Forum Index » Pre-Trip Planning » CA Drought and 2014 hiking season


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Albert C.
(Albsthehiker) - F
Bump on 04/20/2014 15:42:28 MDT Print View

Bump, just to keep this valuable information at the top.

Does anyone have any updates about alcohol stoves along the JMT?

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
alky stoves on the JMT on 04/21/2014 09:25:44 MDT Print View

I was so confused last year...I imagine this year would be the same. The yahoo group and folks here all sounded the alarm about no stoves without on/off switches. Meaning no esbit, no alky.

When I actually GOT to the JMT, however, every single ranger I came across, from the permit office in yosemite to the rangers on the trail, every single ranger said they had never heard that stoves needed on/off switches. They unanimously said alky stoves were fine.

The printed signs along the trails all said "no open fires, stoves OK" and that's it.

I'm going to assume the confusion is going to continue and not sure how this year will be any different.

Jeff Sims
(jeffreytsims) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal
Stoves on 04/21/2014 09:37:34 MDT Print View

My experience last year was the same as Jennifer's. Every trip I asked directly if Alky/Esbit set ups were ok and every time I was told yes.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Stoves on 04/21/2014 09:49:53 MDT Print View

It seems like most of the examples of "rangers" saying no come from calls to the regular wilderness offices, though maybe I have that wrong. Maybe those guys are grumpier, or maybe they are somehow more motivated to interpret the vague regs conservatively. If you bring a stove snuffer you can at least make a very decent case for being in compliance if you meet a grumpy ranger actually in the wilderness! I have tried batting my eyelashes, but I find for me this has a negative effect - on both sexes of rangers. I'm sticking to canister this summer.

Paul Koenig
(adidasno21) - F

Locale: Midwest
Helpful ... ? on 04/21/2014 10:14:27 MDT Print View

hey guys, hopefully this is helpful to some, but might already be common knowledge. last week i came across this site:

http://www.nps.gov/seki/naturescience/fire-restrictions.htm

which is now showing as under construction when i try and visit it.
this should take you to a cache copy from google.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:PlsGQDcyIaMJ:www.nps.gov/seki/naturescience/fire-restrictions.htm+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

good luck.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Helpful ... ? on 04/21/2014 12:45:20 MDT Print View

Just last night I sent my inquiry to SEKI asking about any fire restrictions they might have this summer for various types of backpacker stove apparatus. So far, no reply.

I sent a similar inquiry to Yosemite a few days ago and got the reply that so far they had not made any decision for the summer.

--B.G.--

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: alky stoves on the JMT on 04/21/2014 12:51:13 MDT Print View

I've asked about this same thing at the Inyo National Forest ranger station in Bishop, CA. I got one story from the first person writing the permit for me, and when I asked for confirmation, I got a completely different and conflicting story from the second person who works ten feet away in the same office. The wilderness rangers out in the field are in less contact, so they are likely to have even more conflicting opinions.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
A play it safe alky stove on 04/21/2014 17:45:00 MDT Print View

I feel pretty comfortable discussing my Starlyte with backcountry rangers, as they are spill proof. About as safe as an alky stove can get.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: A play it safe alky stove on 04/21/2014 18:02:18 MDT Print View

Tom, although most backcountry rangers tend to be pretty low-key and practical, there are a few out that that are going to enforce federal regulations in any way that they see fit. If their national forest has issued a temporary order about certain kinds of stoves and what kind of controls need to be on them, then they might try to make an example out of you.

That's why I've been making inquiries to the various parks and forests to pin them down on any such restrictions. If I get any concrete replies, I will post them here.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove on 04/21/2014 18:18:09 MDT Print View

"Tom, although most backcountry rangers tend to be pretty low-key and practical, there are a few out that that are going to enforce federal regulations in any way that they see fit. If their national forest has issued a temporary order about certain kinds of stoves and what kind of controls need to be on them, then they might try to make an example out of you."

I know, but most of my limited encounters with backcountry rangers have been pleasant.
Only once did I have a run in with a genuine government issue pr!ck, and that was some 37 years ago. Even then, I emerged unscathed, but it sure cast a pall on the day.

I'll look forward to what beta you come up with, but will wonder if you are getting the scoop from people who actually get out in the field, or just the usual BS from front country fat a$$e$ who have never seen a TH and just read from the sheet.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove on 04/21/2014 18:19:42 MDT Print View

Bob, I think I may have come up with a solution:


switch

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove on 04/21/2014 18:34:50 MDT Print View

Tom, I hear what you are saying. That's why when one Inyo office permit issuer tells me something that I think may not be absolutely true, I ask for a second opinion. Then, once I have them all in agreement, I ask where that is laid out in black and white, at least if I think there may be some question. Once I get it in black and white, then sometimes I carry that with me in the field, just in the even of that same guy that you ran into 37 years ago. Gee, that same guy must be getting old by now.

I've watched some Yosemite backcountry rangers with great interest. One guy walked up to me and asked to see my permit. I showed him and he was on his way about twenty seconds later. He spotted an illegally pitched tent (right next to a lake and right on a pristine piece of meadow), so he was making his way over there. The ranger was packing a sidearm, so he was not to be fooled around with. Plus, he knew how to flush out the owner of said tent. He walked up to it and started pulling out the stakes! Immediately the owner stomped up and started giving the ranger a hard time, right up until he saw the sidearm. The owner just did not know when to give up, though. If he had immediately grabbed up his tent and started moving it back to a legal spot, the ranger might have let him go with a verbal warning. But, the owner just kept ragging on the ranger, so we watched the citation get written, and that is for a federal court.

--B.G.--

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove on 04/21/2014 18:36:44 MDT Print View

Marko, I like your thinking, but it needs to look like a traditional rotary valve control.

--B.G.--

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove on 04/21/2014 18:41:00 MDT Print View

Ah well...just as likely to get me cited for trying to be a smart ass.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove on 04/21/2014 19:42:48 MDT Print View

Marko, we are sure that you will be successful at everything you try to do.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove on 04/21/2014 20:06:18 MDT Print View

"That's why when one Inyo office permit issuer tells me something that I think may not be absolutely true, I ask for a second opinion. Then, once I have them all in agreement, I ask where that is laid out in black and white, at least if I think there may be some question. Once I get it in black and white, then sometimes I carry that with me in the field, just in the even of that same guy that you ran into 37 years ago. Gee, that same guy must be getting old by now."

Now that is what I call thorough. When you get this year's opinions consolidated, would you be willing to post the final version on BPL? That way those of it who find it useful can print it out and carry a copy as well. Seriously. But if you ever run into a ranger with a name tag that reads "Eric van Vliet", all bets are off. He'd probably write you up for misrepresenting government regulations. ;0)

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove on 04/21/2014 22:13:45 MDT Print View

No, keep asking until you get someone to give you the answer you want and then go with that

sort of like how you do with parents : )

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove on 04/23/2014 11:32:54 MDT Print View

I had asked about fire restrictions and how they would affect Esbit, alcohol, or butane backpacker stoves. The first response from SEKI has arrived:

"It is likely that we will have fire restriction this summer due to drought and high fire danger. We also have year-round fire restrictions in place in some areas (mostly at higher elevations where dead and downed wood is scarce). The stoves you mentioned are all okay to use even in areas with fire restrictions. However, wood-burning stoves are subject to the same restrictions as campfires."

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove@ BG on 04/23/2014 16:49:25 MDT Print View

"The first response from SEKI has arrived:"

Thanks for posting this, Bob. Very useful for trip planning. That means I can enjoy my coffee with a minimal weight penalty.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A play it safe alky stove@ BG on 04/23/2014 17:10:07 MDT Print View

Tom, I know that there are a few backpackers who intend to use wood fires. In the higher elevations of SEKI, I believe that wood campfires are generally banned. A wood-burning stove like a titanium Caldera Cone is classified the same as a campfire, since it burns up the one resource (wood twigs) that needs to decompose into the soil.

Now I'll look for that cup of coffee around the top of Shepherd's Pass.

--B.G.--