Camping and Cigarettes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-31-2021, 10:32 AM   #1
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Camping and Cigarettes

I just returned from a wonderful week of camping off grid in the Boise National Forest. Albeit, it was hot and dry. Fire Condition 1 - no open fires, wood fires, or fire pit usage. Still, I enjoyed the beauty of our forest, rivers and wildlife.

I had a hummingbird frequently visit the nearby fire pit in my camp. Off topic I know, but I was amazed how much time the hummingbird spent at the fire pit. I learned after the fact that a hummingbird's diet is only 20 percent nectar from flowers and is 80 percent insects. That fire pit must have had a lot of insects even though I did not see them myself.

By accident, I found an excellent "dispersed" camping site. It was very obvious to me that many had found the same spot prior to my appearance.

The second day I was there, I spent over one hour "policing" (a term we used in the military for picking up trash, etc.) and picking up after previous campers. You can use your imagination to think about what the worst I cleaned up and I assure you that it will not come close!

To the point of this particular post - Cigarettes

I am guessing that I probably picked up no less than 75 cigarette butts around my camp site. I did not get all of them. Of course, I know that I am not speaking to anyone on this forum, however, I hope that you will educate others in a way to help to keep our national treasure, our forests and public lands as pristine as possible.

When I was in the military, we were trained to "field strip" a cigarette. The tobacco goes on the ground, the filter and the paper wrapping in your pocket for proper disposal later.

The following link provides detailed instructions on how to "field strip" a cigarette. It also explains why field stripping a cigarette is important.

https://www.wikihow.com/Field-Strip-a-Cigarette

Considering the number of fires we are experiencing here in the northwest, I shudder when I tell you I found cigarette butts nearby in very dry grass and shrubs. One fire pit was only about 18 inches away from a large tree!

Whether we are camping in a formal RV park or camping out in the "wild" or "off-grid", common sense and courtesy to others says that you pick up after yourself. When camping, what ever you take in, you also take out, leaving the area as clean or better for others to enjoy and appreciate after you.

I know this forum is not for rants, but I happened to think this one was particularly important as almost 1 million acres of our forests are currently going up in smoke.
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Old 07-31-2021, 10:41 AM   #2
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Smokers are pigs

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Originally Posted by Bob Penn View Post
I just returned from a wonderful week of camping off grid in the Boise National Forest. Albeit, it was hot and dry. Fire Condition 1 - no open fires, wood fires, or fire pit usage. Still, I enjoyed the beauty of our forest, rivers and wildlife.

The second day I was there, I spent over one hour "policing" (a term we used in the military for picking up trash, etc.) and picking up after previous campers. You can use your imagination to think about what the worst I cleaned up and I assure you that it will not come close!

To the point of this particular post - Cigarettes

I am guessing that I probably picked up no less than 75 cigarette butts around my camp site. I did not get all of them. Of course, I know that I am not speaking to anyone on this forum, however, I hope that you will educate others in a way to help to keep our national treasure, our forests and public lands as pristine as possible.

Considering the number of fires we are experiencing here in the northwest, I shudder when I tell you I found cigarette butts nearby in very dry grass and shrubs. One fire pit was only about 18 inches away from a large tree!

Whether we are camping in a formal RV park or camping out in the "wild" or "off-grid", common sense and courtesy to others says that you pick up after yourself. When camping, what ever you take in, you also take out, leaving the area as clean or better for others to enjoy and appreciate after you.
We have no big fires here in the mid west today but still have less that 2 mile visibility from wild fire smoke today in west central Wisconsin due to the wild fires in the west and Canada.
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Old 07-31-2021, 11:25 AM   #3
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Smoke from wild fires

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We have no big fires here in the mid west today but still have less that 2 mile visibility from wild fire smoke today in west central Wisconsin due to the wild fires in the west and Canada.
You are fortunate not to be hit with fires there. While I did have light or sometimes no smoke, the sky was usually hazy and brown from the smoke. I was fortunate there were no fires anywhere near me. I don't envy you the smoke you are experiencing.

When I was packing up and hooking up my trailer, it decided to rain the entire time. Much needed rain! Cleared the sky of smoke and knocked the dust down. It was cool and I am definitely not complaining! I hope that little bit of moisture helped to put a damper on some of the fires.
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Old 07-31-2021, 11:41 AM   #4
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For some reason, smokers who I know would never litter, do not consider tossing a cigarette butt out the window as litter. Its so common.

I routinely police my driveway and yard after we have contractors do work. Butts everywhere. Meanwhile, no one in the family has ever smoked.
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Old 07-31-2021, 02:08 PM   #5
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SMOKE @ Elk Mound Wisconsin

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Originally Posted by Bob Penn View Post
I know this forum is not for rants, but I happened to think this one was particularly important as almost 1 million acres of our forests are currently going up in smoke.
I just took this picture minutes ago. It is a beautiful partly cloudy day here today. But at ground level the smoke is very noticeable.
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Old 07-31-2021, 02:18 PM   #6
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Field stripping the cigarettes is the best idea. The tobacco is an excellent natural insecticide. (without the paper and filters)
We used to go by the cigar factories and get their floor sweepings to put in our garden.
Was cheaper than DDT and didn't kill birds.
At a boarding school I went to would always volunteer for the trash detail along the highway. Strip the butts, save the tobacco for the kids who were smokers. (trading material)
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Old 07-31-2021, 03:12 PM   #7
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One added thought: experiments have shown that discarded cigarette filters essentially do not decompose. Toss 'em out and they're there for life.
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Old 07-31-2021, 03:56 PM   #8
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One added thought: experiments have shown that discarded cigarette filters essentially do not decompose. Toss 'em out and they're there for life.
Yes they do but it may take some time. 18 months to 10 years generally.

Garbage left by others can't be stopped but it should not be tolerated and it appears as camping becomes more popular it's an increasing problem.
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Old 07-31-2021, 06:58 PM   #9
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We were at a COE campground just north of Junction City, Kansas a couple of weeks ago and when we got to our site there was a pile of probably 200 cigarette butts at the back of the site. The rest of the site was clean. I don’t get it…..
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Old 08-01-2021, 03:22 PM   #10
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I realized a LOOOOONG time ago that smoking is a filthy, disgusting habit practiced by ignorant, inconsiderate persons.

I mean that in the nicest possible way....
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:26 PM   #11
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Old 08-07-2021, 10:25 AM   #12
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Addiction is not their only problem, most of them are total slobs when it comes to respecting people and places.
I pick up butts along the front of my property all the time. Some woman drops her kid in the neighborhood for babysitting, yep, smoking with a child in the car, and for some reason, her cigarette butts get thrown on the street by my yard before she leaves the neighborhood.
My wife and I are the types to leave a campsite cleaner than we found it. Butts all over and crap left in the fire pit seem to be the norm for some slobs though, and it doesn't seem that many campground hosts clean up much either, but we can't leave it that way.
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Old 08-07-2021, 11:24 AM   #13
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Yes, it's a weird disconnect - most of them wouldn't drop a gum wrapper, but will toss a butt. Somehow if you just step on it, it disappears...?

I used to work as a park operator in Goldstream Provincial Park. We picked up everything. To this day I still find the occasional cigarette butt in my shorts pocket - old habits die hard.
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Old 08-07-2021, 12:47 PM   #14
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As kids we were made to police the campsite before we left. Last thing before getting in the car. It meant all butts, gum wrapper, or trash. It also prevented leaving tent stakes, a pocket knife and assorted small items behind.

I passed the practice on to my kids. Along with having the site kept clean while in it. Should be able to stow everything out of the weather for a sudden storm and there should be nothing out to draw wildlife to your table.

Smokers are no ruder or untidy than anyone else. But since cigarette butts are identifiable as being "smoker trash" it makes them a high profile easy to identify target. I have seen a grass fire that came to a point right next to the road, more than once, most likely culprit would be a tossed cigarette. This sort of boggles my mind that anyone would throw a hot ember out into dry grass. However having seen camp fires built when area is under fire restrictions, or directly under or adjacent to tinder dry fuel sources.... I'm not all that amazed.

Campers like every other group are a mixed bag. The more popular camping has become the more participants will be joining the group without the background that might have been handed down when camping tended to be more of an inherited activity that passed down in families. I think hunting and fishing have some of the same issues. Lots of new people without a firm grounding in some basic things.

I went to a location we have gone to many times in the national forest and the first thing I noticed the last time was the white piles of toilet paper scattered in the low brush nearby.

Now I don't mind providing a good example of leaving the site and fire ring clean, I think if people see others doing that sort of pick up it sets a good example. I consider it common courtesy to leave any left over firewood under the picnic table or stacked kindling on the bottom in boondock locations. But there is no way I'm going to let people watch me dig and use a cat hole to provide an example of how not to mess up a campsite. If nothing else half the reason for the camper is my knees don't do the squat reliably and falling over or being unable to get up would NOT provide a good lesson in how to bury your waste.

Diapers too, I can't for the life of me figure out who would leave a trash bag of food garbage and disposable diapers in a camp site. The local wild life enjoyed checking it out. I did not enjoy cleaning it up. I can't use that as a reason to condemn all parents of small children the way it seems that smokers as a group get blamed.

For the record I don't smoke, did at one time. Never left a site covered in my butts, didn't empty the ashtray on the ground, did field strip my butts. Know other campers who smoke who also are neat about it. Certainly much neater than the folks who toss beer cans all along the river or camping areas.

We have to face it, camping has become so popular that our impact is getting extreme, some places require hauling waste out because the number of people using the trails make even cat holes a problem just from the sheer volume of human waste. Many places that used to be used by a few thousand a year now see a million visitors. Just tossing dish water into the same bushes a hundred times a month for the camping season is a health and environmental issue. Like the bush that all the boy dogs visit.... human urine can kill the vegetation when all the guys spot the same secluded location near the campsite.

If you want proof that camping has moved into the mass market and away from those that grew up doing it the smoke haze over a state park is a good indication that a whole lot of folks have no idea how to build a camp fire that doesn't smoke.
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Old 08-07-2021, 02:18 PM   #15
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In my 45 years of camping experience (anecdote ahoy!) the only trash I've found left in a campsite is cigarette butts and very rarely, a burned-up drink can in the fire pit.

So I can judge some smokers being a little less likely to be a good camping steward than other campers. Probably judge unfairly, but that's me.
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Old 08-07-2021, 04:11 PM   #16
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Additional rant on my part

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Originally Posted by AlanKilian View Post
In my 45 years of camping experience (anecdote ahoy!) the only trash I've found left in a campsite is cigarette butts and very rarely, a burned-up drink can in the fire pit.

So I can judge some smokers being a little less likely to be a good camping steward than other campers. Probably judge unfairly, but that's me.
Roger's comments all struck a note with me. In my initial post, I focused on cigarette butts. I only touched on the other items. I picked up beer bottles, beer cans, candy wrappers, plastic bottle tops, spent ammunition casings, paper towels, toilet paper on top of human waste, broken clay pigeons, scrap wood thrown around, a broken pallet, numerous camp fire pits used and not filled in and more. I cleaned it all up. Sorry to say, I did not dig a hole to bury the human waste. In retrospect, I probably should have done that as well. They say hind sight is 20/20. I know mine is.

As to the contents of the main fire pit, was one carbon fiber fishing pole in numerous pieces. I removed all of that, too. I did not dig further in the fire pit.

Another thing that I found disappointing, is that several trees in the immediate area had been used for target practice with fire arms, and knives and/or axes. Spent ammunition was proof of use of the firearms and the huge gashes in the trees evidence of being used for targets for knives and/or axes. With our loosing acres of forests each day due to fires caused by weather, arson, and general carelessness, we can no longer afford to take our forests for granted.

I was doing well to do what I did. 30 or 40 years ago, it would have been a different story. The afternoons during my camping trip were very hot. I am sure they were mostly above 100 degrees. Not conducive to digging holes to bury the waste of others. I was there to enjoy the forest, wild life, peace and quiet and the beauty around me. Unfortunately, I had to clean up after less responsible people before I could relax and enjoy it myself. Maybe I am OCD or something like that.
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Old 08-08-2021, 01:14 PM   #17
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This is a great post! Thank you for taking the time to write it.

The ethos of "leave no trace" become more relevant each passing day. Are there any thrills that can match finding a particularly spectacular spot and wondering if you are the first human to pass this way?

There is absolutely no excuse in this age for leaving trash of any sort behind in the few wilderness and near-wilderness areas that remain. Although sitting beside a campfire is a primal pleasure that, no doubt, connects us to our distant ancestors. it also leaves a scar upon the Earth that will remain for thousands of centuries.

We have a debt to our children to leave nature pristine. What greater gift than to allow them to wonder that perhaps they are the first humans to pass this way.
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Old 08-08-2021, 03:23 PM   #18
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I learned how to field strip cigarettes when I was drafted into the Army in January 1967. Didn't like doing it, but did it. In late 1967 I was transferred to Okinawa, just down over the hill from 1st Special Forces Group. The first day there I observed the Green Berets out on "police call" picking up butts. I quickly noted that even the top ranked Sergeants were out there on police call picking up butts too!! I no longer complained about it. Quit smoking about 11 years ago. Had my left lung lobe removed 4 years ago. Two different type Lung Cancers. I remain Cancer free today. The Veterans Administration Hospital saved my life!!!
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Old 08-09-2021, 09:39 AM   #19
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I realized a LOOOOONG time ago that smoking is a filthy, disgusting habit practiced by ignorant, inconsiderate persons.

I mean that in the nicest possible way....
Confirmed by scientific research. As a licensed psychotherapist who works in addiction medicine, I have seen SPECT scans (like a MRI) of brains from smokers and they have significantly less neuronal connecting and blood flow in many significant areas of the brain. They also have less car ownership, less home ownership and overall less social-economic growth compared to non-smokers. Smoking is very limiting.
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Old 08-09-2021, 10:14 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Ervin in Portland View Post
Confirmed by scientific research. As a licensed psychotherapist who works in addiction medicine, I have seen SPECT scans (like a MRI) of brains from smokers and they have significantly less neuronal connecting and blood flow in many significant areas of the brain. They also have less car ownership, less home ownership and overall less social-economic growth compared to non-smokers. Smoking is very limiting.
Careful there - correlation is not causality.
More accurate to say, "Smokers are limited."

Anyway, as a former smoker I have to agree, smoking messes with your brain.
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