With spring break being both before and after Easter, and the increased users here, due to the continuing closures elsewhere, it is time for me to address my two biggest pet peeves about users to the Forest surrounding my home.
The first is trespassers. I don’t know where some users get the idea that because I live in the Wilderness, I won’t mind hikers, bikers, motorcycles, and even the occasional vehicle, if someone cuts the lock off my gate. I do mind. My dogs mind. I had four hikers come through on Easter, like they were entitled. Actually, they were lucky my pack of four dogs did not bite them. Find out where the private property is when you go hiking, and hike around, not through it. Please. As the season progresses, and my patience is tried, I will no longer be nice about it.
The second is, of course, campfires. As of April 10th, permits are now required for all areas outside developed campgrounds or day use areas, which on the South Coast are Mill Creek Day Use, Sand Dollar Day use, and Willow Creek Day use. The only two campgrounds open are Plaskett Creek and Kirk Creek. EVERY where else, a permit is required for a fire or a stove, as of April 10, 2009. And remember, that permit is only good IF campfires are allowed at all. One yahoo thought it meant he could use it, even though campfires had been completely banned. Also, do not have a fire unless you have BOTH water and a shovel with you. Make sure you clear the area well and completely, AND make sure it is completely and totally out when you leave.
Plaskett Ridge Rd. has been devastated by Sudden Oak Death, and it will not take much this season to set her off. I don’t know how I could handle another fire after last year, but I imagine I will. This year’s rain totals have been extremely low, and winds are drying out the vegetation earlier. I suspect a campfire ban may go into effect earlier than usual, and the USFS may have to close the forest completely at some point, to minimize the fire danger.
My plea is to respect private property, and to be fire safe this year, please. Thank you.