Oral Histories

Kent & Fern Frost


Kent & Fern Frost

F: They’re just gonna have to limit the amount of people that goes in there.

Q1: Well, that’s part of the purpose of the plan is to try to find some way to limit the numbers so it’s not so crowded down there.

F: So many vehicles or something or…

Q1: So you’re in favor of trying to limit numbers then, or…?

F: I am.

K: Yes, I would think so.

F: We were the lucky ones. We just didn’t have anybody there. We just went. I wouldn’t have liked to be there now. Too many people.

K: Well, that bunch from Arizona that we were traveling with last spring. We’d been to Baja on four different trips with them. And, anyway, they just like to go jeeping some place. But they don’t care much about seein’ the country, not really.

F: Yeah, a portion of ‘em, but not all of ‘em.

K: I’m embarassed the way they leave their camps, the great big piles of ashes layin’ around and stuff like that. Of course, they gather in wood about twice what they need and then they try to burn it all too before they leave. They don’t leave a clean camp like they should do.

Q1: Well, your camp there at Red Cove looked pretty clean…Range Canyon.

K: Well, yeah, we camped at Range Canyon. Well, I kept after ‘em tellin’ ‘em to keep things clean around here. And I said, “Now don’t pour your damn coffee grounds in the fire. Let the fire burn up till it makes ashes and it’ll blow away instead of leaving all that charcoal floatin’ around and things like that I’d tell ‘em about.

F: Kent, he’d camp and you never knew anybody’d camped there in a couple of days. He always build a fire in a wash and he never used any more wood than what he needed, and let it burn out so he didn’t have coals to cover and all that stuff. And then I’ve seen him go around pickin’ up cigarette butts that people had throwed out. He says, “I know that I’m gonna be back here to camp again,” and he says, “I have to have a clean camp.” So I seen him keep it clean.

K: Well, at that time, we’d only used the same place maybe two or three times a year, you know, or something and it didn’t get overused like they do when they use ‘em every day and so we didn’t use the same spots.

F: Never cover up the fire with ashes. It’s there forever.

K: Well, yeah, they told us, oh well, they don’t want to start a forest fire. And then they didn’t look around to see the rocks. They couldn’t burn ‘em very good either or they wouldn’t say that. But anyway, that’s what they’re taught in the scout troops and everything. And they don’t have to be so particular where there’s not a lot of trees. But, anyway, the cowboys in that Salt Creek and a lot of other places they used to set the sagebrush on fire so they could get through with their pack animals. And then the other kind of food that come up the cows’d eat better too where they’d burn it off. And then the early cowboys down on this Dark Canyon mesa, they’d ride along with a match and they’d strike them as they went through these thick pinon forests trying to get them to burn up and make a lot better vegetation for their stock after they burnt the trees off.

Q1: Well, how should we be trying to keep down the numbers in the Park?

K: Well, that’s a good question. I guess just let ‘em have a permit and limit the number of days they can stay there, I guess.

Q1: No easy answers. Too many problems.

F: Too many people..(fades out)..can’t help that.

K: Well that book, the original title of it was My Canyonlands- I Had the Freedom of It. But anyway the publisher decided to leave off the last half of that.

F: That and the inside.

K: Yeah

Q2: Well I think one of the problems was that when you guys were out there, information was really scarce and you were explorers and finding all this out on your own, but if you look now so much information has been published. So there’s…

F: We’re to blame. We’re to blame for that whole thing. We used to advertise like you wouldn’t believe. And we charged $25 a day per person to go on a camping trip. And we furnished all the food, the camping gear, the transportaion, and the guide service for $25 a day.

K: Well, that was before inflation come along.

Q1: So when you guys went out there, did you jump off from Hanksville, gas up and all that stuff? What about Hite? Did you gas up at Hite too?

F: Well, got some gas at Hite from Chaffin when there was a ferry.

K: Well, yeah, there was five of them jeep cans that’d just set in the back part of them little jeeps. And so we’d have two or three of ‘em full of gas and two of ‘em full of water. And that would take us quite a ways but they only had a ten gallon tank on them little jeeps and it seems like they were always running out of gas. Down at Salt Creek there was a drilling outfit down there that left a barrel of diesel fuel, was about three-fourths full of diesel fuel, when they moved out and it set there for three or four months where they’d left it. So I loaded that on my jeep one day and took it up there just at the entrance to Salt Creek. And the willows and tamarisk were only about this high at the time and a lilttle cottonwood tree there. And I backed over there and I rolled that out by that little cottonwood tree and kind of sat it on an angle so that the water wouldn’t run it around the sides of the plugs. And anyway, whenever I was down in that country and real low on gas I’d get some out of that barrel and mix it about half and half with my gasoline and then I could run on back out to Monticello with what I had left. And that saved me a lot of times from running out of gas and finally I used all the whole thing up.

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