Showing posts with label San Isabel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label San Isabel. Show all posts

June 29, 2014

Looking for Squirrel Creek Lodge - Part 3

It's not just an incinerator, it is a "Kernerator,"
by the Kern Incinerator Co. of Milwaukee.

The US Forest Service's remaking of Davenport Campground into something like Arthur Carhart's original vision, as mentioned in my last post, was praise-worthy.

But does it make up for the Service's obliteration of much of Carhart's original vision for recreational faciltiies? Not really.

Under the supervision of Carhart and his former landscape-architecture professor-turned-business partner, Frank Culley, Boy Scouts and other workers built facilities on South Hardscrabble Creek — the Florence Picnic Ground — and on North Creek, just north of Beulah. Another picnic ground was built at Smith Creek, in Hardscrabble Canyon above Wetmore.

In the late 1970s, the Forest Service demolished them all. According to a friend of mine, a life-long area resident who attended a public meeting about this decision held in Beulah, the USFS representative claimed these facilities were "inacessible" and "rarely visited."

Another friend, a Westcliffe resident, said he had heard they were demolished due to vandalism problems. In any case, the Forest Service no longer wanted to maintain them.

Instead of picnic tables, trash receptacles, outhouses, etc., the new model was "dispersed camping." Tack up a sign saying "Pack in it, pack it out," and all is good. Of course, no one packs out human shit.

A lot of this dispersed camping takes place in very locations where Carhart laid out picnic and campgrounds!

We have come full circle back to 1919, except that the standard of environmental education among forest visitors is a little higher. Sometimes.

The incinerator built to burn trash from the 1920s Squirrel Creek campsites slowly crumbles away.

Arthur Carhart's contract with the Forest Service lasted only from 1920–1922, after which time funding was . . . lost. He went into private practice and did other interesting work, but eventually became a full-time writer of fiction and nonfiction with outdoor themes.

Just tonight, I heard a professional chef praising his The Outdoorsman's Cookbook. Of course, this praise was from a guy who has walked the Squirrel Creek Trail himself.

Until recently, recreation was not truly a Forest Service priority — at least that was my perception. As a specialty, it lacked prestige. From its early twentieth-century creation onward, the Forest Service was all about timber management — and also grazing management — and firefighting to protect those two priorities.

I remember Dad when he was a USFS district ranger in the Black Hills saying (without irony), "We're tree farmers."

As opposed, it did not need to be said, to the pressed-pants-wearing, somewhat sissified  (Dept. of the Interior) National Park Service rangers who led tourists around by the hand, (Dept. of Agriculture) Forest Service rangers did real stuff with horses, axes, increment borers, cruising rods, and log-scaling rules.

Recreation on his district was handled by one man, a "recreation guard," who lived in a cabin off away from the work center and had a crew of seasonal workers in the summer.

People who rose in the hierarchy came from a forestry background, not a recreation background, although that has changed some in the last generation.

But thanks to the San Isabel Public Recreation Association and Carhart's and Culley's work, private interests began pushing tourism in and around the San Isabel National Forest, something I will look at next.

April 30, 2012

Visitor Opportunities Reduced in Two Colorado National Forests

In northern Colorado, the US Forest Service promises "rolling" closures of trails and roads as beetle-killed lodgepole pines on the Arapahoe National Forest are cut to reduce hazards.
Almost every popular national forest access in Grand County will be affected at some point during the spring and summer, from mountain biking access near the towns of Winter Park and Fraser to hiking and backpacking trailheads to anglers and campers who use the Arapaho National Recreation Area (ANRA). 
in southern Colorado, where windstorms knocked down thousands of trees in the Sangre de Cristo Range, blocking trails and damaging a popular campground on the San Isabel National Forest, there is talk of "prioritizing" the response.
[District ranger Paul] Crespin, [Jeff] Outhier and other USFS officials will be meeting with local elected officials, civic groups and tourism organizations here to explain the situation in the Sangres, and to encourage them to urge summer visitors [instead] to take advantage of trails, campgrounds and public lands in the Wet Mountains. 
Crespin said it may take many months to open the Sangre trails, and some may never be restored to their prior conditions.
In both cases, it's mainly a recreational/tourism issue. If people can't play, will they stay? The Wet Mountains offer some hiking trails and only one developed campground, at Lake Isabel.

(And then there is the whole frozen-cow disposal issue.)

July 10, 2008

Blog Stew with Wiener Dogs

Dachshunds are the most aggressive species. One of the main dogs of my childhood was a dachshund: truly a Doberman in a 15-pound package. One day he decided to take on a Lab and a boxer. A two-week stay in vet hospital ensued, and he always limped in cold weather after that -- but he still went backpacking with Dad and me.

Patrick Burns disagrees with the study, which conflicts with his experience and some other studies on canine aggressiveness.

¶ Noise ruining the experience in some national parks.

¶ And the Park Service tries to reach people who think that the parks "aren't about them."

"Some people are startled by butterflies," [NPS social scientist James] Gramman said. "It's not like that can't be overcome, but if you don't do something, it will persist and it won't be overcome for generations."

It's sort of like the 1920s again: how do you get certain population groups to go camping and escape the baneful influence of "agitators."

My former student Ben Manzanares knows the story now.

¶ Jenny Shank interviews mammalogist David Armstrong for New West on climate change and Rocky Mountain mammals.