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TheChez
05-09-2006, 07:12 AM
I was disapointed (no, annoyed actually) to find the campfire ring at Garfield obliterated last year. I experienced the same thing at Marcy Dam. Is this the general policy now, to actually eliminate a place to make a campfire at the shelters and tent sites in the Whites and Adirondacks? Life in the woods just isn't the same without a camp fire.

Wayne in Maine

Waumbek
05-09-2006, 08:00 AM
Is this the general policy now, to actually eliminate a place to make a campfire at the shelters and tent sites in the Whites and Adirondacks? Life in the woods just isn't the same without a camp fire.

Wayne in Maine[/FONT]

In high-use areas like Garfield, and/or fragile ones, I believe it is a policy now to prohibit open or camp fires. Here's what AMC says:

"Cook with a stove. In high-use areas, campfires are often discouraged or prohibited. If you make an approved fire, collect only dead wood no bigger around than your wrist and scatter your campfire ashes. In remote areas, use no-trace methods such as a fire pan."

AMC doesn't necessarily make the rules, WMNF does.

In the dry conditions we are experiencing now, there are additional reasons to prohibit open fires. I miss the old campfire days too--but not the general charcoal-grease accumulation in shelters and the "scorched earth" area around those rings--but I live within a few miles of shelters that used to have open fires, which are potentially very dangerous right now. Local fire crews have been putting out brush fires almost daily over the last month.

Pete_Hickey
05-09-2006, 08:03 AM
I don't know about other places, but in no fires are allowed in the Eastern High Peaks. It is understandable, if you had ever been around Lake COlden on a still summer evening, where the air seemed just like poluted city air from all the campfires, or around Marcy Dam, where there wasn't a scrap of wood on the ground within a quarter mile, and most trees had their branches less than 7 feet, broken off. Not to mention all the trees ilegally cut..

woodstrider
05-10-2006, 12:24 PM
no longer are permitted in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks-haven't been for several years- hence removal of fire rings.

Bring a stove to cook with and enjoy the tranquility of the night without the interferance of a fire.

TheChez
05-10-2006, 07:28 PM
Bring a stove to cook with and enjoy the tranquility of the night without the interferance of a fire.

Oh the tranquility of the glow of the evening embers. The scent of wood smoke is in every way to be preferred to the whiff of propane or petrol.

I guess things are changing, and the woods are becoming a more mechanized place where only plastic, metal, and petroleum are considered "gentle" enough to enter.

Sigh...

rhihn
05-10-2006, 08:13 PM
Oh the tranquility of the glow of the evening embers. The scent of wood smoke is in every way to be preferred to the whiff of propane or petrol

I guess things are changing, and the woods are becoming a more mechanized place where only plastic, metal, and petroleum are considered "gentle" enough to enter.

Sigh...

Yes, things are changing, but at least in the Adirondacks, it doesn't have to be (and is not really) the black and white picture you paint. Fires are certainly doable in many places in the Adirondacks. We have built many campfires in the woods. Done responsibly and in the proper location, it can be a wonderful experience. But there are places where they are not allowed for reasons of fire safety and wear and tear on the environment. Many of these places (such as at Lake Colden sites - see Pete Hickey's post) the effort to build a fire in areas that are picked clean of firewood is often greater than the reward. One of the worst campsites I've ever camped in was at Colden Dam. Trash, TP, smoke, and noise was everywhere, and not a stick of firewood in sight. A beautiful area that has been loved to death. In these areas, respect and follow the rules. Heating a meal on a camp stove is still a far cry from a "mechanized place where only plastic, metal, and petroleum are considered 'gentle' enough to enter." Try it, and as woodstrider says, you might find that you enjoy the peace and tranquility of the night.

Pete_Hickey
05-10-2006, 08:19 PM
Oh the tranquility of the glow of the evening embers. The scent of wood smoke is in every way to be preferred to the whiff of propane or petrol. You've obviously never had to breath the 'smog' around the Lake Colden area. The air is much fresher now.


I guess things are changing, and the woods are becoming a more mechanized place where only plastic, metal, and petroleum are considered "gentle" enough to enter.Only in the heavily used areas.

There are two ways to 'protect' the area. Restrict number of people (EG out West), or make it less 'wild'. Not allowing wood fires is only one thing that protects it. There are many others, such as hardened trails, bog bridges, etc.

An area of land has a certain 'carrying capacity' when that is exceeded, things must be done to protect it. If you want more rustic areas in the Adirondacks, stay out of the overcrowded areas. Fires are allowed in ... oh, probably 95% of the Adirondacks.

Nessmuk
05-10-2006, 08:45 PM
I cook with a wood fire, well actually I boil water to rehydrate my food, on a Kelly Kettle (http://kellykettle.com/). All I use is a handful of twigs or pine cones and I don't scar the ground, don't carry any petrol.

Forget the overpopulated campsite fires, with environmental and polluton problems as Pete and others have noted. If you must, you can have a campfire in most areas of the Adirondacks. You don't need a bonfire though. Never make a fire on organic duff, or you could start an unseen underground fire that may erupt weeks later. Consider a dakota hole or other small efficient method in mineral soil, then when you are finished scatter the ashes and obliterate any trace that it or you were there.

A campfire was long known for its abilty to gather a group and to focus attention. Just watch any group of scouts or other kids and try to keep them away, especially as dusk falls into dark. But consider focusing on the natural evening environment instead. Gather along a lake shore, or someplace facing west to catch the last failing colors in the sky. Voices will soften and the days thoughts and tomorrow's plans will drift out. I'll bet you've never seen stars so bright.

A whole new set of animals comes to life at dusk, but are not likely to be seen or heard over a bright crackling fire that robs your night vision and makes them go elsewhere. Try a simple candle on the ground if you need to focus on firelight. Instead of creating a separated island of "city" lights in the wilderness visible across an entire lake, relax and become a part of the woods. Enjoy the night sky, the noises, and the sights and sounds you don't get to see at home.

chuck
05-11-2006, 09:06 AM
Thank you for the info on the Kelly Kettle. The small one looks like a good buy.

Chuck

Nessmuk
05-11-2006, 01:05 PM
Thank you for the info on the Kelly Kettle. The small one looks like a good buy.

ChuckI've been using the KK exclusively for 4 years now. My food preparation is all home dehydrated meals, so all I need is to pour boiling water over it and soak a few minutes to rehydrate a complete meal. I get 3 cups of boiling water in 4 1/2 minutes from a few small twigs.

woodstrider
05-11-2006, 01:09 PM
This debate is a big yawn :p

That said- spot on Pete Hickey. :D I avoid places like Lake Colden- even though it is a lovely place- just to avoid the crowds. I live in a crowded city and my "getaway" time is used to get away from the crowds. You do what you like. I camp at large, and you know what- I rarely have any problems with animals in my food- or being woken up in the wee hours by some drug or alcohol fueled revelers. :(

As your campfires burn late into the night, I will stand and quietly enjoy the sounds, sights and smells of the night world. I will be as one and a part of that world- not insulating myself away within the circle of flames.

Stan
05-11-2006, 05:15 PM
Native Americans were baffled by the size of the White Man's campfire. Probably still are. Can have an effective fire for warmth, cooking and general atmosphere with smaller pieces of wood in a pit a third the size of the typical fire ring.

dug
05-11-2006, 06:34 PM
I have to say, I enjoy the smell of a fire and the ambiance. Just don't do it in the mountains any longer. Seeing the "human browse line" is an awful site.

Once in a blue moon we might get something going if on a winter trip for a few nights just to break up one of the evenings. But, those are really rare and certainly not a 'fire ring' or using a lot of wood.

I have been known to stand around a burn pile in the back yard with a beer, shovel and hose at the ready. That's fun stuff.

forestgnome
05-11-2006, 09:36 PM
The campfire is part of the ambiance of camping for some, including me. I don't do a bonfire, I keep it very small and I don't keep it going more than a couple hours. I like to throw in a few needles or combs for inscence. I cook a few dogs or strips of steak, then sit around and watch the fire die. I can pick out 6th magnitude stars while sitting right next to my fire, so I don't think I'm missing any nature experiences. :)

I can understand why firecircles are going away in popular places. Just another reason to camp in more removed areas.

Lately I have naturalized a few very large firecircles. One was about eight feet in diameter and a foot tall. It took a half hour to deconstruct it. The broken glass was nasty to deal with.