How people’s failure to follow “Leave No Trace” caused the closure of the ideal campground.
Have you ever stepped into the warm, comforting waters of a hot spring? It’s nature’s way of providing us with soothing comfort in the backcountry without the urban meddling of humans. Even better when you can camp within minutes of the outdoor pool.
Unfortunately, individuals who treat this outdoor escape as a pool party or restroom never run out of ideas about trashing it. One hot spring campground that has reached its limit of abuse is the Umpqua Hot Springs in Oregon.
Years of people leaving trash and taking a dump everywhere has caused the U.S. Forest Service to take a drastic action: shutting down overnight camping. “Too many don’t follow the Leave No Trace techniques,” says Jimmy Tyree, Diamond Lake District Ranger for Umpqua National Forest, in a press release. The situation is severe because the natural decomposition process that occurs in the area has stopped. Other problems that plague this spot include domestic violence, fighting and illegal drug use (hopefully not complaining about this).
Umpqua isn’t the only hot springs victimized by human garbage. Skinnydipper Hot Springs in Idaho faces a similar dilemma. Although it doesn’t allow overnight camping, rampant trash abuse is causing the Bureau of Land Management to consider closing access to the hot springs for at least 5 years—maybe permanently. All because partying losers have developed a lazy attitude about maintaining the outdoors.
For imaginative ideas about what should happen to people who trash nature, and ruin the experience for the rest of us, read this blog post: 9 Scenarios You Wish Would Happen to Nature Trashers.