Monday, May 16, 2011

Camping Prohibited

Yesterday I took a stroll with my family through McFarland park here by Ames, Iowa and saw the "no camping" signage.  It really depressed me seeing that a nature conservation discourages people to spend time in nature by the primitive campsites, a rarity in Iowa and in the Midwest as a whole.

Their reasoning were:
  • lack of sanitary facilities
  • underage drinking and illegal drug use
  • difficulty accessing the area with law enforcement vehicles and poor radio and phone reception, affecting law enforcement communications

Well, it's a primitive campsite so of course it doesn't have facilities.  Is that bad?  I don't think so.  The whole point of primitive campsite is to learn how to take care of you and nature with simple means.  Aside the primitive campsites haven't been used that extensively that huge piles of poo is in that area.  If there were then pit toilets might have solved the issue or, even better, open more primitive campsites to dispurse campers and eliminate the issue as it would show that these campsites are sought after.

I haven't seen residue of alcoholic consumption or drug usage.  Never saw needles there nor an amount of alcohol bottles/cans.  Aside I can't see it as a prime spot for either drinking or drug usage since it's a quite a way to hike in and still fairly near to the residence of the park ranger.

I can't argue about the difficulty of accessing the area by law enforcement vehicles.  It's just the nature of hike-in campsites.  Of course law enforcement could access the area by 4 wheeler if they really don't want to walk the half mile.  However, cell phone reception is quite good at the primitive camp sites.

I tried to persuade them not to close the via an email and encouraged the local outdoor sports store and some clubs to do the same.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the public meetings of the conservation board.  Party due to the fact that the meeting time & location of special public meeting on March 3rd was never announced (even though I specifically asked for the time and location in an email) and I was out of town during the regular March 14th board meeting. 

I wonder if Story County Conversation gives out grants or loans to buy a 1/2 truck and fifth wheeler so my kids and I can enjoy nature at an RV park. *sigh*

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