better than you found it. This simple idea was taught to me as a young Boy Scout. For many outdoor sports this seems like common sense. For others, they appreciate a clean site but figure since they paid for it, someone else can clean it up.
With the quarantine and Covid concerns, many Montanans have gone camping. This is a perfect way to social distance, breath healthy air, and relax. This increased use on our public accesses and camping areas has made a huge impact.
The Forest Service will be increasing camping and cabin fees to generate revenue to repair, upgrade, and maintain our camping areas. Fees will vary as to location and needs. These fees are hoped to be in place next year. Currently, you can give comments to the Forest Officials on their website or at local offices. WWW.fs.usda.gov/goto/r1recfee or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main issues are water lines/pumps, fire rings, vault toilets, landscaping, roads/trails, noxious weeds, and worn out or damaged tables or other features.
Vault toilets take a lot of abuse. Despite signs, trash, bottles, and junk get tossed into the enclosed vaults. When the pump truck comes to empty them, this trash clogs the hoses. Would you want the job to clear the clogs?
Vandalism is senseless and stupid. People that carve up wood, paint walls, trees, or buildings, or simply trash something just because, are costing us millions of dollars just so they can be idiots.
Campfire Rings end up with nails, bottles, cans, and all sorts of melted trash. This needs to be removed and disposed of. If you discover this kind of mess, you can did a hole and bury it. Many camps have a specific place to dump it. War Dances on top of metal fire rings seem to bend and damage these expensive fixtures. When using a campfire, always have a safety bucket of water on hand. Put out and stir every campfire completely.
Landscape damages are common when campers carry knives, axes, saws, and hatchets. Firewood is one thing but chopping on live trees and shrubs is another. Senseless scaring and debarking of trees mean more dead trees and more fire hazards.
Picnic Tables always need some love. The graffiti is often graphic and senseless. If the tables are not anchored, they end up on the fire ring or in the river. These expensive tables need repainting, repair, and resurfacing.
Fixing stuff costs money. Sadly, those of us that respect our wild areas and facilities get the bills. If you see abuse going on, use a cell phone to take a picture of the event or campers. Report the issues to the Forest Service.
For more Montana Grant, find him camping at www.montanagrantfishing.com.