Backcountry regulations are getting ridiculous! | High Sierra Topix  

Backcountry regulations are getting ridiculous!

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Postby mountaineer » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:13 pm

Foamfinger...thanks, I learn something new every day. I just haven't seen it in the NPS properties in the Sierra Nevada.

Arloop...good post, but you kind of made my point for me. Yes, you can't go 90 in a school zone with kids around, 25 is prudent. However, in Mineral King Valley, Eagle Lake would be considered a freeway, where campfires are allowed. A pocket of forest, surrounded by acres of granite, with enough downed wood for a lifetime.
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If they can just make blanket regulations banning fires in an entire area, what makes you think they won't just do it for the entire range? And, after that, they will start nickel and diming us to death on where humans can tread...they already have their foot in the door and there is no closing it. I just want to slow their progress.



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Postby arlopop61 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:15 pm

So, frediver, do you advocate some kind of mandatory intelligence test in order to utilize, the park the better to weed out the ones that don't "get it". That wouldn't go over well with the no-reg crowd either. Regs are always amed at the lowest common denominator. I've never had a ticket in my life. Does that mean that I get a pass on any driving regulations? Just because I know the smart thing to do doesn't mean I know what the "x" factors are in a particular environment. In other words I may not have all the information to make an intellegent decision in a specific circumstance.

"Hell, this canyon has no wind at all. I'm safe making a fire here." Except that almost every night the wind comes barrelling up that canyon at 45 miles per at sunset. Sparks and embers take off before I have any chance to douse.

Things happen that are beyond our control or foresight. If it happens on a solo climb and you take a 700 foot header, well, sorry bout your luck. But if it screws up MY park you owe me. And I am willing to sacrifice some of your fire for my chance to walk into that forest again next week.

In the end we all have rules we aren't happy about. I personally am not happy having to carry a bear canister around. But if I have a bad night and fail to hang a bag just right, the next week someone at that campsite has a sow with a peanut butter jones traipsing through their camp and this time she might have her cubs. Somebody might get hurt and that can be prevented by inconveniencing me a little.

Do what you can to make the regs better but trust me on this, they ain't going away.
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Back and forth

Postby frediver » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:26 pm

We can continue this but I don't think we will solve anything.
You can't legislate responsibility, I tend to follow the rules whether or not I agree with them. Many places I have visited this past year I could have had a fire without any problems except for the regulations, so I did not !
A bushbuddy, hobo or zip stove would have worked well, plenty of fuel was available so was water and a good fire base. Still accidents do happen and I did not have a fire but 30 miles away mother nature did !
Sparks fly from every fire whether or not the fire is at 5,000 ft in a park
campground or 10k surrounded by granite with no place to go .
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Postby mountaineer » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:39 pm

Okay, just ban ALL fires everywhere and be done with it.
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Postby arlopop61 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:41 pm

Mountaineer,

I agree that it's a slippery slope and we can get nickled and dimed if we aren't careful. I have buddy who swears it won't be long before they're regulating the treads on the bottoms of our boots. However, maybe because I don't mind using my stove and maybe because there are still places I can build that fire if I want, I don't mind losing this battle.

But don't touch the treads on my boots. :D
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Postby mountaineer » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:52 pm

I agree, I have plenty of places to go to build a fire, etc. Except that since my first trip into the Sierra Nevada in 1970 I have seen those places dwindle rapidly. You might be happy with losing the battle but what will you do when you lose the war? And I am not just talking about fires.
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Postby Grzldvt » Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:20 am

I have stopped doing fires on all my trips. I bring along a lantern where I can reuse/recycle the fuel cylinder. The environmental impact is simply alot less.
I used to do giant fires, then a group of us built one in an area that we probably shouldn't have due to high traffic. Every time I go into the same area I could see the scars of that fire and how it mars the landscape.
That convinced me to stop and use something that is much less of an impact. I spent eight hours, removing the remnants of that scar. Today you would have no clue we were there.

I thought packing out TP was ridiculous, until I went into a very popular area and found remnants of TP and feces simply sitting under rock. Many people did not even bother to dig a hole. I would have loved to have found them and smeared their face in what they left behind for me to see. How hard is it to dig a hole and bury your feces? Instead they just plunked a rock over the entire pile....

Was doing a day hike in Yosemite in a pretty quiet area and came across a group of 14 people. We chit-chatted a for a few minutes, and I asked the obvious question... How did you get a permit for 14 people? They didn't get one, they just went right to the trailhead and started hiking because they knew there was no enforcement.
GREAT!!! For those that did get a permit and were expecting a quiet wilderness experience, it simply was not going to happen.
Those 14 were going to consume more than the available campsites, and anyone coming up behind was royally screwed. As it happens I passed six more people with permits... I felt sorry for them because I knew they were not going to find a place to camp or have an enjoyable experience.

So I will take somewhat of an opposite view. I find this thread extremely disappointing. It seems there are many people here that are interested in maximizing their own personal experience without thinking about the impact to the present, the future and those coming in after us.

It is a good thing John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt didn't think that way.... we wouldn't have these areas to abuse!!!
Flame away folks..... but I do very low impact backpacking, follow the rules and regulations in the hope that doing so will actually eliminate the need for more.
My personal opinion, instead of bashing the regulations, try educating others and eliminate the need for more regulation!!!
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Postby Telkwa » Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:56 am

grzldvt, you mention the future in your post, and that made me think of something that hasn't really been discussed in this thread.
As you go higher into alpine country, traveling upward into areas where it takes a very long time for trees to grow, the organic matter those trees put back into the system as they die and break down becomes more and more important to critters and to future generations of trees. When people burn up the downed wood they adversely impact a process that's been in place since the last ice age.
The areas where it is technically "safest" to build fires may very well be the same areas that can least afford to have valuable organic detritus converted to ash.
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Postby markskor » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:38 am

Been reading this thread and thought I would add my 2 cents…for what it is worth.
In those areas where fires are still considered legal, whether below 10,000 feet outside certain parks, below 9,600 in others, there are still multiple areas where more-than-ample firewood is readily available. I fail to see why all fires should be banned. While always advocating minimalist impact on our Sierra environment, it would appear that some compromise is possible.

My biggest gripe concerns those sites where fires have been permitted for years…yet the current trend has well-intentioned individuals tearing up all fire rings under the guise of cleaning up the area…â€
Last edited by markskor on Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby frediver » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:45 am

That is taken into account with the total fuel supply. If there is not an abundance of fuel then fires are prohibited.
It has been a while since I did any reading concerning the cycle of fires in the mountains but if I recall properly ash is part of the process for renewal.
On the T.P. issue, that is sort of a sticky one. There is a brand of T.P. that will totally dissolve when wet, that's what I use.
There are also people who advise dropping your load on a rock in the open to let it dehydrate and blow away. The idea is mineral soil in the mountains does not have the bacteria to decompose poop let alone T.P.
Plus animals will just dig it up anyway.
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