Doug Rutherford

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Campground firewood

September 2015
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Two years ago, I mentioned one of my two pet peeves with Yukon government campgrounds involves firewood. The issue has been raised again, although in another light.

CBC has reported the huge other problem with campgrounds providing free firewood to campers, namely, people stealing firewood.

Over the years, I’ve seen a few suspicious-looking situations, although not totally evident. After all, people stockpiling far more wood at their campsite than they could ever use is not the indication of theft. It could just as easily be one of the many selfish jerks that empty the wood box when they arrive for their long weekend stay, depriving anyone else of wood for the next day or two until the wood boxes are restocked. Some people will empty more than one wood box.

The method of doing this is to often load up their truck, ATV, etc., and drive to their campsite. It used to be that moving firewood on a campsite by vehicle was a violation of Yukon Campground Regulations. I didn’t agree with this since there are lots of people who camp who aren’t physically capable of carrying an  of firewood to far. However, the rules were changed but there is a limit. No more than 15 pieces of firewood can be carried in a vehicle at one time (section 10, para 3 for the legal types.)

The main problem is that there is pretty minimal supervision available at most campgrounds most of the time. The campground officers do show up at some sites with some frequency, particularly those known for partying. Most have the people who restock the wood and clean the outhouses show up daily. But, most do not have around the clock supervision.

Now, this is quite an expensive proposition given there are many campgrounds and the position of campground monitor, with the ability to enforce the regulations, is rather daunting. And, to be honest, having someone on site is no guarantee people won’t be able to sneak firewood away from the campsite.

So, the onus comes down on us, the park users. There’s nothing wrong with keeping your eyes open for something suspicious, and nothing wrong with surreptitiously taking an innocent photo of a license plate and passing that information to the campground officers when they do their rounds.

Environment Yukon has complained about the cost of providing firewood for a long time. And, as one tourist mentioned in the news story, we are one of the few places that provide it. Hopefully, we won’t lose this wonderful perk we have. It would be sad to see it end because of a few idiots who are too lazy to cut their own firewood…


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