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Monday, October 24, 2016

The happy and the sad

We love where we live. The vista behind Shyla is only a 12 minute bike ride from our house.

Along the way, we come close to this spot, a place where a variety of carnivores leave their marks.

This bobcat left his mark by rubbing his body all over the ground.

A coyote left his mark in a completely different way. Let the record show that the coyote left his mark before the bobcat (dates are in upper left of the photos).... so you know what the bobcat was rolling in!

The point is that I love almost everything about where we live, including the plentiful carnivores and the mountain vistas.

Yet, a destructive group of people are taking over sections of our forest. I went by one spot today. The people who have been squatting there for at least three weeks weren't present. I'm told by friends that a visit by a deputy for an illegal campfire caused this group to substantially clean up some of the smaller trash at the three campsites that they're using.

Here was one view. You can see a big pile of assorted junk to the left. To the right of it, you can see an upholstered chair, a table full of food, two office chairs, a hammock, and a crossbar above the kitchen area to hang up any game that they might kill.

Nearby, they had a full size refrigerator on wheels plus another piece of furniture. Why would anyone bring a refrigerator into the forest?

What a great bear-proof setup for their food... (I'm kidding).

I wonder what plans they have for how to get all this stuff out of the forest. Probably none. We've been finding that groups like this just evacuate, leaving all their stuff for someone else to clean up.
I still love where I live but I will not stop fighting this "trashing of our forests". It's depressing to view it and to think about it but we must. It's happening all over the west, and it's simply unacceptable. I've come to believe that we must ban all camping except in supervised campsites within some reasonable radius of towns. That extreme measure may be the only way to stop this awful behavior.

I'll end with another beautiful sight from our area. We took a peaceful evening hike recently, and we saw a pretty sky over our unfathomably gorgeous mountains.
This is why I want to stop the destruction of our natural areas. I want to be able to take serene and stunning hikes here for a long time.

27 comments:

  1. So upsetting. I would be endlessly sad if dispersed camping was prohibited, but this doesn't seem like camping at all -- I am so sorry you're seeing it in your beautiful woods.

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  2. Unfreakin believable! Hope the mountain lions are hungry
    Lily & Edward

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  3. I am so afraid of the squatters in our National and State forests around here. They are often careless and right now the area is in a drought with the entire forest being tinder for the slightest spark. But I have never seen such appliances anywhere. How on earth do they get those things up the trails? And why?

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  4. Unbelievable!! I just want to bite them in the butt. And I will admit that a bear would feast on them. Of course if that happens then it would be the bear that would punished. GRRRRRRR.
    Blessings,
    Buddy

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  5. Bob and I can upon a squatter's camp yesterday while hiking. It was in the woods by the creek not far from the base of Peak 9. There must have been 20-30 construction garbage bags sitting at the edge of the forest where it meets the ski trail. Possessions or garbage, who knows? When I come upon these camps alone, I feel frightened. I really can't imagine people squatting here in the winter - we just get too much snow. However, I also can't imagine they will clean up the area when they leave. I have never seen anything like the camp you pictured! A refrigerator? You've got to be kidding!

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  7. How distressing. I have more words but they aren't fit for blogland.

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  8. We have a small gas fridge, a Coleman gas water heater for showers, a full queen size inflatable bed as comfy as our one at home, but to have a fridge on wheels? and the bikes? Yours? a friends? Do you have company for safety when you ride? or did they come in by pedal power? And what do they do when not in the camp?I would be worried so much as well .I agree, ban the campers unless self contained in a motor-home. Supremely magnificent last photo.

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    1. Hi Jean - The area was accessible by car on bumpy 4wd roads. I assume that they drove to it. I agree about the danger. I planned to simply ride my bike past the site (with my gopro recording) if there was anyone around. When it turned out to be deserted, I took photos. I have no idea what they do when they're not in camp - go to town to use services to charge their cell phones and get food? I'm just guessing. It is horrifying, and I'm as careful as I can be when I'm out there. I occasionally have someone with me but I'm usually alone. So far, I've done a decent job of assessing whether it's safe for me to be in the vicinity of one of these camps...

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  9. That's just awful. I hope they stay away!

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  10. I worry more about your safety with them than with the bears. Humans are so unpredictable.......be careful.....Isnt there a vagrant hunt coming up? (whoops was that bad)

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  11. We have a bunch of HBO we won't say about the filthy humans. Be safe.

    Aroo to you,
    Sully

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  12. Glad the bobcat lives not with the mama... after that roll in the coyote-stuff it would land in the bathtub :O)I'm so sorry that this environment-hooligans picked your place... I hope there is a way to get rid of them including the refrigerator and the office chair... btw: butt I would like to know WHY oh WHY they brought the fridge to the forest...

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  13. I agree, what they're doing isn't camping for recreation. It's hard to understand why the authorities aren't more concerned given your discovery of illegal fires too.
    The bobcat is a stunner, but the coyote made me LOL! Funny how she stares right at the camera!

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  14. That must be so maddening, and frustrating. People are ass holes. It all goes to the few people , who ruin it for the many.

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    1. Your last line is absolutely right. The vast majority of campers are responsible and leave places cleaner than they found them. For some reason, our area (and other specific places in the west) as become a magnet for the bad ones.

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  15. That's so sad. I can't believe people would do that to your beautiful woods. :(

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  16. That has to be so frustrating. We know how upset we get here when someone moves into the neighborhood who doesn't keep their property up the way the rest of us do. Your problem is so much worse as it not only threatens the beauty but puts lives and property at risk with their stupid and careless ways.

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  17. I understand your frustration, KB, but I do wonder if more restrictions would make much of a difference, since they would still require enforcement. From what I've been reading, I think the first step is to rigorously enforce existing laws. If necessary from a public education standpoint, clearly define and publicize the currently legal and illegal uses, and ENFORCE the laws. Maybe penalties need to be strengthened in order to make enforcement "worth the time" from an administrative and legal perspective. But above all, crack down on lawbreakers. I can only guess there is a sluggish enforcement response because it would present a great expense to local, state and federal agencies, and/or because there is some grey area between jurisdictions. As I say, just a guess.
    I sure do understand your frustration over this. Those pictures are nauseating on so many levels.

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    1. The USFS has only one law enforcement ranger for an absolutely huge area. And, he also tends to be lenient, constantly giving second chances. I *know* that their food being out on a table with no one around is breaking a USFS rule. But, will our ranger enforce it? Only time will tell. I sent him these same photos. When I call the sheriff instead of the USFS, he's really a stickler about enforcing only county laws that are being broken. I don't think that there's a law against having a refrigerator in your campsite or even about having a big pile of junk with you. I was told that a sheriff's deputy was in this camp area the other day because the campers had an illegal campfire. Obviously, the deputy did nothing more than deal with the campfire... and perhaps tell them to clean up trash that was all over the ground. It's crazy how impotent the enforcement agencies are.

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    2. Exactly, and I think it's that non-enforcement aspect that needs to be looked at hard and fixed ASAP. I don't doubt more field staff is needed, but the staff that's already there needs to be DOING more to enforce existing laws and rules. I get really annoyed about futile "warnings."
      You know, the USFS and NPS have a very active presence on twitter...I wonder if routinely posting this type of image and request for action to the Directors and specific parks/forest management would help move things forward a bit? At the very least, many more people would become aware of the problems, and help to pressure the agencies toward action.
      Be careful out there, KB.

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  18. Thanks for showing us all the beauty. It's too bad that people have no sense and are ruining the area. What's it going to take to get more force against these people? I can only imagine the reaction if one of these camps gets attacked by a bear or mountain lion.

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  19. Dang, I hope the bears eat them! Not really, they would make the bears sick.

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  20. One thing for sure, these people who are camping are not your friends or neighbors and don't give a damn, about your property, you or your pups. Please be very cautious around them or their stuff. Try the Twitter idea, and what else I don't know. Maybe Brian's send out the Bears would help! Jo & Stella

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