P90519There happen to be quite a few campgrounds in the region, with one about a quarter of a mile upstream from where this picture was taken, and another less than three miles past that. Both are primarily used by school age children. The vast redwood forests with creeks flowing through are ideal for such campgrounds.
This is a campground too. I know it does not look like it. It is located between a creek and an industrial building, the eave of which is visible in the top right corner of the picture. The herd of dumpsters that is barely visible at the bottom of the picture might include a dozen dumpsters at at time. (I tried to get both the eave and the dumpsters in one picture.) There really are two rows of barbed wire on top of that fence behind the dumpsters.
Nonetheless, it is a campground. You see, individuals who lack adequate shelter occasionally camp on a flat spot next to the creek, right below the big cottonwood tree in the middle of the picture. It is not a big space, so can only accommodate one or maybe two people at a time. No one has been there for quite a while. Yet, on rainy days like today, it is saddening to imagine someone camping there, so close to inaccessible buildings.
Because the area is outside of landscaped areas, I do nothing to make it any more comfortable as a campground. I only cut away the limbs that fall onto the fence.
The trees are a mix of mostly box elders, with a few cottonwoods and willows, and even fewer alders, with one deteriorating old bigleaf maple. They concern me. Box elders, cottonwoods and willows are innately unstable. All but bigleaf maple are innately structurally deficient. Although bigleaf maple should innately be both stable and structurally sound, the particular specimen in this situation is in the process of rotting and collapsing.
I really do not mind if limbs or entire trees fall into the forested riparian zone. If they fall outward, they do not damage the dumpsters. Only the fence needs to be repaired. What worries me are the potential residents of the campground. Part of my work is to inspect trees for health, stability and structural integrity, and if necessary, prescribe arboricultural procedures to make them safe. I just can not do that here.

UPDATE: Just after this article posted at midnight, a very big box elder off to the right of those in the picture fell with a loud but quick crash. It was probably the biggest and most deteriorated of the box elders in this area, and pulled completely out of the ground to reveal that the roots were so decayed, that none stayed attached to the stump. Seriously, you should see the pictures when they get posted next Sunday.

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6 thoughts on “Campground

  1. Homelessness is rife no matter where you are. There are tent camps in city parks in Washington, D.C., and bridges that serve as shelter. Some people live in large bushes or in the woods along the river. I remember once searching out what I thought might be a fire in the woods and finding a man by a camp fire. A group at my church feeds people a couple times a week–sandwiches, fruit, chips, drink, something sweet. It’s good you know about this camping place and can try to keep it safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, this is certainly no designated camp site. It is just a spot that people seem to find while looking for a flat place along the creek. No one bothers them there. Haters who stalk them are not welcome and likely to get chased off.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. An update was just added. Just a few minutes after the article posted at midnight, what might have been the biggest of the box elders fell. It happened to be the only of the trees on the inside of the fence, so although right next to the fence, did not damage it. Unfortunately, it landed on redwood lumber that was loosely stacked to dry, so a few bits were broken. No one was out there at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

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