"Since the regs do not define what is meant by a shovel, or what the dimensions must be, it would seem to me that the worst case scenario on showing off your Big Dig to an inquisitive ranger would be a warning to bring a bigger shovel in future. "
This scenario makes me giggle. Looking forward to it almost. "See sheriff, I DO have a shovel, *waves titanium potty trowel* and I think the judge will agree I have complied with the letter of the law. *spit* Now if you'll pardon me, I have a train to rob." Still, no sillier that asking someone with a canister stove to carry a shovel to put out all those underground embers he/she created. If it ever got that far there would have been quite a fireworks show as the canister exploded. Anyway, most of the rangers I have met were far, far more sensible than either the folks who wrote the regs, or the average campers they run into, so I'm not too worried.