Our View: These visitors aren’t users, they’re abusers | SierraSun.com

Our View: These visitors aren’t users, they’re abusers

Illegal campfires, vehicles tearing up meadows, garbage dumping: All make up sad examples of how some visitors to our local national forests view the public land ” everyone’s land. These visitors aren’t users, they are abusers.

And while some of the above activities may seem like benign fun, there are reasons why regulations are in place. All one has to look at is how the devastating Martis Fire started. An illegal campfire hopped its rock ring and burned an estimated 14,000 acres of forest and caused more than $18 million in damage and fire suppression expense.

That’s just one example of why local, state and federal fire officials are so uptight about campfires. In the wrong hands, those seemingly harmless flames can cause huge amounts of damage and heartache.

We suppose there are people out there who will argue that we and fire officials and over reacting. But just like the drivers of the four-wheel-drive vehicles who tear up meadows in the spring, all one has to look at are scenes like our reporter David Bunker saw recently on the Tahoe National Forest ” a charred picnic table littering an old fire ring. Talk about a campfire in the wrong hands.

Need more examples of wanton disregard for our public land? Head down any

easily accessible Forest Service road in the area and you will eventually come across a molding couch, rusted refrigerator or a bald set of tires dumped by someone too cheap and lazy to go to the transfer station.

By and large most people who visit their public lands use them responsibly. It’s the abusers we have to worry about.