Anglers Leave a Heavy Footprint


The following trip report is from a mid-July Boise and Payette National Forest venture, that took place northeast of Cascade, Idaho in the Krassel Ranger District.

smojosh - View my 'trailcreek' photos on Flickriver

Trail Creek = ultra slammed! A brief stop revealed less trash in the pullout than my last visit. On down the road.

Forest Service Road (FSR) 474 South was under heavy construction. ALL official and primitive camping areas are still off-limits due to area restoration efforts. Why the National Forest doesn’t just close the road to recreation traffic, or AT LEAST post 474 S as being under construction (massive mud/rocks) and that no camping is allowed, is beyond me. You would think they could work more efficiently with less traffic. Plus, aside from visiting (not camping) Vulcan (only roadside parking), Molly’s and Molly’s Tubs all other areas are off-limits.

smojosh - View my 'mollystubs' photos on Flickriver

The tubs at Molly’s Tubs are really, truly … gone. And, (big surprise) so is the trash. I recently received a trip report about the formation of two natural pools, however.

In regard to Molly’s Hot Spring… red spider mite alert! More and more people have been letting me know about this, and a recent email entailing of a spider mite infestation got me thinking it was time to ring the alarm. Why are so many of Idaho’s hot springs afflicted by the mites? Here’s the complete list of hot springs that have reported red spider mite activity… if you have more to add – please comment!

FSR 474 North was under pending construction. Nothing was going on, but the signs stated that construction would begin soon and would completely shut down the south fork road for about a month. They are going to replace all of the main culverts that run underneath the road.

Also worth noting, 474 N currently does not grant access to Yellow Pine and the Mule Hill trailhead to hot soaks in the Frank Church Wilderness (Kwis Kwis and the Middle Fork hot springs). Bridge out. To reach the afore mentioned destinations, take the Stanley-Landmark Highway instead. Drive past the 474 N turnoff towards Warm Lake and look for it near the lake heading north. There are plenty of signs to help you along.

This brings me to the title of this post. After turning onto FSR 474 North (AKA the South Fork Road) I began to notice a trend that made me feel very uneasy. Trash. Everywhere. Yep. Animals got into it.

I’ve been coming up here for almost a decade and have never seen it this trashed. Not even close. Not even after (or during) a fourth of July weekend. Campsites, both primitive and official – trashed. Garbage on the roads, trails and riverside. Fish entrails everywhere.

Apparently, this week a particular tribe is granted access to this area for fishing rights and free camping. Sadly, this type of behavior was something I’m accustomed to from other groups. I know so few fishermen that respect the land these days. Gotta give the Krassel crew a pat on the back for the cleanup. I picked up a ton of trash myself… it’s a compulsive habit nowadays. It barley made a dent though.

This was also the first time I have witnessed pimped-out cars bumpin gangsta rap in this area. Lovely to say the least. It was especially fun having a car pull into my campsite late at night just to be rudely asked “where are the hot springs?”. Oh joy. You can guess what I did. Played dumb. :)

Keep in mind, great soaks under the stars were had along with excellent mild-weathered hiking during the day. Wildlife was abound everywhere. Including the bugs. Even with bug juice on they ate me alive. Mosquito bites on my hands and face, a big (itchy) spider bite on the inside of my palm (still visible) and a mutant bug bite on my belly that left a scar! After a trip like this I’ve decide to look into garlic tablets.

“Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” –John Muir


Matt Weyen said...

What a let down to know that there are that many people out there like that. What I'd give for those people to just disappear!

theHSG said...

True that! Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...


Been seeing an upswing in the ol' human impact hereabouts as well. I think it might be a north west tradition to take a little time off during the last couple of weeks of August, load up the pick-up and head for the hills. No intent to bring back half the crap that might be hauled up on the way in.

We just got back from an overnighter into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Yes that's official Wilderness set aside 1964 by an act of Congress. I pulled out more plastic from Snow Lake than I'd like to remember.

How American is that kind of behavior?


theHSG said...

Thanks for the comment BigEAR, I'm right there with ya. I'll never understand why some folks go to all of the trouble to come out just to trash it up. Many thanks for the trash pick-up!

Lydia said...

I'm trying like heck to interest my husband in a hike late summer or early fall. If we go I'll be sure to take along bags to pick up trash. We always do that now when we go to the Oregon coast. In many ways I think humans are undergoing "devolutio"; what else can you say about a species that junks up its precious home? And, I wonder, are Americans the worse offenders?

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