Yep--it's that time of year again. And we have to believe that Santa takes this stuff pretty seriously. After all, he lives at the North Pole, so he knows how important preserving our wilderness really is. But just in case he needs little help, we have our own list for him to consult:
The idiot who set off the fire that burned 250,000 acres of Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park—and built an illegal campfire because he was sure the rules didn’t apply to him.
The other idiots who believe that the rules don’t really apply to them because….well, you get it. This year we met people who were camping in restricted areas, building fires where they were prohibited, hiking with dogs in Yosemite’s backcountry, and endless evidence of people who did not pack out their TP, tampons, etc. Leave No Trace. It isn’t that hard.
Boy Scout leaders who destroy natural wonders (and national treasures)—all the while supposedly serving as an example to the young men in their charge.
The knuckleheads who deface Native America heritage sites…or anyone who vandalizes public property. If you want to make something ugly, stick with your own property.
Those who choose to step into roaring spring creeks or wade above waterfalls, despite all the warnings…then again, these people get their rewards pretty quickly.
Editors who think that the single biggest issue with backpacking is dealing with bears. See above. Enough with the bear stories.
The bozos in Washington who continue to collect a paycheck while doing less and less for the people of this country. If you want to reduce the size of government, we can think of an easy place to start.
Anybody who takes friends, kids, or anyone else out into the forest to show them how wonderful it is. Just make sure they follow the rules. Please.
Those who share their expertise, knowledge, and experience on backpacking message boards where everyone from fellow experts to rank amateurs can learn…and enjoy.
A particular note to those who blog about their wilderness adventures. You not only help the rest of us who are looking for other places to explore, and newbies to find a first trail to hike.
The National Park Rangers and USFS employees and the volunteers who support them. We have found them almost uniformly really helpful and really pleasant—despite the fact that they have to deal with all these NAUGHTY people…which must get pretty darn tiring.
And SAR teams who regularly go out into the wilderness and bring the lost back to the trailhead.
The fire crews that fought to limit damage from fires across the Sierra.
The wonderful community of backpackers who continue to visit and treasure our wilderness areas. And our website!