As great as campfires can be, sometimes they just aren't worth it
“Zimo” questions the need for a campfire, especially during the hot dry summer. Campfires are now banned in southern and central Idaho for the rest of the summer except in developed campgrounds. Nevertheless, people are still building them and accidentally starting larger fires.
As great as campfires can be, sometimes they just aren’t worth it. Idaho Statesman.
Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.
3 Responses to As great as campfires can be, sometimes they just aren't worth it
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I couldn’t agree more. I was recently reading story where someone claimed the Bitterroot is the “driest it’s been in twenty years”. I wondered at that point why any campfires were allowed.
It’s nice to have a campfire in country that has had rain and is not too dry. But there are a certain segment of “firehawks” who like to just sit around building campfires all day. And most of them build try to build as big of a fire in the allowed space as possible. If you look at the big fires this season, many of them are caused by humans.
To me it falls into the same area as the offroading issue. It just adds up to a lack of respect for the outdoors and a lack of self awareness.
Having hiked in the Wind Rivers for over 30 years, it is painfully evident that the era of the campfire should be drawing to a close. On a trip last summer, almost every lake was surrounded by multiple fire rings. One, installed by packers in a pine grove, was surrouded by benchs constructed out of felled logs! And don’t get me going about aluminum foil!! At the very least, couldn’t fire pans be required?
In this era of technological advance and increased urbanization; our efforts to get us back to nature are backfiring, destroying nature.
Perhaps since we’re no longer doing things like boyscouts and summer camps as often, we should require education about use of the woods. Since the Forest Service now charges fees, they could require a course, even if its just an online course similar to traffic school. We have to have a license to drive on paved roads, why not a similar method for keeping the woods safe from human ignorance?