Backcountry regulations are getting ridiculous!

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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arlopop61
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Post by arlopop61 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:41 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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mountaineer
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Post by mountaineer » Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:52 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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Grzldvt
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Post by Grzldvt » Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:20 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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Post by Telkwa » Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:56 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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Post by markskor » Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:38 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 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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frediver
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Post by frediver » Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:45 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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mountaineer
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Post by mountaineer » Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:26 am

Grzldvt wrote: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.
A lot less? Building a small camp fire in an existing fire ring has NO impact.
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.
So is your stance against ALL fires fueled in part by guilt?
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....
So, if regualtions were implemented REQUIRING EVERYBODY to pack out their TP, those people would suddenly adhere to that regulation when they didn't adhere previously to the one suggesting they bury it?
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.
In the wilderness areas I've been to the limit on permits was 15 people per permit, would you have felt better if they had a permit? Your mistake was expecting an uncrowded area in Yosemite, that'll almost never happen. Once again, THOSE people didn't obey the regulations, what makes you think passing more regulations will change anything?
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.
If you are trying to tell me that building a small fire in an existing ring with plentiful downed wood everywhere is ruining the experience for those that follow, you are in la-la land. Sitting around a fire in the wilderness IS PART OF THE EXPERIENCE!
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!!!
I am very proud of you that do low impact backpacking. Are you saying we DON'T? I am vehemently disagreeing with the assertion that small campfires are NOT low impact. I will bash needless regulations from now until doomsday and that does NOT mean I care less about the wilderness than YOU do. You talk a lot about the "wilderness experience" yet you fail to see that part of the "wilderness experience" is the ability to be unencumbered by excessive and unecessary regulations, something we deal with on a daily basis when back in civilization.

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Post by rightstar76 » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:19 pm

Twenty years ago, I was with a group of people in a high mountain basin. The weather turned and we all wanted a fire. Our leader said he didn't understand why fires were not permitted. After all, the Sierra is a big place, what could one little fire do? We built a little ring by a large boulder and lit a fire. It was real nice. We stood around it and told stories. It warmed us up and made things more cheerful. The next morning we looked at the boulder and boy were we surprised. The entire boulder was discolored; there were ugly streak marks up and down where we had the fire. I guess that's why we're not supposed to have one, our leader said, but what will one little boulder do? After all, there's lots of them. And so the story continues. I'd like to have a fire wherever I go, and frankly, I'm sick and tired of all the regulations that keep cropping up, but I know there's a reason why they exist and I follow them. That's my choice. As far as what other people choose, it's really up to each individual to decide.

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Post by mountaineer » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:40 pm

Rightstar, that is not a regulation...that is just good old wilderness etiquette. The regulations I am griping about are the ones banning fires just for the sake of banning fires. And I am tired of idiots doing things in the wilderness that give birth to restrictive regulations that put a damper on the wilderness experience for me.
I'm sick and tired of all the regulations that keep cropping up, but I know there's a reason why they exist and I follow them.
So you will just blindly follow any law that is passed just because you figure there is a good reason for it if it is the law? I won't say which ones I follow and which ones I don't but suffice it to say that I don't blindly follow every regulation just because it's there.
Last edited by mountaineer on Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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arlopop61
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Post by arlopop61 » Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:08 pm

Mountaineer,

It's your old buddy, back for more. You said,

"I won't say which ones I follow and which ones I don't but suffice it to say that I don't blindly follow every regulation just because it's there."

I get the feeling here mountaineer, old pal, that you see yourself as just a little above the rest of us. I mean if you were performing some kind of civil disobedience against the overarching big government control that you're railing against it would be one thing. But that doesn't seem to be the case here because you, "won't say which ones I follow and which ones I don't", and the hallmark of civil disobedience is not the breaking of the laws per se but the breaking of those laws quite publicly to draw attention to their injustice. You apparently just break them as it suits you and based on what you have said you do so discretely, one assumes to avoid getting busted. Or is it simply a case of, "All those other guys do it, why can't I?"

I wonder if there are crack dealers who feel that the narcotics laws prevent them from just doing business with clients and as a result argue that they don't apply to them.

I'm not saying I am in favor of the regs, just that I might be a bit more in your corner if the regs you so vehemently opposed were met by you with a tad more courage in your actions and a little less flame against those who may disagree with you.

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