Backcountry regulations are getting ridiculous!

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mountaineer
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Post by mountaineer » Mon Aug 27, 2007 5:03 pm

If I ignore a "no campfire" reg I may be endangering, not just property that belongs to others, but the very well-being of others.
In some cases, but in the case and accompanying photo I mentioned above, there is NO danger. Using that logic, cars should be banned because if you drive one you might be a danger to others. I just don't see how banning ALL fires in the MK basin is justified. By the way, when was the last time someone breaking a backcountry regulation such as the one mentioned above in White Chief? If it happens, it is very rarely.








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Fires

Post by frediver » Mon Aug 27, 2007 5:25 pm

Could it be that if campfire's were allowed then the down fuel would not have a chance to accumulate to a dangerous level making control burns necessary ? What is the dollar cost of a control burn that stays controlled?
Allow limited campfires to save money ! Regulate them with the fuel supply. If downed fuel is available allow the fire then restrict fires as the fuel is consumed. Regardless it will all burn at some point in time. The choice is lots of small fires or just a single big one, take your pick?

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Post by arlopop61 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:22 pm

I think you might have a good point, frediver, but in order to utilize all that fuel you would not just have to allow campfires, you would have to make them mandatory. Another regulation?

Even the most responsible of us have accidents. Hell, I did this weekend with my knee, and I consider myself pretty alert and on the ball having been doing this for nearly 35 years. The no fire reg doesn't prevent the morons from lighting fires, they are going to anyway. Instead, the reg says to the responsible ones, " hey, even if you have your act together we can't afford to have an accident here."

I think they need to have more input from the public on these things, mountaineer. I agree that at the altitude I was at there was not much likelyhood that an accident would have caused a problem. But that is precisely because the fuel available was minimal. How long before some great bristlecones end up in the firepit for lack of deadwood?

As I was hiking up that trail, and those that have know it's short but pretty steep, I was wondering how many people who are too lazy to earn it would love to take an ATV up that canyon. But I was glad that they couldn't. And if an accident took out all that incense cedar in a big burn I wouldn't be happy either. But the regs in place make it unlikely, though not impossible, that either could occur.

There might be a better way to regulate these things or even to determine the range of the regs but the regs themselves generally make certain that the next time I go up I won't be disappointed.

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Post by arlopop61 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:33 pm

Oh, and mountaineer, I think your analogy about banning cars and campfires is a good one, but not for the same reasons. We all accept speed limits. That, for example, a school zone, regardless of how responsible the driver is, is no place for doing 90. I didn't get to choose the speed limit in that zone. But I agree that it's a good idea that we regulate the speed there. And even though there are idiots who ignore the speed limits and sometimes don't get caught doesn't mean I think the limits are a joke.

Think of MK as the school zone. The limit is no campfires, but I can still "drive", just more slowly, by using my stove. An accident still might happen, but the "speed at which I am driving" makes it is less likely.

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Post by Foamfinger » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:41 pm

mountaineer wrote:
Charles2 wrote:Rightstar, I am not aware of any NPS operation in the western US where cattle grazing is permitted. USFS and BLM, yes, but Park Service, I don't think so. I stand willing to be corrected.
No cattle grazing is allowed in the NPS.
Merely a point of clarification - Grand Teton National Park has a long standing policy of grazing both cattle and horses.

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Fires

Post by frediver » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:50 pm

I don't by that reasoning.
A responsible person is still Responsible !

Wind is blowing= No fire.
Don't have a good fire base= No fire.
Don't have a water supply handy= No fire.
Make sure your fire is dead out and wet, simple !
Have your fire contained in a portable wood stove if needed, simple !
Don't scare the landscape, hide the remains, easy ! Or don't, good reasons to do either.
The type of person who will break their beer bottles in a fire ring and leave them are the same type persons who will have a fire regulations or not !

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Post by mountaineer » Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:13 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.
Image

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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Post by arlopop61 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:15 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

Post by frediver » Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:26 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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Post by mountaineer » Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:39 pm

Okay, just ban ALL fires everywhere and be done with it.

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