October 10, 2007
Campers of the 1930s at Lake Isabel, San Isabel National Forest, southern Colorado (US Forest Service photo).
Last December Kristyn Econome (vice president of the Backcountry Snowsports Alliance) wrote in a letter to the editor of the Denver Post:
I long for a back-to-basics campground with minimal facilities. I can't remember a time within the last few years that I've stayed in a "Forest Service" campground that wasn't run by a concessionaire. For some reason, a while back, the higher-ups in the Forest Service thought that its visitors wanted more amenities, such as flushable toilets, running water, trash cans and even paved roads in campgrounds. Thus, they decided to essentially rent out the campsite facilities to concessionaires who "improve" the campgrounds and charge higher fees so that I may camp there.
It's the same point that I made about ski areas: the well-heeled and experienced have lots of choices, but how can you get started for not too much money? (Many Colorado ski areas are on land leased from the Forest Service as well.)
You could start with a copy of Camp Out! The Ultimate Kid's Guide. I have not actually seen a copy, just the linked blog entry, but the premise is good.
People who do not experience the back country, preferably as children, never come love the back country.