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cleaning up camps sites

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cleaning up camps sites

Postby justm » Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:08 pm

[[b]I just got back from a great trip in the Emigrant wilderness. Great fishing, solitude and wildlife. Every camp that I was at, I always shrink the fire ring, and clean up. It's a mess with yahoo campers burning big tree like logs, toilet paper, trees half cut into ect....I wish people woulld remember what the experience is all about.



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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby TahoeJeff » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:19 am

I hear you on the fire rings. In Deso where fires are illegal, I constantly find fresh rings. And I always bust 'em up (per the USFS employee at the local office who issues permits). I draw the line at hauling out used TP however!
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby cmon4day » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:23 am

I commend you justm, I do the same thing. I bring a small trowel and a couple of plastic grocery bags, and I always reduce the size of an existing campfire. I'll find an out of the way place to deposit the ashes. When I find a fire ring that doesn't belong, I always try and scatter the evidence to make it look as natural as possible.
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby Shawn » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:12 am

Iwas hiking with a buddy up SPhinx creek and came across this mess burning outside of the fire ring with no one around. Needless to say, trying to put out the fire buring in that dry and dense environment was a bit of a challenge. We eneded up tossing a couple of those logs into a lake to be sure they were out.

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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby rayfound » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:35 am

That is insane!

When we were backpacking a couple weeks ago, we put the fire completely out (with water) when we went for a short 2 hour day-hike... and it was raining all day!

There was no way we would leave camp with even a smoldering fire in the rain-soaked environment, in a good fire ring.... I can't believe someone left that burning.... simply crazy!
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby copeg » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:38 pm

It sometimes amazes me at the disrespect and/or ignorance some have. I remember one particular case similar to Shawn's, finding an unattended campfire just burning away. I spent the next while going back and forth between a nearby river and the camp with my cookpot to douse the fire myself.
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby hikerduane » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:26 pm

I was with two other guys last weekend at Paradise Lake, north of 80 and as usual, I had to pack out some foil. This time, I had a couple baggies worth of foil and melted metal and broken glass fragments. I thought I had it all cleaned up after dinner Friday night, then by the next morning, I had picked up three more handfuls of debris in the same area I would have swore was free of trash. The young guy who planned the trip packed out a empty Coleman sized propane canister and a plastic mug. At least the pot that had been there on my last couple visits is gone, but a usable, nonstick frying pan was hung on a nail now. The fire pit was never watered down from the last one to have a fire there.

Only small fish rising at Paradise, Warren Lake the same. I guess now they will believe me that it is quite a hike out of Warren back to Paradise.
Piece of cake.
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby Skibum » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:04 am

Thanks for dealing with that Shawn. :thumbsup:
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby SSSdave » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:31 am

Been rather long time outspoken critic about wilderness visitors that abuse the backcountry. Little changes over the years leaving me somewhat bitter when ever discussing these matters. Believe me, what you are seeing is nothing new. The main reason it will continue to be the status quo with far too many visitors is those who choose to abuse are almost never punished or even admonished and thus embarrassed. There is a significant number of American's in our society that lacking any enforcement or punishment on official policies, laws, or simply socially exceptible behaviors will choose to conform to only those they personally decide to especially if no one is around to see them. Reality is a great many people are simply lazy, selfishly inconsiderate, little cheaters & liars, and care little about small abuses they inflict on themselves much less the world and its environment. Examples of such poor behavior is everywhere.

Consider the person that regularly in our urban areas tosses trash like beer cans, fast food wrappers, cigarets, etc out their car windows to roadsides. I'm a native Californian and believe me when I say our roadsides were far cleaner before the 70s decade after which it continues to get worse. Or the well known behavioral phenomenon that when people use public restrooms, a surprisingly high number, especially men, if alone so no one sees them, never wash their hands upon leaving. (morons rationalization: a little krap on my hands is fine( for ME). Gee I wiped it on my pants just like I've always done since I was 4 years old!) Add a person and suddenly twice as many feel the need to wash their hands! It doesn't help in our society that morons have always been responsible for establishing our traffic laws. By making maximum road speeds well below typical reasonable driving speeds, it makes lawbreakers of all of us and sets a precedent each of us experiences each day that some laws are ok to be broken and everyone knows it. Of course I could write a book about many more such examples. So what we get out in the backcountry is to be expected. The only solution in a society with such behaviors is embarrassment and punishment because that will get the attention of abusers causing change.

Of course more NP and NF backcountry rangers patrolling those areas would help immensely but little chance that will change anytime in the forseeable future. Wouldn't it be nice if a certain percentage of our wilderness permit fees were by law sent to a backcountry ranger fund? A lot of us would welcome that. There is something the rest of us can do much like some have noted here. See illegal campfires, illegally placed campsite as those too close to lakes, etc and bust em up. We do so all the time. Man would I love to see the look on the face up some of the cretins that return to campspots we've gone through where years before they constructed elaborate illegal fireplaces in what they thought were their secret spots away from trails. Ditto with trash, take a few digi pictures to send to the NF headquarters, pick some up, carry it out. And most effectively, calmly, unemotionally (very important) confront those breaking policies. I do so regularly and the most resistance I ever get is silence. Nothing like embarrassing people to make them think the next time they consider such. One of the biggest abuses is of course those who just just cannot resist camping a few feet from water sources. Especially our alpine lakes...oh they're so beautiful blah blah blah. Every group I've ever spoken to has moved. If many more of us did so, believe me far few would take the chance that some neighbor camped a few hundred feet down a shore will come by and advise them so. Or that the fire they habitually get roaring every evening regardless of where they are, is illegal because people simply do not enjoy being publicly embarrassed especially by strangers. Peer pressure indeed works.
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby maverick » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:56 am

That is crazy Shawn!
I have packed out a lot of stuff, broken up fire rings, but have never ran into
a smoldering fire left unattended or left to burn.
With the extremely dry conditions this could have turned into a major wild fire destroying
miles of beautiful forest, thanks for putting it out!
I would be interested in hearing Mike(Old Ranger) chiming in on this since this was the
the area he patroled.
Also would like to know whether he or GDurkee ever found smoldering fires left by
backpackers, or even better fined anyone for leaving one unattended.
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby mokelumnekid » Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:41 pm

I remember once walking around Thousand Island Lake, and the sun hit the ground just right and I could see that it should have been called Thousand Old Fire Ring Lake. I always disperse fire rings unless they are monument size.

Perhaps like many here I was raised with campfires, as this was before dependable stoves made them moot. Now I never have them, even where they are legal. And I don't miss them. I'm not going to go all soap-box over the issue, the law is clear and it is a personal choice after that...It is of course much more of an issue in the lower Sierra- Sonora Pass (Emigrant) and areas north, because of the added horse traffic (those folks like to play western, and a huge fire is part of that) and because so much of the country is below 10,000 feet- almost all of it in fact.

A related matter is how they effect air quality in the NP campgrounds. I've experienced the huge Toulumne Meadows campground in absolutely chocking/blinding amounts of smoke from the campfires every five feet apart, filling that area in early evening with seemingly toxic amounts of smoke. Ditto for the campground in the Valley.
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Re: cleaning up camps sites

Postby justm » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:09 pm

Shawns photo is shocking! I just can't believe a thinking human being could do that. As far as fires, I do enjoy a small fire at night. Some times I like to hike in a Frozen New York strip steak ( if kept wrapped in a foam pad, will last all day of hiking) grilled over an open fire. ( as for my grill, I bring a small wire pie cooling rack sold at most grocery stores, it's light wieght and works great.) I notice in the Emigrant wilderness the Horse camps are the worse, giant fire pits, and garbage which I don't get, you've got a horse to take the garbage out?
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