Jim Smith UT (jsmith@SAREK.OSMRE.GOV)
Tue, 14 Nov 1995 09:03:06 -0700
Old habits die hard!
Building fire rings, with or without rocks, has not been a recommended
practice for years! They are the most enduring (they can last for
centuries or even millenia) impact a camper can have on the land and do not
fall within the "Leave No Trace" ethic embraced by the BSA.
If a fire is needed, note 'needed', the first
choice is to use a fire pan to get the fire off the ground to keep
the ground from being baked.
If there is an existing fire ring, it is
appropriate to use it, but don't place 'new' rocks around it.
If there is no existing fire ring, use any of the several techniques in the
Boy Scout Handbook (Girl Scout Handbook also?), Woods Wisdom, Fieldbook, or
other reference sources to preserve the layer of living soil, living in
the sense of a community of organisms. DO NOT USE ROCKS TO BUILD A RING
around the fire. (Do not build fires on rock surfaces or against outcrops
or overhangs either, for even though these may not be living soils, the
soot and discoloration is almost permanent.) When finished with the fire
restore the site to its original state and properly dispose of the
ashes, in an appropriate waste container when possible (and its almost
always possible even if it means transporting them back home).
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City