Saturday night right at dusk as I was awaiting Mike to head back down and home, I turned away two visitors hiking their way up to the springs with larger than normal backpacks . . . campers. When I confronted one on the BPA road and informed him he was on private property and didn’t he see the sign on the side of the road, he was ready with his excuse. He said ‘but I thought this is forest service property . . . the sign was on the hill’ as if he expected the sign to be stuck in the middle of the road to be official? All with a smile as if I’m going to fall for that. Another fifty feet and he’s going to have to turn right onto the trail and that is the private property he was supposedly respecting. Anyway, this is becoming a nightly occurrence whenever I am up there surveying. The consequences of campers and night-time use is becoming a serious problem.
Today, we did the preliminary layout for an eventual parking area in the lower property, spending almost all day down there. Eventually, we headed up to the springs for a soak. I went around the upper trail to check for evidence of campers and found plenty from the previous night. The fire-ring still had dry, warm ashes in it . . . must have been a huge blaze. And a good-sized group as well because they had set up rudimentary benches to sit around the fire.
Mike came by the lower trail past the latrine and when I met up with him he didn’t seem too happy. Someone had broken lumber off the scrap pile and built a rather large fire right on the decking near the tub. And you know what is posted right next to that fire-scourged deck? A ‘No Campfires’ sign! The railing where we hang our clothing was loose . . . as if they had tried to tear that out first for firewood before heading for the stacked lumber below. Are these the sort of people we want up at Scenic Hot Springs?
Rick (aka banged_up_shins)