Hangers' Code of Conduct
Please forgive me if there is already a thread that discusses these matters.
After reading and contributing to the thread regarding interactions with park staff, I think it needs to be stated what exactly defines RESPONSIBLE hammock use; an agreed upon Code of Conduct that we all strive to follow and improve upon. If we can agree on what that is, we will be able to refer to it when working to get universal access for hammocks on all lands.
To start with, it has to be as short and simple as possible. I would recommend Five points, maximum. After that, I have to start using my other hand to help explain things and if its holding a cup of tea, I have to find a place to set it down...
So, I would humbly propose the following for your consideration:
1. Hammock users will always strive to leave the area they use as good or better than they found it, practicing Leave No Trace ethics at all times.
2. Hammock users will abide by all official regulations in force at any time regarding the use of hammocks, fire regulations, vehicles, noise and storage of food.
(Note the use of the term "official regulations". People can't make up their own rules if someone above them decides to allow something - like hangers - even if they personally don't approve of it.)
3. No limbs, branches or other vegetation, living or dead, will be removed in order to hang a hammock.
4. Load bearing ropes will NEVER be affixed directly to trees. Webbing straps will always be used to anchor, in order to distribute force to eliminate damage to the tree.
(Note the use of the term "load bearing ropes". The intent is to allow tarps suspensions and guy lines to be tied off directly, although I feel a single rope suspension anchored with webbing is a simpler distinction and does less damage. By the way, how wide a strap should we be using to minimize impact on treebark? 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1 1/2", 2"? half wrap, one wrap, two wraps?)
5. Only mature, securely rooted trees or posts with a minimum diameter of 6" at the anchor point will be used as anchors. Where suitable trees or posts of this size are not available, a number of trees with diameters that total at least 9" may be used for each anchor.
If I may make one further recommendation, in those places where the use of hammocks is specifically prohibited, even after a Code of Conduct has been put forward and rejected by officials, there is still a possibility that "hammock campsites" could be established by a group of volunteers who are committed enough to give their time to dig holes and sink dedicated posts into the ground specifically for the use of hammocks to anchor on. Eight posts, 15 feet apart, arranged in an octagon with a fire pit in the middle, would provide a significant amount of variety for dealing with winds and a nice social area dedicated to hangers. If nothing else, it would raise the profile of hangers in the park....
Please let us have this discussion, if it hasn't happened already.
JJ, I can't recall a proposal specifically outlining these 5 Rules but most hangers that I've had the pleasure of spending time with in the wood abide by all these precepts among many others. Here in Florida we are currently in a pilot program allowing hammocks in state parks and the feel is that so far it has been highly excepted by park officals. But then you are always going to have those few who don't know or don't care and a Code of Conduct will mean noting to them.
I hear what you're saying. And I remember when common sense was a lot more common than it is now....