Letter to the Editor: Addressing Dr. Bunnell
Thank you for your letter to the editor of the Emery County Progress admonishing Utahns (and everyone else) to "camp responsibly."
When I read your first paragraph it generated mental images of campsites that I have seen recently-campsites strewn with all manner of human waste. As you indicated, the image "sickened" me.
But there is another image that sickens me to an even greater degree. It is the image of driving my truck, (yes, I drive a gas guzzling 4-wheel drive pickup, nicer than my father could ever afford) to a campground that I remember from my youth. Just as I prepare to pull into the campsite, with visions of pitching my tent and catching wild trout from an untrammeled stream, I see the sign:
"No vehicular traffic allowed, no camping, no fires, no nothing and especially no having fun at this location. Governmental regulations prohibit such activities, the fact that you and your family have engaged in those activities for decades notwithstanding."
Such signs abound in our modern milieu. And they represent for me, a governmental trammeling of the wilderness that is even worse than the prevalence of human waste that you described.
I agree with you that we all need to camp responsibly. Beyond that, I believe that our government (including the BLM and the US Forest Service) need to serve the people. I believe that they can best serve the people (especially those who live in these rural areas) by allowing us continued access to and use of public lands (and campsites, both developed and undeveloped).
As you indicated, that access and use comes with the responsibility to conserve and preserve the campsites and related experiences that make up our heritage (and, I believe, our birthright). Yes, I will camp responsibly-if I am allowed to camp at all.