December 21, 2017, marked the winter solstice. For me, this is the time I start to think and plan for the upcoming year as our days will become longer.

As many of you may have heard, for the 2018 camping season, we are looking for a new concessionaire to operate Loggers Lake Campground.

If you are not familiar with what a concessionaire does at a Forest Service Campground, think of it as a business opportunity to operate your own campground. In a nutshell, the Forest Service will entertain your business proposal to operate the campground.

Thomas Haines

To cite you two examples:

Proposal #1: I will collect all of the camping fees and keep all the monies and will not be onsite. The Forest Service will mow, clean toilets, clean fire rings and pick up litter.

Proposal #2: I will collect all of the camping fees and return 100 percent of the fees to the Forest Service. I will be onsite 24/7. I will also mow, clean toilets, clean fire rings and pick up litter.

OK, all kidding aside, somewhere between these two proposals there may be an agreement.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a concessionaire for Loggers Lake Campground, please call the office at 573-729-6656. We would like to hold a meeting in mid-January where we can address any questions you might have about this business opportunity.

On to another topic. I was driving to work the other day, and the car in front of me flipped a lit cigarette out the window. All I could think of was, that lit cigarette could have set the ditch line on fire, burn over someone’s pasture or woodlot and burn down someone’s home. All because of this thoughtless action.

We are in a very serious drought here in Missouri. We don’t want to be like California and have people lose their homes and livelihood because of a wildfire. Please be careful with your burn piles, burn barrels and cigarettes.

To help protect your home from wildfires you may also want to Google — www.firewise.org/ — to learn how you can build a “defendable space” around you home.

Some of these ideas are as simple and cheap to accomplish, such as not stacking your firewood next to your home, raking the leaves off of your roof and cleaning out your gutters.

(Thomas Haines is district ranger for the Mark Twain National Forest, Salem Ranger District. He can be reached at 573-729-6656 or tehaines@fs.fed.us.)