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Old 12-22-2016, 03:55 PM   #1
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Boondocking: Trailer Menace 1935

"Another line of division might be made on the basis of size of the trailer. One could think of restricting entrance to trailers smaller in all dimensions but width than the automobile itself. This would still leave untouched the possible develop-ment of one piece units into large living and cooking quarters."
********
http://www.foresthistory.org/ASPNET/...ilerMenace.pdf
(correct to: .org/ASPNET/policy/Recreation/TrailerMenace)

This is an early attempt to control, if not ban, the use of trailers being towed by vehicles into the Public Lands and Forests.

A google search of 'Trailer Menace' by E. P. Meinecke, may also work. This is dated April 5, 1935.

With 'travel trailers' in 1933 becoming larger, those protecting the National Forests through the United States Department of Agriculture and also the National Park Service were struggling on how tent campers and the trailer camper could share common areas provided by the government.

The paper is three pages long and you will find it very interesting. WE are the products of the 1933 Travel 'Trailer Menace'. This paper was also sent April 5, 1935 to the United States Park Service, United States Forest Service and the California State Park Commission.
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Old 12-22-2016, 04:23 PM   #2
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I am unable to provide the drawings of a modest trailer, the church on wheels and some photographs provided as examples.

Dr. Haven Metcalf
Principal Pathologist in Charge
Division of Forest Pathology
Bureau of Plant Industry
Washington, D.C.
Dear Metcalf:
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY
I enclose a carbon copy of a short paper entitled “The
Trailer Menace” for your information and files. I am
sending one original directly to the Director of the Park Service, in view of the real urgency of the matter, and I am asking Mr. S.B. Show to send another one to the Forester.
I am also sending a copy to the California State Park
Commission.
Between ourselves, all the governmental agencies who deal extensively in recreational matters should have seen this development coming long ago and should have established a definite policy in good time to ward off the coming danger.
In fact, I have been waiting for more than a year for some-
thing of the kind. Now I think I shuld again start the ball rolling in the interest of forest protection and camp regulation.
Sincerely,
\s\
E.P. MEINECKE
Principal Pathologist.
Enclosure
COPY COPY COPY
Santa Barbara, California
April 5, 1935
April 1, 1935
The public agencies such as
the Forest Service and State Park
recreation on a large scale have,
necessity of planning campgrounds
and regulating their use in the interest
and of preservation of public safety and
good order. In consequence, camping has
designated areas, and these areas are in
of being laid out according to definite plans, making for the best utilization of space, for adequate protection of the vegetation, for convenience and safety of the campers and
for the maintenance of the camp spirit as contrasted with
city and town life. The decisive element was the fixation
of individual camp sites and, within these, of the automobile.
A definite piece of land was cut out of the camp site area
and reserved for the parking of the automobile.
The automobile is the only feature in camp which is
clearly still a part of city life. In itself it is an incon-gruous invasion of the wild. But, having become an indispensable necessity, it is to be considered as an unavoidable evil which, in the regulated camp, is made as inconspicuous as possible through screening. Frequently, the car is accompanied by a
small trailer, containing accessories to camping, which finds
its place in the spur provided for parking. Being of moderate dimensions and low in build it does not add materially to the unsightliness of the camp. But it does constitute, after the automobile, a second concession to convenience and comfort of
the campers.
Within the last one or two years a new type of trailer
has suddenly sprung up, of enormous proportions and outfitted luxuriously for actual living. No longer is the trailer merely
a help to camping but it obviates camping altogether. It is truly a modern dwelling on wheels, a moving bungalow provided with beds, cooking stoves, sanitary equipment, running water,
ice boxes and electric lights. Units costing as much as $5,000.00
are in circulation. In size they completely dwarf the automobile they are attached to. In the summer of 1934 a church on wheels made its appearance in Yellowstone National Park, thirty-three feet in length with corresponding height. One single unit of
this size in a camp dominates with its bulk the entire campground.
It can no longer be overlooked as a familiar and not too large
an object like the average automobile. When there are two or more, the effect is heightened until the campground truly gives the appearance of ill kept city slums in which cabins and huts, of all colors and all designs, are scattered without order or plan and completely destroy the last vestiges of camp intimacy
in the wild. From an esthetic viewpoint nothing worse could be imagined.
The Trailer Menace
the National Park Service,
Commission which deal with tourism and
within
recent years, come to realize the
of protection of recreational assets
been restricted to specially
process
The most serious objections must be made on the grounds
of forest protection. The larger the unit the more difficult
it is to handle and steer and the greater a menace it becomes
to trees, shrubs and low vegetation. The obstacles which will effectively deter an automobile are of little hindrance to
the large units. The crowding necessary to get a wheeled house into the restricted space of a camp site increases manifold
the risks to the vegetation. Every increase in size of any of the main camp features, whether it be tables, tents, cooking places or car spurs, demands correspondingly deeper cutting into the forest. The large space needed for moving and parking of
the house trailers makes necessary an inordinately heavy sacri-fice of the wild vegetation.
In the planned camp sites the Service provides certain con-veniences such as a place for cooking, table and tent space. Good economy indicates this best utilization of space. The wheeled house carries all these conveniences with it, thereby making useless the features offered without making them avail-able to other campers since the parking spur is occupied. An element of serious waste of Government investment is introduced.
The attached photographs give but a feeble idea of the threatening situation. The units depicted show but the beginning of what a highly specialized industry will bring forth in the future. The trailer types of 1934 were merely feelers sent out. They were still in the experimental stage. But the marked difference in quality between the first clumsy trailers of 1933 and the already much improved types of 1934 makes it certain
that 1935 will show enormous advances. In numbers the use of trailer houses has gained alarmingly in 1934 over 1933 and show what one must expect of 1935 and later.
More and more these trailers are developing into Pullman cars. There is no thinkable reason why the very near future should not bring commercial enterprises, school and University parties housed in the most comfortable style into the Parks
and Forests. The beginnings have already been made and have caused serious embarrassment to the Services involved, at
least locally. There is further no reason why the truck type
of Fig. 6 [sic] should not be mounted with Pullman equipment. Already
there are 7-axle oil truck units on the highways. Two or three units of this traveling together must inevitably destroy all
camp character and turn the woods into an industrial trucky yard.
There are important sociological and economic angles to the matter. Not
only are the legitimate campers robbed of
consider their privilege in the enjoyment
of unspoiled natural surroundings but the
and resort owners are seriously affected.
over longer periods of time, during
what they have a good right to
Park operators, Forest permittees
The house trailer is naturally used
which its inhabitants live rent and tax free on Government.land. [sic]. Not the least disadvantage introduced is the very serious road
-2-
hazard. Even on the highway the obstructions of view ahead and often the holding up of traffic by commercial trucks are
felt as a nuisance. On mountain and winding roads the danger
is a real one.
The whole development has come so quickly and is growing
so rapidly that neither Park nor Forest administrations have
had time to cope with it adequately. All attempts so far have been temporary adjustments. There is no accepted policy of dealing with the menace. In some places the attempt was made
to enlarge the parking spurs, thereby upsetting the economic utilization of space. Since the tourist desires to use his
car for excursions whilst leaving the trailer house in camp
it is necessary to back the cumbersome structure into the spur, with great difficulty and almost unavoidable damage to trees, shrubs and the trailer itself. To obviate this, some campgrounds are providing a camp site with what really amounts to a short side road leading through the camp site, entailing a dispropor-tionately great waste of space. A few adminstrators, sensing
the incongruity of having these huge units placed in the grounds reserved for homely camping, have provided separate areas for them, an expedience which cuts further area out of the forest
and which is applicable only where such space is available.
There can be no doubt that, unless some definite action, based on a sound policy, is taken in time, the very next years will bring about an intolerable situation which it will then be too late to mend. The policy of restricting camping to desig-nated campgrounds was timely. It has paid for
itself amply in fire protection alone. The regulation of campgrounds now practised came one or two decades too late. For the absence of a campground policy the Government has had to pay heavily and it is not through paying. The trailer house menace is
still in its infancy. It is at least thinkable that it might be stopped if quick action is taken.
such as yet
There are two possibilities:- either the trailer houses are tolerated and accommodated or they are prohibited.
In the first case the results are a definite abandonment
of the truly American ideal of the free enjoyment of forest
and wilderness in simplicity and an invitation to bring the city into the woods. Of preservation in the state of nature there
can be little left where a new type of city slums or suburban village with a floating population is establushed. The entire road policy must be adjusted to meet the new traffic hazard. Since it is obviously out of the question to let the house trailers stop where they like it will be necessary to provide
places for them. If this is done within established camps the
waste of space entailed is hard to justify, leaving aside altogether
the esthetic depreciation of the camps, the antagonism set up in the legitimate campers and the vast increase in supervisorial liability.
Parks or Forests will have space available for separate units out of
large enough to take care of
-3-
Few sight and
villages on wheels and few will like to contemplate the duplica-tion of improvements such as water and sanitation. Large clear-ings will have to be made, a further cut into the forest.
There remains the question whether this is not the time to stop the evil before it becomes firmly established and grows
to intolerable proportions. There is no doubt that with every year of
toleration it will become increasingly difficult to restrict the evil. The justification for keeping a highly objec-
tionable and dangerous feature cut [sic] of Forests and Parks is not far to seek.
In both the National Parks and Forests as well as in State Parks the preservation of the Government’s assets comes first. Without it there is neither Park nor Forest. Both are open to the public for its enjoyment, not as abstract things but as
part of the Nation’s heritage, rich in spiritual and emotional values. As far as the admission of the public does not impair
or destroy these values it is welcome, and ample provisions
are made for its convenience and comfort as well as for its safety. Any element which does not conform to the postulate
of preservation of the Nation’s assets is inimical and must
be kept out. That part of the public which conforms to the principle of preservation of the Nation’s assets has a right to enjoy them unimpaired and has a right to protection of this enjoyment.
The difficulty in drawing the dividing line between one group of the
public and another is only an apparent one. People
who visit Forests and Parks must have shelter and food. Obviously, those who can live so simply that the assets are not, or little, impaired, conform most closely to the ideal for which both
Parks and Forests are created, that of sound conservation. And
they are the ones who go to the wilds as campers, satisfied
with the simplest life and goad for the opportunity to live it.
On this basis a sharp line may be drawn between genuine campers and those who prefer city comforts. For the latter there is ample provision made in hotels, resorts and privately owned auto camps. Under this grouping an automobile with a trailer which contains merely accessories for camping would be admitted. The trailer in this case will never be unduly large. Trailers and units actually used for living and not for camping would be excluded.
Another line of division might be made on the basis of
size of the trailer. One could think of restricting entrance to trailers smaller in all dimensions but width than the automobile itself. This would still leave untouched the possible develop-ment of one piece units into large living and cooking quarters.
-4-
Whatever policy may be adopted, there is no doubt that speedy decision is necessary. The summer of 1935 is going to show an immense increase in numbers and in size of house trailers, and it may be an act of justice to their users to settle their status before it is too late.
\s\
E.P. MEINECKE
Principal Pathologist



Photo appeared in the May 1972 Journal of Forestry article, "The Trailer Menace - A Voice from the Past," by E.P. Meinecke (excerpted from the original article), p. 281.
Photo appeared in the May 1972 Journal of Forestry article, "The Trailer Menace - A Voice from the Past," by E.P. Meinecke (excerpted from the original article), p. 281.
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Old 12-22-2016, 04:44 PM   #3
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To understand the reference of Travel Trailer to Pullman Cars... google Pullman 1935 to understand.

Boondocking and Airstreams have come a long way since its beginning. Tow Vehicles and Trailers are accepted as normal camping alternatives.... today. But when Airstream was being introduced, there was some serious discussions as to how trailers and tent campers could integrate. This is just an interesting slice of Trailer History.
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Old 12-25-2016, 07:27 PM   #4
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Interesting Ray..... didn't know an AS was evil!!!

Somethings never change, and the protection/environmental stewardship was going in even back then. I wonder what the author would think now, as they let the evil in, and didn't stop it.

I have been tent camping my entire life. I just admit I always tried to go somewhere the motor homes couldn't get to, and that was fun. Still plenty of places to go if that is your desire. As I continue to age, the comforts of a trailer have become more appealing, and for us, allow us to get out more than we would if just tent camping. Plenty of space for both.




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Old 12-25-2016, 10:13 PM   #5
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That's an interesting paper. I've personally experienced some of the issues mentioned in the paper. Lack of vegetation and separation of camping areas is present in many campgrounds found at state and national parks. Campground design standards for public (taxpayer funded) campgrounds should certainly be updated in my opinion.

Here's a link to a recent evaluation of issues brought up in the original paper by Meinecke.

http://www.georgewright.org/311young.pdf
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:30 PM   #6
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Anyone who wants to read the Trailer Menace, that is not scattered like my Post #2... go to the website. The text is sometimes rambling, but the 'cut and paste' really makes it a difficult read.

Nvestysly... excellent. You, Danielle and ourselves understand your George Wright paper very well by... avoiding... the designated popular sites on the 2016 Wyoming Adventure!

For those who attempted to read these two papers and your eyes glazed over... do it again. The CCC in the 1930's did excellent work projects to improve the National Parks that people 'Love to Death'. Many roads built by the CCC are still solid and well made. The Quemado New Mexico Adventure had some of these roads and stone retaining walls! I noticed... I doubt if anyone else did.

Nancy, myself and our two Blue Heelers prefer the Off the Grid sites that may be near a National Park, but unknown to the 99% who prefer organized campsites with amenities. These areas are the vestiges of campsites that were used by the Lumber Industry, Mining Industry and Livestock Industry. Had it not been for these commercial enterprises, access to the National Forests and BLM lands would not be possible.

Experiencing a National Park is a normal and practical task for most city dwellers. The surprise is the crush of humanity in attendance.

But... when Airstream owners were taken Off the Grid in Wyoming 2016 and were expected to find their own experiences and adventure... some individuals were, in many situations, confused, lost and uncomfortable. These are my observations and the reaction from several Boondocking Adventures over the last several years.

Experienced Off the Grid Boondockers on these Adventures took it in stride and found the experiences a change from asphalt and pay to camp sites. Most were tent campers until stepping up into a portable apartment on wheels with a State Atlas as their 'guide'.

Some, as Nvestysly... managed well. You know who you are that were able to free themselves of paid guides with lines of humanity in tow. Some... were totally unprepared for a self tour or even read the material leading up to an Off the Grid Boondocking Adventure.

Those who do go into the more remote areas find... trash, campfires in the road, under trees and trees cut down and used piecemeal for firewood. It is not the experienced Boondockers that do this.

Ranchers will tell you on their Ranch... follow the two ruts and leave the gate as you find them. This means keep from driving across the grassland meant for Cattle and if the gate is open... leave it open, or closed, close it after entering.

Yes. I understand. This is again one of those 'short stories'. One paragraph or two cannot tell the story.

Escaping the City Limits to the National Parks are 'Loved to Death'. I have opinions on this, as well, from those who had worked in the National Park business... but enough it enough for one post!
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:34 PM   #7
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Not a menace

My 1936 single axle AS is not a menace. In fact, we always draw crowds who admire the restored "boat-tail" trailer. I suppose today people groan when they see the 40 foot monster RVs pull into a campground.
As long as they're quiet and respectful campers, good for them
Gary
Reno NV
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:38 PM   #8
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Old 12-26-2016, 02:56 PM   #9
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As a former tent camper I can certainly empathize with Mr. Meinecke's opinion of the menace caused by overly large trailers and RVs invading pristine forest campgrounds. They were and are truly an eyesore and contradiction to the whole concept of the camp out experience. OTOH, as I've grown old enough to sorely dislike crawling into a tent on my hands and knees, as well lacking any desire for the rougher and courser aspects of tent camping, I find my small trailer a good way to get out in the woods. I try to be sensitive to tent campers' desire for a quiet retreat by seeking out campsites that are specifically designated for trailers and RVs. Some public campgrounds do a good job of maintaining this separation which, to me, seems like a fair compromise.
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Old 12-26-2016, 08:22 PM   #10
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I ate some mushrooms once and everything was groovy while I was sitting by the creek but every time I went back to my Airstream to get something to drink I couldn't help rolling on the ground laughing at how my trailer didn't blend in with the forest! It took me about 5 or 6 tries before I could get to the door. Good thing there wasn't any green paint handy that day!
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Old 12-27-2016, 09:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1936RoadWarrior View Post
My 1936 single axle AS is not a menace. In fact, we always draw crowds who admire the restored "boat-tail" trailer.
Gary
Reno NV
*******
I extracted this quote from Gary... owning one of those... trailers and still traveling the country, only to find admiration for being a survivor of the 'Trailer Menace' 1930's witch hunt.

The original eye sores were the... Chuck Wagon Airstreams traveling from Texas to Wyoming in the second half of the 19th Century. They brought cattle, horse traffic and... Texans.
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Old 12-27-2016, 09:51 AM   #12
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What does limit the size of RV, fifth wheel or trailer is the skill of the operator. And...

- The width of most Off the Grid roads can be a challenge.

- Branches hanging over the road are... Air Conditioner trimmers.

- The switchbacks are always too steep, too narrow and the ditches much too... deep.

As roads improve, trailer sizes... 'improved' from tent camping, to tent pop up campers to apartments on one or more axles. Tent campers now go further off the grid to find... more tent campers. Well traveled paths once deer and elk trails are now... tent camper highways into the Back Country. Those who follow these trails understand.

The Indian Trails of the eastern USA were the routes used for generations before horse and wagon traffic. Two story tall wagons on the Oregon Trail. It goes on and on. Today we have the best variety of options available to the curious and wandering vestiges of our pioneering ancestors. We push these limits when possible... with the Off the Grid travelers.

In lumber country... once you find no chainsawed stumps... you are now in truly remote locations and wilderness!

Those who traveled the 2016 Wyoming and 2016 New Mexico Adventures found places remote enough to eat the dust, mud, sleet, rain and enjoy only the humanity that tagged along each back road. Do not confuse this with RV Campgrounds and established National Park campsites. There are places that only the few attempt to visit. In another generation this 'few' will be the decline of the Trailer Menace of the back country.

We are the lucky few to have carried this tradition to its finale. We are blessed.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:02 PM   #13
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To make up for the sloppy 'cut and past' of this very interesting concern of those in charge of Public Lands, mostly in the western USA, I typed the entire letter and some typos within the original.

I was sent an email yesterday from a Geology Group in Denver, Colorado. This is:
http://rmfms.org/wp-content/uploads/...HANGE_2016.pdf

/BLM-RULE-CHANGE_2016.pdf

The BLM and Forest Service want to restrict or ban the collecting of any kind(s) of fossils. Vertebrate fossil collecting has been banned by citizen collectors on all non private property exposures for decades. This new bill is to restrict everything else not included. It has been proposed in the past, and the negative feedback was enormous. This ties in with the 'Trailer Menace of 1935' ideas, as well.

Times change. Those who take their trailers into the back country... do not take your ability to travel and camp as a personal choice. When you least expect it, something may find itself into a bill that is passed, unknown to those not noticing.

National Parks may be forced more into Busing in tourists from designated parking lots... today. The crowds and traffic have become unmanageable. Be aware by inquiry. Some day we may find ourselves on the outside, looking in.

*******

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY

Santa Barbara, California
April 5, 1935
Dr. Haven Metcalf
Principal Pathologist in Charge
Division of Forest Pathology
Bureau of Plant Industry
Washington, D.C.

Dear Metcalf:

I enclose a carbon copy of a short paper entitled “The Trailer Menace” for your information and files. I am

sending one original directly to the Director of the Park Service, in view of the real urgency of the matter, and I am asking Mr. S.B. Show to send another one to the Forester. I am also sending a copy to the California State Park
Commission.

Between ourselves, all the governmental agencies who deal extensively in recreational matters should have seen this development coming long ago and should have established a definite policy in good time to ward off the coming danger. In fact, I have been waiting for more than a year for something of the kind. Now I think I shuld again start the ball rolling in the interest of forest protection and camp regulation.

Sincerely,
\s\

E.P. MEINECKE
Principal Pathologist.

Enclosure
COPY COPY COPY


April 1, 1935

The public agencies such as the Forest Service and State Park recreation on a large scale have, necessity of planning campgrounds and regulating their use in the interest and of preservation of public safety and good order. In consequence, camping has designated areas, and these areas are in of being laid out according to definite plans, making for the best utilization of space, for adequate protection of the vegetation, for convenience and safety of the campers and for the maintenance of the camp spirit as contrasted with city and town life. The decisive element was the fixation of individual camp sites and, within these, of the automobile. A definite piece of land was cut out of the camp site area and reserved for the parking of the automobile.

The automobile is the only feature in camp which is clearly still a part of city life. In itself it is an incon-gruous invasion of the wild. But, having become an indispensable necessity, it is to be considered as an unavoidable evil which, in the regulated camp, is made as inconspicuous as possible through screening. Frequently, the car is accompanied by a small trailer, containing accessories to camping, which finds its place in the spur provided for parking. Being of moderate dimensions and low in build it does not add materially to the unsightliness of the camp. But it does constitute, after the automobile, a second concession to convenience and comfort of the campers.

Within the last one or two years a new type of trailer has suddenly sprung up, of enormous proportions and outfitted luxuriously for actual living. No longer is the trailer merely a help to camping but it obviates camping altogether. It is truly a modern dwelling on wheels, a moving bungalow provided with beds, cooking stoves, sanitary equipment, running water, ice boxes and electric lights. Units costing as much as $5,000.00 are in circulation. In size they completely dwarf the automobile they are attached to. In the summer of 1934 a church on wheels made its appearance in Yellowstone National Park, thirty-three feet in length with corresponding height. One single unit of this size in a camp dominates with its bulk the entire campground. It can no longer be overlooked as a familiar and not too large an object like the average automobile. When there are two or more, the effect is heightened until the campground truly gives the appearance of ill kept city slums in which cabins and huts, of all colors and all designs, are scattered without order or plan and completely destroy the last vestiges of camp intimacy in the wild. From an esthetic viewpoint nothing worse could be imagined.

The most serious objections must be made on the grounds of forest protection. The larger the unit the more difficult
it is to handle and steer and the greater a menace it becomes to trees, shrubs and low vegetation. The obstacles which will effectively deter an automobile are of little hindrance to the large units. The crowding necessary to get a wheeled house into the restricted space of a camp site increases manifold the risks to the vegetation. Every increase in size of any of the main camp features, whether it be tables, tents, cooking places or car spurs, demands correspondingly deeper cutting into the forest. The large space needed for moving and parking of the house trailers makes necessary an inordinately heavy sacri-fice of the wild vegetation.

In the planned camp sites the Service provides certain con-veniences such as a place for cooking, table and tent space. Good economy indicates this best utilization of space. The wheeled house carries all these conveniences with it, thereby making useless the features offered without making them avail-able to other campers since the parking spur is occupied. An element of serious waste of Government investment is introduced.

The attached photographs give but a feeble idea of the threatening situation. The units depicted show but the beginning of what a highly specialized industry will bring forth in the future. The trailer types of 1934 were merely feelers sent out. They were still in the experimental stage. But the marked difference in quality between the first clumsy trailers of 1933 and the already much improved types of 1934 makes it certain that 1935 will show enormous advances. In numbers the use of trailer houses has gained alarmingly in 1934 over 1933 and show what one must expect of 1935 and later.

More and more these trailers are developing into Pullman cars. There is no thinkable reason why the very near future should not bring commercial enterprises, school and University parties housed in the most comfortable style into the Parks and Forests. The beginnings have already been made and have caused serious embarrassment to the Services involved, at least locally. There is further no reason why the truck type of Fig. 6 [sic] should not be mounted with Pullman equipment. Already there are 7-axle oil truck units on the highways. Two or three units of this traveling together must inevitably destroy all camp character and turn the woods into an industrial truck yard.

There are important sociological and economic angles to the matter. Not only are the legitimate campers robbed of what they have a good right to consider their privilege in the enjoyment of unspoiled natural surroundings but the and resort owners are seriously affected. The house trailer is naturally used over longer periods of time, during which its inhabitants live rent and tax free on Government Land. Not the least disadvantage introduced is the very serious road hazard. Even on the highway the obstructions of view ahead and often the holding up of traffic by commercial trucks are felt as a nuisance. On mountain and winding roads the danger is a real one.

The whole development has come so quickly and is growing so rapidly that neither Park nor Forest administrations have had time to cope with it adequately. All attempts so far have been temporary adjustments. There is no accepted policy of dealing with the menace. In some places the attempt was made to enlarge the parking spurs, thereby upsetting the economic utilization of space. Since the tourist desires to use his car for excursions whilst leaving the trailer house in camp it is necessary to back the cumbersome structure into the spur, with great difficulty and almost unavoidable damage to trees, shrubs and the trailer itself. To obviate this, some campgrounds are providing a camp site with what really amounts to a short side road leading through the camp site, entailing a dispropor-tionately great waste of space. A few adminstrators, sensing the incongruity of having these huge units placed in the grounds reserved for homely camping, have provided separate areas for them, an expedience which cuts further area out of the forest and which is applicable only where such space is available.

There can be no doubt that, unless some definite action, based on a sound policy, is taken in time, the very next years will bring about an intolerable situation which it will then be too late to mend. The policy of restricting camping to desig-nated campgrounds was timely. It has paid for itself amply in fire protection alone. The regulation of campgrounds now practised came one or two decades too late. For the absence of a campground policy the Government has had to pay heavily and it is not through paying. The trailer house menace is still in its infancy. It is at least thinkable that it might be stopped if quick action is taken.

There are two possibilities:- either the trailer houses are tolerated and accommodated or they are prohibited.

In the first case the results are a definite abandonment of the truly American ideal of the free enjoyment of forest and wilderness in simplicity and an invitation to bring the city into the woods. Of preservation in the state of nature there can be little left where a new type of city slums or suburban village with a floating population is establushed. The entire road policy must be adjusted to meet the new traffic hazard. Since it is obviously out of the question to let the house trailers stop where they like it will be necessary to provide
places for them. If this is done within established camps the waste of space entailed is hard to justify, leaving aside altogether
the esthetic depreciation of the camps, the antagonism set up in the legitimate campers and the vast increase in supervisorial liability.
Parks or Forests will have space available for separate units out of large enough to take care of villages on wheels and few will like to contemplate the duplication of improvements such as water and sanitation. Large clearings will have to be made, a further cut into the forest.

There remains the question whether this is not the time to stop the evil before it becomes firmly established and grows to intolerable proportions. There is no doubt that with every year of toleration it will become increasingly difficult to restrict the evil. The justification for keeping a highly objectionable and dangerous feature cut of Forests and Parks is not far to seek.

In both the National Parks and Forests as well as in State Parks the preservation of the Government’s assets comes first. Without it there is neither Park nor Forest. Both are open to the public for its enjoyment, not as abstract things but as part of the Nation’s heritage, rich in spiritual and emotional values. As far as the admission of the public does not impair or destroy these values it is welcome, and ample provisions are made for its convenience and comfort as well as for its safety. Any element which does not conform to the postulate
of preservation of the Nation’s assets is inimical and must be kept out. That part of the public which conforms to the principle of preservation of the Nation’s assets has a right to enjoy them unimpaired and has a right to protection of this enjoyment.

The difficulty in drawing the dividing line between one group of the public and another is only an apparent one. People who visit Forests and Parks must have shelter and food. Obviously, those who can live so simply that the assets are not, or little, impaired, conform most closely to the ideal for which both Parks and Forests are created, that of sound conservation. And they are the ones who go to the wilds as campers, satisfied with the simplest life and goad for the opportunity to live it.

On this basis a sharp line may be drawn between genuine campers and those who prefer city comforts. For the latter there is ample provision made in hotels, resorts and privately owned auto camps. Under this grouping an automobile with a trailer which contains merely accessories for camping would be admitted. The trailer in this case will never be unduly large. Trailers and units actually used for living and not for camping would be excluded.

Another line of division might be made on the basis of size of the trailer. One could think of restricting entrance to trailers smaller in all dimensions but width than the automobile itself. This would still leave untouched the possible develop-ment of one piece units into large living and cooking quarters.

Whatever policy may be adopted, there is no doubt that speedy decision is necessary. The summer of 1935 is going to show an immense increase in numbers and in size of house trailers, and it may be an act of justice to their users to settle their status before it is too late.

\s\

E.P. MEINECKE
Principal Pathologist




Photo appeared in the May 1972 Journal of Forestry article, "The Trailer Menace - A Voice from the Past," by E.P. Meinecke (excerpted from the original article), p. 281.
Photo appeared in the May 1972 Journal of Forestry article, "The Trailer Menace - A Voice from the Past," by E.P. Meinecke (excerpted from the original article), p. 281.
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Old 09-06-2017, 10:59 AM   #14
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The National Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management may have their complaints about the amount of the 'over use' of their campsites, most of these complaints may be self induced.

Maintenance is lacking: Wooden picnic tables are rotting without repairs.
Vegetation: Overgrown trees, bushes, weeds and under growth.
Fire Pits: Rusting. No place to dispose of ashes, melted beer bottles or aluminum cans.
Toilet Paper: Those without Pit Toilets have profuse Bush Toilets used by 'sensitive campers'
Trash: No trash cans. No problem. Dump into fire pits.
Drinking Water access: Hand pump installed in 1958. Oiled once in 1958.
Water quality: Checked in 1958. Forgotten about in 1959.
Signs: Wooden signs throughout west are rotting and in disrepair
Trees: Dead, beetle infected, overgrown into campsite, parking areas
Trees removed and cut into firewood do not exist. Can purchase from a Camp Host

Some National Monument and National Parks are reluctant to trim back the overgrowth for reasons unknown to me. Lake Mead National Recreation Area have campsites totally overgrown with planted bushes and trees that are untrimmed until the big wind remove branches and limbs to those campers below. (Living in Boulder City, Nevada experiences...) There are MORE armed National Park employees than service employees. Personal experience.

A lot of the responsibility of disrepair and upkeep is with the Government Agencies intended to maintain these sites. They cite lack of funding, yet the parking lots are full of employees in town. I have not encountered ONE NFS or BLM service vehicle in memory.

I encounter Game and Fish employees frequently. Different kind of employee who actually enjoy being out in the back country! Not office clerks with 9mm pistols.. maybe a 357 or 45 in bear country.

I did see many employed at National Park and National Monument sites at work in Colorado. They may be contract workers or government employees, I do not know. These sites were in excellent upkeep and the Toilet Pits were exceptionally clean and amply supplied with the narrow toilet tissue.

As an experienced outdoorsman and camper, there are plenty of citizens who abuse the privileges provided. They think nothing of dumping furniture, trash and building fire rings in the middle of the road. No enforcement of decency rules or customs.

One BLM campsite in Idaho, along a river, had the same camp host for 19 years. He was the one who planted trees and seeded the grass and, now, in his early 80's mowed with the riding lawn mower, but could not physically trim back the branches, brush nor maintain the premises. I took out my trimmers and cut back some brush for access into some campsites, as they were totally overgrown. I call these 'trailer scrappers'. I even offered if the Camp Host had a chainsaw, we would stay as long as needed to cut dead wood, low hanging branches... etc. Could not. The BLM did not allow it.

So... before getting timed out. I toss in this bit of sour milk for you to consider.
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