Backcountry regulations are getting ridiculous! | High Sierra Topix  

Backcountry regulations are getting ridiculous!

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Postby AldeFarte » Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:51 pm

I tend to agree w/mountaineer on this thread, tho it doesn't piss me off when others do their thing. Personally, I and the people I go with always have fires and I always use my zip stove. Some always use butane. We always practice what I consider low impact packing. My motto is "Leave no sign of your passing". One thing is certain. The best way to get the nutrients from woody material into a form that can be best used by other plants is to change it back into the base elements from whence it came. Burn it. TP and feces are broken down and used by mr. beetle and his partner mr. ant. I have checked this personally and sooner ,or later , in the sierra environment it is just gone. Of course this assumes evacuation of the bowels a reasonable distance from a watercourse. :nod:



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Postby mountaineer » Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:52 pm

Scott, I couldn't find anywhere that explained why fires would be banned there. If fires are banned because removal of downed wood ruins the ecosystem, why are they allowed anywhere? That sounds like a nice cliche and everything but I'd like to see some evidence of ruined ecosystems due to a few small fires and removal of a few twigs from the ground.
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Postby mountaineer » Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:00 pm

arlopop61 wrote:Mountaineer,

I find I am getting personal and I apologize to you. I felt a little heated but that is no excuse. It is only that it seemed to me that you were getting personal with others when they had not directly attcked you.


I appreciate that arlo. I think you should re-read the post that I responded to and you might feel differently...I feel the poster was directly addressing me as I started this thread and have been the most outspoken on it.

Also, I AM irritated at the increase of regulations, but not to the point of dwelling on my anger about it. Thanks for your concern. :) I just hate to see our freedoms disappearing every day and it is spreading to our wilderness experience. How about citing people for starting new fire rings, downing standing timber for fires, crapping next to trails and lakes, etc...don't ban fires where the area is conducive to having them.
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Postby Scott V. » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:31 pm

mountaineer wrote:sounds like a nice cliche and everything but I'd like to see some evidence of ruined ecosystems due to a few small fires and removal of a few twigs from the ground.


I made no reference to ruined ecosystems, only maintaining healthy ones. And that the removal of woody debris can lead to problems.

This wilderness banned campfires and talks about the lack of woody debris and the attempt to start retaining more: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/willamette/news ... arion.html

You want a scientic paper: http://journals.cambridge.org/article_S037689290100025X
(you may have to google that to get the entire paper and not just the abstract).

The google earth I did on Eagle Lake shows a very small timbered area. My opinion is that fires are not banned there for fire danger (and that opinion is based on a 30 yr career in wildland fire management) so the ban must be for other management objectives.

Don't get me wrong - on my backpacking trip this summer, we had a campfire both nights. But we also had to hike out from the campsite 200' to find enough twigs that would burn more than 2 minutes each. That's an impact - at a site 5 miles from the TH and more than half a mile from a trail junction.

My 1 cent, for what it's worth. Be happy to discuss it more off line.

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No one goes there anymore. It's too crowded. -----Yogi Berra
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Postby SSSdave » Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:17 pm

Responding to marksfor's comments about the dismantling of firerings. Backcountry rangers have always dismantled excess firerings that many apparently inconsiderate visitors seem to make. Ones that are unnecessarily built in campsite locations where there are already well used established firepits. For those that are too weak to hike 50 feet from their tent or are one of those campsite bodies that spend all their camp area time being "constructive" instead of day hiking about their destination. If some people are now dismantling even the well established firerings in well established camp areas, then the average intelligence of backpackers must be shrinking.

For years I've been occasionally talking to Inyo National Forest people about lowering the elevation of legal fires in Ansel Adams Wilderness to 9600 feet from the current 10,000 feet. That is because of long and continued abuse to the landscape and sparse trees about Thousand Island, Garnet, Ediza, and Minaret Lakes that happen to lie right between those elevations. Those areas have all been heavily visited for many decades and readily show that impact. If any Sierra timberline country ought to be protected at those elevations it is those basins. Each time I visit the Ritter Range, I find ample signs of morons doing their thing. Tend to take Coolpix pics I can show the NF people. We ramble over a lot of terrain that most people don't see and if I find illegal firerings and have some time, often rip them up. A couple years ago I came upon some Eurpean visitors one morning below Ritter Pass that probably thought they were in a pretty remote place. Just a few mountain hemlock nearby. Had the end of a way too huge henlock log smoking up a storm. Being lazy besides policy benders they likely had put the nearest log from their tent in their illegal fire the previous evening when their meager wood supply ran out. Don't recall what I said to them but the result was they immediately doused it. ...David
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Postby dave54 » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:51 pm

mountaineer wrote:... If fires are banned because removal of downed wood ruins the ecosystem, why are they allowed anywhere? That sounds like a nice cliche and everything but I'd like to see some evidence of ruined ecosystems due to a few small fires and removal of a few twigs from the ground.


It's about site productivity. In the low to mid elevation conifer forests enough woody debris and litter may be produced each year to replace the amount used by campers. As a general rule, as you increase in elevation, productivity decreases. As users consume the woody fuels in higher elevation sites, the forest does not produce enough each year to replace it. On heavily used sites, the cumulative impact over time results in bare, compacted soils, loss of biodiversity, and a decline in forest health, in an already stressed ecosystem. So the agency bans campfires to help stop, or at least slow, the decline. In some cases popular camping spots have been closed to allow the forest to recover. It may take years to decades for the site to fully recover. if it the site is a designatedwilderness, then helping the site recover with human intervention is not allowed or several restricted.

The nutrient recycling from campfire ash is negligible. It is not a significant factor. Dig down under the layers of ash until you hit soil. Examine the soil. It has been heated and reheated so many times by repeated campfires there is nothing in it. If it is red, it has been heated to above 500 C, and the soil is basically sterile.
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Postby frediver » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:04 pm

If that were the case then areas would close and re-open on some type of cycle. Depending on the available resources, down wood, twigs, etc. then these closed areas should at some point re-open for limited fire use as the fuel accumulates again. I have not heard of this happening.
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Postby mountaineer » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:08 pm

frediver wrote:If that were the case then areas would close and re-open on some type of cycle. Depending on the available resources, down wood, twigs, etc. then these closed areas should at some point re-open for limited fire use as the fuel accumulates again. I have not heard of this happening.


Exactly. Temporarily restrict areas that are overused on a case by case basis. Don't use it as an excuse to throw blanket restrictions on huge areas.
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Postby copeg » Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:50 pm

I am sorry folks, but I'm gonna have to lock this thread. This conversation seems to be getting too heated, personal, and drifting way off topic.

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Postby ERIC » Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:22 pm

I fully support this decision. And I would like to add that if this continues, it could include a temporary membership banning for those who cannot seem to avoid personal attacks. That goes for everybody. And I could care less who's 'right' or who 'started it'. This isn't elementary school. State your opinions with class, people. All OPINIONS are welcome, until there is someone who can't express theirs without slanderous innuendos towards those who oppose their position.
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