Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fire Ban

It appears the access ban to the Castle Wilderness and any off trail activity in Waterton is still in effect. The dirt road to Drywood is closed off at the shell plant. Last week helicopters were flying over the ranch at the base of Spread Eagle quite regularly (there was a youth camp there that seemed to attract lots of spotting from the authorities - presumably in case they broke the access rules).

In Waterton the other day we had a Warden wait for us near the dump as we climbed on Tick Ridge. He was quite nice, but said all off trail use was banned due to fires. He said climbing on the info bureau and Bear's Hump was OK.

I understand how smokers can cause forest fires quite easily. It just seems a pain that the rest of us have to suffer for the small probability that someone would be stupid enough to smoke in the backcountry with these conditions. I wonder if some sort of permit systems for access wouldn't be worthwhile. If you don't smoke and don't drive vehicles, and don't carry any fire starting devices, I wonder how much of a fire risk you really are. It seems like some sort of effort for bureaucrats to cover themselves and look like they are doing something pro-active. However, I can't say I agree with what is being done.


At 8/28/2007 05:55:00 PM , Anonymous Brandon Fletcher said...

I agree with your view on this subject. I think it is also interesting that despite the bans, fires are not exactly lessening in numbers. The gov't does this to say it is doing something effective, but all it does is keep out the law-abiders, and ignores the real problems. Besides, more fires are not man-made than are in Montana. I doubt we are too different here in Alberta. :)

At 8/29/2007 11:02:00 AM , Blogger chris goble said...

Yes, it certainly seems like a solution that has minimal effectiveness but a very high user cost. With the climateentering another large drying cycle, I can't imagine things changing that much from year to year. I certainly hope they are not setting a precedence for years to come!

At 9/04/2007 03:06:00 PM , Blogger chris goble said...

I revieved a very good comment about the fire ban in the Park. It seems like one of the deciding factors in instigating the ban was the difficulty in evacuating people if a fire was started.

Knowing the legal pressures organizations are under I can certainly see this perspective. I have heard how many lawsuits a park superintendent is exposed to, and really wonder if the legal climate we have created hasn't set us up for the type of protection we get?

Personally I like the risks of unregulated 3rd world countries. However I understand how many prefer rules and fines to the finality of the Darwinian approach.

Like the comment said, "the fire game, like climbing, is mostly about risk management". It is nice to know there are people lobbying for off train permits in the area. Like many things when there are connections between stakeholders things always seem smoother. On that note, does anyone know how SACA is going?

At 8/27/2011 04:53:00 PM , Blogger Nathan said...

Chris, we'll be up in Waterton for the long weekend. If you are around, we'd like to catch up.


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