have written on this page would reveal who they are. I and Theresa went through a Full New Mexico Trial over the purchase of Chama River Outfitters. That trial ended in the end of June 2012. As of today there still has not been a ruling in that trial. I would also like all of you to get your FACTS correct if you are going to slander me in public. I will wait your responses, and please write down your name if you are 100% sure of what you are talking about. As for the Former Investor, the fact is that Theresa and I have a court ordered Judgement in Mesa County Court that stipulates that you owe us several Thousands of dollars, and we have NEVER been paid a penny of that judgement. Now for the person that says we are Banned for LIFE in New Mexico, this is also false, my New Mexico License is fully intact and Valid. Again please know your facts. I stand here to defend my Family and Myself to this Slander and Defamation on my personal character. Please stand up and acknowledge yourself. Outfitters License in CO. is #2621 and NM is #4577 Now for the person that says don't rent or sell anything to us, reveal yourself and let Me know what you think we owe You. Thank You for your time Jeff Miner

Anonymous
Aug 29, 2012

Well it's about time that folks are catching on to these thieves !!! Yes, all of the above is correct. Horrible reputation in their community and across the country. Lie, steal, owe everone $, write bad checks. It's a wonder that Jeff isn't in jail yet..but he time is coming. ANOTHER word of caution.....NEVER rent to them !!!! not a house, a horse pasture, or even a storage unit....you won't get paid. Oh and if you sell them anything...get cash upfront.

Former investor
Aug 24, 2012

Jeff and Theresa are the biggest scammers in the outfitting, guiding, educational and equine business I have ever found. As an investor who met Jeff and Theresa, they thrive on those who need to live an exciting life and have money to invest and pray on those whom have an existing business and want to or are ready to retire. If you come in contact with these bottom feeders, run like the wind. They are predators.
They NEVER tell the truth and will someday receive their penance for their actions.
They are thieves, liars, predators and the lowest form of flesh that exist. Contact the above Cache Creek outfitters, any citizen of Collbran CO., the Colorado Outfitters Assoc., the New Mexico Outfitters Assoc., their convictions in New Mexico where they have been banned for life from hunting, guiding and outfitting.
BE AWARE!

Anonymous
Aug 22, 2012

AGREE 100% Jeff and Teresa Miner ARE complete phony LIARS. BEWARE. Jeff will lie thru his teeth and then go to church and tell more lies. And then his lovely wife Teresa will totally back up his lies.
Complete scammers who are run off of every outfit they work for.

b
Aug 22, 2012

xx

deed16
Jul 02, 2012

Agreed, they are the biggest fakes! How about Jeff being a Deadbeat father who owes over $100,000.00 in back child support and has been running and hiding for years! Check out New Mexico Court website they were being sued for Verified Complaint for Breach of Contract, Civil Fraud, Conspiracy, conversion and Tortious Damage to Reputation not to mention they were outfitting without a license! Check out the Chama Rivers website, there is a disclaimer about doing any business with Jeff Miner! Be careful doing business with him he is not trustworthy!

Deb83
Jul 02, 2012

Asher 42
Jan 03, 2012

Jeff and Theresa miner are the biggest fakes in the outfitting industry. Call cache creek outfitters in New Mexico,or the Colorado Outfitters Association...they cannot be trusted whatsoever

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