This is how we “love wilderness to death?”

I couldn’t ignore these two stories showing up the same day (but I didn’t look for a photo).

Deschutes and Willamette National Forests (OR) proposes limiting wilderness users:  “Wilderness rangers reported coming across unburied human feces more than 1,000 times.”

White River National Forest (CO) proposes limiting overnight camping in wilderness:  “During the 2016 summer season, Jerman added, Wilderness Rangers encountered 273 incidences of unburied human waste in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.”

Not my area of expertise, but does raise some management policy questions.  Maybe the permit should require completion of some training.

12 thoughts on “This is how we “love wilderness to death?””

  1. This might be a good way to raise funds for wilderness management!
    First, highly advertise the new policy for “heavily used wilderness.” where this is a problem.
    Require everyone to register who uses wildernesses overnight and get a permit (the Park Service does this I think).
    Require DNA samples of each visitor and their dogs..and addresses.(No one yet does this..)
    Then wilderness volunteers map, take photos and collect samples of each pile (then carry them out or ??).
    For each pile, a $200 fine is sent to the perpetrator’s address. If they owe, they are not allowed to register for other trips.
    This might be a good motivation for people to do what they know they are supposed to do.

    Seems fairer than closing it to people who follow the rules, because some people don’t… here’s what they do for dogs.. “Properties report up to a 95% reduction in pet waste.”

    • There are many uncrowded wilderness areas. Designating more will do nothing to alleviate crowding at the most desirable destinations.

      It will, however, likely increase crowding in non-wilderness areas as motorized users and bicyclists are displaced.

      • Kevin Turnblom: “There are many uncrowded wilderness areas. Designating more will do nothing to alleviate crowding at the most desirable destinations.”

        No kidding. Expansion would only spread the refuse with industrial eco-tourism. Speaking of Eco-Tourism, my wife and I often fly down from Sweden to the Canary Islands for vacation. It reminds me of home with rich old world Spanish architeecture and the plant community here contains many plants used from the early days within Southern California landscapes. I wrote a post on that, but this site won’t allow links to Google’s blogger site. The native pines there are uniquely different from other pines. After a forest burns, the trees resprout from the branches and trunks. You can google, “Canary Island Pine (Pinus canariensis) Ecology of Fire & Water”

        Here is an example of a forest fire on the Canary Island of La Palma that happened last year caused by a young German eco-tourist (27 years old) who burned his soiled toilet paperr. One fire fighter died.


  2. Further quote:
    “It’s disheartening to go up there and see some of the behavior,” said Jon Erickson, former wilderness ranger in the Three Sisters. “Every week we’d find people with illegal campfires, garbage left behind and unburied waste sitting right inside a camping spot.

    “Yes, people are actually pooping at their own campsite and leaving it there.”

    Does everyone appreciate that the majority of these people who venture into the challenging designated “Wilderness Area” are also the the same culture of people who show up at these Eco-Activist Protest events ? Take the Dakota Pipieline prootests. Even the Native Americans were disgusted with these party animals masquerading as eco-warriors. These folks just keep making a losing case for their cause and the Environmental non-profits who keep their collective mouths tightly shut about this, because it may cause some of their following and donors to be upset with them are equally at fault. I write about nature and ecology all the time, but the mainstream environmental movement has mutated into something grotesquely repugnant.

  3. I love Sharon’s suggestion. It might even help self-limit the use of wilderness areas to those who get the wilderness concept.

    Kevin, I actually had the same thought. But you state it as fact when it might just be stereotyping. Has there actually been any research on the political beliefs of wilderness users? Of party animals? Maybe you’re also assuming that anyone not cleaning up after themselves would also not be a political conservative because they don’t want to have to use tax dollars for public employees to do it?

    • Jon, I agree that this would be a useful topic for research.. maybe someone out there is aware of what recreation social scientists are studying these days?

      Kevin- I would argue that there are usually people behaving badly on both sides of most issues, and from every political philosophy imaginable. For evidence for my claim, I propose looking at the news as reported via the internet.

      • Sharon: “I would argue that there are usually people behaving badly on both sides of most issues, and from every political philosophy imaginable.”

        Jon Haber: “Has there actually been any research on the political beliefs of wilderness users? Of party animals?”

        Jon Haber, my comment was mostly out of frustration and disgust lately with the environmental movement. On my Facebook account I’ve pulled away from following 80% of the ecology pages I once followed because these people are more about politics and their love for Nature. My favourite group was the most disappointing. I caught them in a flat out lie and when I pointed out the gross errors on the controversy with regards the BLM Home page they insisted on denying it and in the end seemed to enjoy wallowing and bathing in the lie, considering it a necessary evil for the greater good. (There is so much more to this, but I’ll spare you) I also wrote a post in my blog on the subject of the Dakota Pipeline Protesters. Most folks don’t even realize that the Native Americans themselves were disgusted with the Woodstock-Burning Man Festival atmosphere for which their protest mutated into. The filth they left behind, especially the human faeces was repugnant. So when I see photos of camps being trashed and reports human excrement exposed, yeah, Dakota Pipeline comes to mind and I don’t picture your average uninformed clueless camper taking extreme steps to venture into wilderness areas. But anything is possible.

        Sharon: Yes, I agree and the biggest reason I have never participated in any politics of anyone’s side. I now live in Sweden the past eleven years. It’s touted here as the perfect eco-green socialist utopia, it’s not. Ove the past eleven years from the first time I came to Göteborg (Gothenburg) it’s become more and more of a cesspit of filth and graffiti within and around this city. They have no more handle on ecology or multicultural relations than any other country on the planet. I might add that from what I’ve seen everywhere I’ve gone in Sweden, almost 80% of it is industrial forestry with Scots Pines and other evergreens in neat dense rows where nothing grows underneath the canopy. The company SweTree (GMO Biotech) has developed trees with less lignin which makes them weaking and easier targets of storm damage. They excelerate the growth by flying helicopters equipped with oscilating blades below a large bucket with synthetic fertilier pellets. The idea is to push rapid growth and harvest in 20 years. So yeah, the politics is the same no matter where you go.

        I livd in the San Jacinto Mountains of SoCal for 26+ years and saw the same thing on a regular basis. I and everyone understands that when nature calls you have to go. But humans are unique and yes, exceptional to animals. They have the ability to make choices. My beef with some of the ecology types on this goes back to 1984 when I managed 40+ acre tree farm at 4000′ elevation in Anza California for someone and on that acreage existed a major Cahuilla Indian encampment for which many flat granite rock slabs contained over 25 individual deep pocket hole metates for grinding acorns and other seeds. To make to story shorter, I invited college ecology folks up to campout for a weekend of exploration. One night they on a Sunday morning before their departure, I went with a few of them to the top of this low hill above the springs and stream to the metate location and almost every single hole had exposed human excrement. I was furious and marched back to the breakfast area and announced to everyone 30+ people, that I wanted those metate cleaned out. I got snickers and looks. Later that day I went back and they had filled the holes with soil and that was it. So my anger on this goes way back. These were ecology environmental people and not only have things changed, they’ve gotten worse. And it’s being reported everywhere where wilderness loving type people show up around the globe:

        • It’s hard to stand up for “ends and means” with groups that disagree with that philosophy, for sure. And apparent hypocrisy on environmental issues (like jetting around the world to work on climate change) can be frustrating. For me, the challenge is giving people a chance.. your metate example could be more about generalized disrespect for others than environmental predilections.

          As to Sweden, are you sure about the genetically engineered conifers actually being planted? It has been hard for anyone to do that for conifers and I couldn’t find anything easily on the internet other than poplar trials

          • Yeah, you’re right, it’s mainly trees of the Populus, Salix and Björk (or birch) famlies that are being planted. Their main interest is pulpwood for paper for which they have engineered the trees to have less lignin. There really are no old growth trees at alll here that I’ve ever seen, with the exception of visiting some historical estate. Even IKEA which needs bigger trees for lumber products is getting those from Siberia or places like Poland. I’ve never seen what I would always think of being lumber type of timber being havested here since everything looks like match sticks here.

    • “Maybe you’re also assuming that anyone not cleaning up after themselves would also not be a political conservative because they don’t want to have to use tax dollars for public employees to do it?”

      Frankly speaking I don’t give a rat’s rear end about Left-Wing Fundies vrs Right-Wing Fundies since I’m neither. See my response below Sharon’s post.



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