Andrew Madsen, the PIO for the LPNF sent me a link to an excellent article which helps to convey the dilemma we face with managing our public lands. It is not pretty.
“After witnessing some of the damage inflicted on public lands — our shared national resource — by campers last year who were either ignorant of their responsibilities or purposely misbehaving, I’m wary that a continued influx of visitors will result in even more damage, and, frankly, the reduction of camping opportunity for those of us who have enjoyed the activity long before COVID-19 inspired a host of new participants to buy that first tent or that first travel trailer.
“To be frank, if what I saw last summer is going to repeat itself this summer, our federal land-management agencies will be faced with some tough decisions, particularly when it comes to dispersed camping on public lands.
Here in the West, on our vast swaths of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management acreage, dispersed camping is allowed, and in most cases, it’s free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some camping locations are just wide spots in the road, and others are located off of spur roads and trails leading into more remote areas. For those of us who have been camping on public lands for years, there are unwritten rules to ensuring that we’ll be able to continue visiting these special places for years to come. And the rules don’t just have to do with how we treat the land, but also how we treat our fellow campers and others who use public land for recreation.
I think it’s time the unwritten rules earn some ink, and that advocates for public lands recreation speak up and earnestly help police their pastimes for fear of having them curtailed. And for those new to dispersed camping, consider the following before you hitch up the new RV and head for the hills:”
One can read the rest of this article and the unwritten rules here:
The post on Facebook about this article on the LPNF page had this comment: “The grossest place we ever saw was on the drive up to Prewitt Ridge. Ive never seen more trash, human waste and toilet paper than what i saw up there. Sad because its such a cool place and people just have to ruin it 😞 i dont even want to know what its been like up there since covid hit.” For those of you not familiar with it, Prewitt is the next ridge north from me and I can see and hear the all night amplified music parties for which it became known. She is right, it was not pretty and many of the very best dispersed camping spots in Big Sur were destroyed last summer. Some healing has gone on with the land since the roads were closed after the Dolan Fire, but it will take years to recover from just this one past summer.