Double Cone Quarterly
Spring Equinox 2002 -- Volume V, Number 1

Past Times
"Campers Should Think of the Others"

by David Rogers

On Friday, July 28, 1916 the following article appeared in both the Salinas Daily Index and the Monterey American. The articles differed only in minor edits and their titles; in the American the caption was "Monterey National Forest Notes," while in the Index it was "Campers Should Think of the Others." In the Index the article also included the subtitle "Monterey National Forest Service on the Purity of Water" and the post mark: "King City, July 27."


Campers Should Think of the Others.

King City, July 27. Now that so many campers go into the mountains for their vacation campers should know that the bureaus of the federal and state governments, either by themselves or in cooperation with water companies, are working hard to safeguard the purity of the streams.

One often hears an excuse for pernicious stream pollution the old saying that "running water purifies itself." It may be true that nature constantly purifies herself and that only man is vile, but science has shown that while running water often clears itself, yet it does not quickly purify itself of germs such as those of typhoid fever and other diseases, but on the contrary the very travel of the water may serve to carry danger of infection a long distance beyond the source of contamination. Science has also shown that light and quiescence are more potent factors in purifying water than mere motion. For this reason water is often stored in reservoirs before being distributed.

The camper going into the mountains now goes for pleasure or for health, hence his first care must be to avoid marring either of these. He must keep his drinking water pure from camp refuse. He can best find out how to do this by sending for Special Bulletin No. 10 "Sanitation in the Mountains" issued free of charge by the California State Board of Health at Sacramento.

The camper does not always realize how far reaching a little carelessness may be. C. C. Olmstead, superintendent of the Monterey County Water Works at Pacific Grove, in discussing the problem with H. G. Merrill, supervisor of the Monterey National Forest, recently said: "If the man who lives or camps along the stream would only think of the fellow farther down, it would go a long way toward solving the problem."

Now in the case of the Carmel River, for instance, "the fellow farther down" embraces the entire population of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel and all the adjacent territory served by the Monterey County Water Works. Olmstead's remark, therefore, applied to the Carmel River, has a wider meaning than is apparent at first glance. The same conditions apply to many other streams.

Within the Monterey National Forest, where the Carmel rises, the forest service and the water company cooperate to safeguard the purity of the headwaters of the Carmel. Elsewhere the company also takes vigorous measures for the same purpose.

All persons who live or camp along streams are urged to read the special bulletin on sanitation in the mountains and to remember Olmstead's dictum, "think of the fellow farther down."