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View Poll Results: Do you ever burn waste in a campfire?
No, never! 32 31.37%
Yeah, if I can incinerate it to nonexistence! 70 68.63%
Voters: 102. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-17-2019, 10:27 AM   #121
Lucky13
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I did not realize how old the post was or how extensive when I first posted. But there are some comments about BSA, and what the rangers will or won't tolerate in the post, and I wanted to comment.

My early camping was with the BSA and I basically learned how to put up a cheap pup tent in a howling wind and rainstorm in the middle of the night after it collapsed, that camp eggs ALWAYS have ashes in them or they are not camp eggs, and the dubious joys of Hormel Chili and Dinty Moore beef stew. When my wife and I started camping in the MRP so she could be somewhat close to the gift shops and the camp where my family was renting that no longer held the whole family, we were visited by an amazing ranger, maybe the first female I had met in a NYS uniform, Lilian (and I am remiss but I do not remember her last name) who worked with Warren at Cedar River, and Gary Lee, in the Plains. Lilian walked us around our campsite and pointed out the flaws, and her major beef was that I had stored beer and pop boxes, the cardboard kind, for kindling and for fanning a new fire. She told us that no paper should be burned and explained about tinder, and that it should come from the ground, no pulling bark off trees, no breaking branches off trees. She emphasized that materials that are innocuous when dry turn to mush when soaked by a down pour, so storing things like fire fans in the truck is appropriate as is stockpiling cardboard in the truck and taking it home. Noting the trash bag I had hung near the picnic table, she explained bear safe practices, and since then we've watched the little eyes move through the woods just outside the firelight but have never (knock on wood!) had one come through camp, or at least that we saw or heard. She did not give us a ticket, and we took her advise to heart to the extent that the following year, on returning from a day trip, we found a nice note from her saying hello, and complimenting us on our clean camp. A lot of my care for the plains, and my care for campsites, comes from meeting Lilian. Too bad there are not enough Rangers out there to provide this kind of primer to newbies, and a lot of people will only give the bird to someone with no uniform offering advise. It is just a matter of the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but that's going away a lot in today's world.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:30 AM   #122
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"Plastics" is an overly broad description.

There are many different materials in the family known commonly as "plastics." For example, the very common polyethylene and polypropylene (like an original translucent grey Nalgene bottle) contain no nitrogen or chlorine and will not produce furans or toxic dioxins. These "plastics" are basically "candle wax with longer molecules." Of course other plastics like PVC can produce nasty chemicals when burned.

And the "my fire is OK because I only burn "all natural" stuff, and none of that "nasty manmade stuff" position is also silly. Try burning poison ivy sometime and see how that smoke treats you. And I'm sure there are other "natural fuels" you can pick up in the woods that will produce toxic smoke.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:57 AM   #123
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A ranger will NOT tell you you cannot have a fire, because NYS Law allows it for three purposes, cooking, smudge, and heat. I cook with a propane stove, I am only needing a fire for heat if I go in September, normally, but I'll get something a little smoky burning anywhere I have camped up there to lessen the numbers of whatever pestilence is flying about at that time (Not normally necessary in September.) I do know what Poison Ivy looks like, and I have rarely encountered it in the Mountains. I am also pretty good at identifying green from dry, and things that burn well like beech and cherry from less useful woods. I also buy wood from nearby vendors. Size of fire is regulated as well, a fire larger than 4 feet is no longer permissible, and my fires are generally much smaller than that as I build them with twig materials, or what I can cut from deadfalls with a bow saw (and I'm pretty lazy anymore, I'm with Justin on the effects of aging on energy expenditure) to supplement what I have bought.

One thing I stopped a long time ago is buying beer (or anything else) for use camping in glass bottles. After catching a rock with one I dropped a long time ago, and then spending about 45 minutes picking up all the pieces, I converted my taste buds to cans, no breakage issues, lighter when empty and 100% recyclable. And most of the chic and trendy craft breweries are packaging in cans as well as bottles so you can bring the high test without the glass!
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:19 AM   #124
Justin
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I am also pretty good at identifying green from dry
This past weekend I had an AFR basically accuse our group of cutting live trees & branches near our campsite. I asked him to show me where, and told him it was not from us as we brought in our own firewood from Stewart’s. I even showed him our empty Stewart’s firewood bags that were now full of trash which we planned to carry out. He asked me to please burn the remains of the cut branches that were scattered all about. I told him no I will not burn any of it because it wasn’t from us and we were leaving soon, and offered to remove it all up further into the woods so that it was less visible from the trail. He didn’t seem very happy about that, which is a shame because I’ve chatted with him a few times in the past with pleasant conversation, and it left me feeling a little upset as I feel like he didn’t believe that it wasn’t from us. Not sure why he couldn’t remove the debris himself but I was happy to help clean it up regardless, which I did. So Adam, if you’re reading this, I promise that was not from us buddy, and just for the record, we carried out ALL of our trash & didn’t burn any of it. Even cleaned up the numerous piles of toilet paper that I found upon our arrival.

Last edited by Justin; 08-20-2019 at 10:32 AM..
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:48 AM   #125
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From looking at your pictures, you keep a very clean camp. Were there lots of branches or just remnants, and maybe he was having a bad day and needed something to rag on?

When I say green I'm referring to stuff that has just recently blown down or fallen from the canopy, and it does not snap easily when you try to break it. I do not cut standing anything. Did he ask you for your receipt from Stewart's?
Maybe it is time to view a campsite as an apartment and take pictures when you first arrive so that you can document that the damages were there when you arrived, and then you would also document your labor in mitigating them.

Article 7 (or whatever it is now) prohibits the removal of "timber" from State Lands in the Forest Preserve. What is the definition of timber? Where I have come across primitive campsites, it always look like at least some of the understory, ground cover has been removed, but these are small plants and trees while I associate timber with a harvestable commodity, and I've been told there is a minimum diameter for use of the word.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:49 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by TCD View Post
"Plastics" is an overly broad description.

There are many different materials in the family known commonly as "plastics." For example, the very common polyethylene and polypropylene (like an original translucent grey Nalgene bottle) contain no nitrogen or chlorine and will not produce furans or toxic dioxins. These "plastics" are basically "candle wax with longer molecules." Of course other plastics like PVC can produce nasty chemicals when burned.

And the "my fire is OK because I only burn "all natural" stuff, and none of that "nasty manmade stuff" position is also silly. Try burning poison ivy sometime and see how that smoke treats you. And I'm sure there are other "natural fuels" you can pick up in the woods that will produce toxic smoke.
Any regulation or law is going to have "reasonable" exceptions if we start picking it apart in excruciating detail. From the governmental stand point, it's impossible to write regulations/laws that account for each and ever possible instance- including ones that provide for those exceptions without also running the risk of weakening the law by opening up the potential for unreasonable exceptions. The best laws tend to be concise and simple.

Beyond that, however, I would still question the ethics of burning "plastics" even if they are of the type that are "basically candle wax with longer molecules" and can be burned with minimal impact. Perceived social norms play a huge role in how beginner hikers/campers/backpackers especially formulate their own set of ethics and chosen behaviors. If these users see other users (especially ones that are visibly more experienced) burning plastic, they'll assume that this is "accepted, normal behavior" for backcountry users and do the same- without any knowledge of different types of plastics and what the consequences can be for burning some types- and likely will even just burn garbage indiscriminately. For 95% of our population, trash is trash. Few possess the knowledge and understanding to differentiate beyond that.

I would argue that if any user is inspired at least in part by direct observation of our own actions to engage in harmful behavior in the backcountry- even if there is a relevant distinction between our and their actions- then at least some of the responsibility for their impacts rests on our shoulders.
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Old 08-20-2019, 01:33 PM   #127
Justin
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From looking at your pictures, you keep a very clean camp. Were there lots of branches or just remnants, and maybe he was having a bad day and needed something to rag on?

Did he ask you for your receipt from Stewart's?
Maybe it is time to view a campsite as an apartment and take pictures when you first arrive so that you can document that the damages were there when you arrived, and then you would also document your labor in mitigating them.
What he showed me was mostly just a small cluster of hemlock branches. Something I’ve seen a million times after a big storm etc, (heavy storms did roll through Fri & Sat), but yes, it obviously looked like they had been recently cut, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he did in fact think I was lying. No, I’ve never been asked yet for a firewood receipt since the 50 mile transportation of firewood ban went into effect several years ago. I did mention to him how I cleaned up the piles of toilet paper, and yes, I did take photos but I’ll refrain from posting them here. Maybe the same folks responsible for the cut branches, who knows...maybe he was indeed having a bad day. Lord knows what he may have found left behind by the party down the lake a bit. I never got a chance to paddle down there & see for myself as I was the designated gear “CanUber” for all the kayakers & hikers in our group.




Last edited by Justin; 08-20-2019 at 02:16 PM..
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:31 PM   #128
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It's a rough job being the choreboy, but somebody's got to do it!! I hope they tipped well!
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:26 PM   #129
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It's a rough job being the choreboy, but somebody's got to do it!! I hope they tipped well!
If you’ll do all the cooking for 7 people I’ll gladly haul your coolers, bins, firewood, & trash any day!
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:41 PM   #130
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When I've carried loads like that for friends that were kayaking they've assured me they were doing me the favor of ballasting my craft for me!
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:09 PM   #131
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When I've carried loads like that for friends that were kayaking they've assured me they were doing me the favor of ballasting my craft for me!
Glad Iím not the only one.
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