Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Thanks to Volunteers, Campfire Restrictions Lifted and Other News

Thank You to the King Range Wilderness Ranger Volunteers who dedicated their summer here in the King Range. They spent lots of time and energy helping to keep your wilderness clean for your enjoyment and to preserve its wilderness character. Below are a few stats of what we accomplished out there this year:

We turned fire rings like this
Into this, 275 times

We made 123 toilet paper piles disappear and buried 55 exposed turds (ET)

Toilet paper and ETBs continue to be an issue. Please read this blog post regarding human waste disposal.

The bottom line is that we ask you to completely BURY your waste, including your toilet paper. Even better is to pack out your toilet paper - carry a zip-lock bag with you specifically for this purpose. I’ve seen folks cover the zip lock with duct tape which seems to be an effective way to keep the gross factor down.  

We removed 172.5 pounds of trash left behind from visitors. The above picture is the trash hiked out of Big and Miller Flats last week. 

Removed 488.5 pounds of Trash originating from the ocean.

Removing fallen trees from Rattlesnake Ridge Trail

Dismantling a driftwood shelter

Many hundreds, and possibly thousands of people will be camping at the same places that you camp after you leave them behind. Which would you rather come to at the end of a day of backpacking on the Lost Coast:

Campsite 1: A clean site with a small, well contained fire ring and no trash.

Campsite 2: You see wrappers and cans littered throughout the site; Large fire ring that is spilling out ash, rocks and half burnt logs;  Several wads of toilet paper poking out of the soil and from underneath rocks just feet from where you set up your tent.

Overnight visitation to the King Range Wilderness has doubled in the past 3 years. There are more and more of us discovering this amazing and beautiful landscape and it will take all of us to help keep it as pristine as it should be. 

I’d also like to thank the American Conservation Experience trail crew who spent several months maintaining the trails in the King Range. They spent most of their time cutting back the encroaching vegetation:

Saddle Mountain Trailhead to about half way down Buck Creek Trail

Most of the King Crest Trail between Saddle Mountain Trailhead and the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail junction.  

They worked their tails off out there while the majority of the time in sweltering heat. This is slow, hard and grimy work. From their efforts now you can enjoy waking on these trails without having to swim your way through the bushes. If you ever see a trail worker during your journeys be sure to thank them for what they do. 

The Crew

Lopping on the King Crest Trail

Before 1a. 

After 1b.

Before 2a

After 2b

Before 3a

After 3b


Other News

The King Range National Conservation Area has lifted the restrictions on campfires. If you do decide to have a campfire please enjoy it responsibly.

1. Use fire rings that already exist before building anything new

2. Burn only dead and downed wood that you can easily break by hand and that fits into the fire ring. Burning large diameter/lengthy pieces of wood breaks down the fire ring and spreads rocks and ash all over the site.

Below are examples of fire rings that broke down due to the burning of wood that is too large.

Unsightly, isn't it? 

3. Foils and cans do not burn. Only put items into the fire that will completely burn in one sitting and pack out all other trash.

Fire rings are not trashcans

Fire rings are not trashcans 

The wilderness is not a trash can. Please pack out your garbage. 

4. Extinguish your campfire with abundant water and stir with a stick. Please do not put the fire out with sand – this fills the ring and makes it unusable for other visitors, which prompts them to build a new fire ring, multiplying the impacts. 

5. Gargantuan fire rings are a tremendous eye sore. If the fire isn’t warm enough for you – GET CLOSER to the fire.

Below are examples of gargantuan fire rings. These fire rings are unnecessary and take a lot of effort to rehabilitate.

Lastly, this is what a fire ring should look like: 

Small and clean - Please help us keep them this way

I was at out on the coast not too long ago and came across these items at one of the campsites:

A 4-person tent, Surf board wax and 5 empty food cans. 

This time of year, when people head out here to ride the waves and camp out on the coast I find A LOT of abandoned property. Tents, tarps, household pots and pans, sleeping bags, food items, etc. 

It's always the same type of gear that folks leave behind: cheap and heavy. They haul it out here and then decide that it's too heavy to hike back with them. To justify leaving their junk behind they say that they are either a) going to come back for it and/or b) leaving it for others to use. 

The truth is this: abandoned property is the result of laziness. 

Over the past 7 years we've removed enough abandoned gear (all from the surf spot) to fill a dumpster. 

Inside of the tent (pictured above) there was a note that read, "for the next campers that need it." 

Are the five empty food cans that were scattered around the site also for the next campers that need them? It all looks like a bunch of garbage to me that someone was too inconsiderate to pack out. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Now, that's the end of my rant. Let's end on a positive note. 

The second plein air painting event recently took place in Shelter Cove. 
Peter McNeill won the "Kings Choice" award for best capturing the life, spirit, natural and cultural qualities of the King Range. 

As always, if you have any questions give me a call or send me an e-mail (give me at least a few days to get back to you)

Your Wilderness Ranger
Paul Sever

PS, back in March a journalist went out hiking with me and he wrote up this great article about what I do out here - in case you haven't read enough already you should check it out. 

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