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Re: [AT-L] Campstoves vs. Campfires

Okay, usually I try and stay away from saying what I think on subjects like
this.  This is mostly because both sides of the party believe (usually
strongly) that their view is right and no one is really going to change
their minds.  However, I'm glad to see that (by and large....sorry, couldn't
pass that by ;) )  the contributors on this list can talk about the pros and
cons of different views without degenerating into flamage and regressing
into total anarchy <G>.  I'm not going to bother to try and change minds,
but instead just want to air my feelings on the subject and get it off my
chest (uh oh...could be long.... :) ).  Disclaimer: nothing I write here is
meant to belittle anyone else's views.

>>Campers should learn from the natural inhabitants of the
>> forests and wilderness- who don't build campfires, but survive.
>They also survive without all the other things we pack on our backs.

This is quite true, but then, almost none of the other things are
detrimental to the environment, especially in such a direct manner (and no,
I'm not trying to say that harming the environment in an indirect manner is
any better...).  By this I don't just mean in terms of removing dead wood
that would have normally been "absorbed" back into the environment and
benefitting the ecosystem, but more in terms of air pollution which is
indeed a very real threat.

>> Campfires generate much more air pollution than a well-tended,
>> clean-burning campstove. 
>I've never met a fuel burning stove that I couldn't smell a good
>distance off and personally the smell of fuel just doesn't fit into a 
>backcountry experience. 

The smell of burning fuel is distasteful to quite a few people, but, again
on the air pollution thing (yeah, I know, bear with me here...), I'm finding
the smell of wood burning disturbing as well since I've become aware of what
it does to the air and the environment.  Sure there's some nostalgia in
there - I have a ton of childhood memories of roasting weenies (which no
doubt have acquired the politically correct term of "meat (?) product of
questionable origin" <g>) and marshmallows over campfires with my family.
However, times change and we have to change with them (a.k.a. adapt and
overcome).  However unpleasant, we have to face up to the idea that we can't
just say "well, there are other things that create more pollution than a
little campfire..." and instead must do our part to helping our beleagured
wilderness (oh god, here comes the soapbox....<insert sheepish grin here>)
that has provided the very means for our "escapes", if you want to call them
that, into the woods.  See what I mean?  As Michael said:
>> the problem of air 
>>pollution is becoming critical, and> although campfires create a tiny
portion of the total, we don't need to
>> contribute campsmoke when there are options.

>Anyplace that has an air pollution problem does not seem to represent 
>what I have come to know as the backcountry experience.

Even though the backcountry is largely unpopulated, this by no means should
imply that there is no air/ground/water pollution problem. It's a sneaky
thing that has a nasty habit of creeping up on you when, and especially
*where*,  you don't expect it (hmmm....almost sounds like Murphy's Law!
<g>).  There are no boundaries that state "no polluted air is allowed to
enter here!", and there are a few (thankfully not the majority) people who
might not feel like "taking out what they took in" and may slip a chocolate
bar wrapper <or insert other type of garbage here> under some leaves
thinking "well, come on, it'll biodegrade *eventually*!"  I'm attempting (in
my own, ham-fisted way) to say that unfortunately, too often, air (and other
types of) pollution has become part of someone's backcountry experience,
often not by their own hand.

>> Many campsites are closed each year to allow site
>> recovery, primarily from fuel gathering.
>If this is your experience you should try going further "out"

I'm not criticizing your opinion, but why should he go further out?  Do you
mean he should in order to get away from the affected areas?  If so, then I
believe by all means that you are right and that's what he ought to do.  But
if you mean he should go further out in order to easier find wood to burn
and therefore scour and disrupt the site like the one he left, then I'll
disagree.  I'm pretty sure by how you wrote it that you meant the former,
but I just had to say that anyhow, being me and all... ;-)  

I'll cut this off now before I hear more groaning or <worse!> snores <g>,
but thanks for this forum for expressing my opinion.  Hope I didn't bore
y'all!  Toodles....

Take care,

ps.- and for god's sake (after all my rambling) hike your own hike (but with
awareness...)! :)