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  1. #11
    Senior Member grok's Avatar
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    It would never have occured to me that hanging away from a shelter on the AT would be against the rules. I read this on some thread the other day. People were feeding the bears. I guess there is a reason for everything. Unless you're a UPS man heh heh!

  2. #12
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    I have camped in areas that were not supposed to be camped in before. A couple of them was we were backpacking in a state park and we just picked a weekend when there were masses of people there. Every one of the designated camp sites was occupied, as well as the areas surrounding the designated camp sites. We really didn't have a choice and as it was we shared camp with a few other groups. We had a lot of fun and everyone else around enjoyed camp too, but none of us were technically "supposed" to be there. Another one was we were hiking at about 2am on an unfamiliar trail and we just found a spot.

    I think if you can camp responsibly, regardless of whether you classify that as LNT, stealth, what have you, then it isn't "bad". If you camp and don't take care of your camp then its a problem because of what you leave behind or damage for others to discover. Unfortunately, the latter of the groups are what spoil things for the rest of us.

  3. #13
    Senior Member ice man's Avatar
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    in most National Forests it's referred to as "Dispersed" camping. While doing so in the Black Hills, I have been confronted and agressively interrogated by an extremely beligerant forest service law enforcement officer and accused of "squatting" in the national forest. After this confrontation I make a habit of carrying my last pay stub and a summary of vacation time issued by my personnel office. The only conclusion to be had is that I wasn't far enuf out in the woods to avoid ALL the jerks. Most of them are too lazy to go very far off the trails.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Rob3E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
    What is "technically" illegal?

    The adage is "reputation is what you do when someone is watching, character is what you do when no one is watching."

    For some "stealth" blatantly means nothing more than knowingly and intentionally camping illegally. For others, "stealth" means something akin to "leave no trace."

    Rain Man

    .
    I think "stealth camping" and "leave no trace" are separate things entirely although there is room for overlap. To me, stealth camping means that you don't intend for anyone to know you're camping. I expect generally this is because you are camping in a place that you know is unacceptable or because you are camping in an area that may be unacceptable. On hiking trails it's often non-designated spots. In bicycle touring it's often finding a convenient spot off the road to spend the night. Sometimes it's clearly illegal because of posted signs and/or laws on the books. But a random bit of land off the road with no nearby houses and no signs? I don't know. Presumably someone owns it and would be within their rights to forbid you to camp there, but if they haven't forbidden you to camp there, is it still illegal? Seems a little vague, but in that case it seems like stealth camping would be an attempt to not be asked to leave the property and therefor not be flagrantly trespassing.

    It may be a matter of semantics or of the wording of the law. Is trespassing being on property against the owner's orders or without the owners consent? I talked to a person who owned a bit of land near where I grew up. I grew up knowing it as a place people liked to fish, but never heard a thing about the owners until I met one 10+ years later and 4 states away. They said they didn't care at all that people fished in their pond, but they did care that some people used their outdoor furniture for target practice. So it seems that my father, who liked to fish in that pond, but never took firearms there, had the owners' blessing, but not the owners' permission. Trespassing? I don't know. But when I think "stealth camping" that's the kind of issues I think of: You don't want someone to know you're there because you might be asked to leave. Whether or not it's illegal probably depends on the mind of the property owner, which is hard to ascertain if there are no signs and you're just looking for a place to sleep after a long day's travel.

    "Leave no trace," on the other hand, is more of an environmental philosophy. A smart stealth camper might want to "leave no trace" because they don't want people to be on the lookout for stealth campers, or they don't want to give property owners good cause to put up fences or "No Trespassing" signs. To me, if the reasons aren't about preserving natural resources, then the person is not a "leave no trace" camper, even if they do, in fact, leave no trace. That's not to say that you can't be both a stealth camper and a leave no trace camper (who presumably endeavors to leave no trace even when they're not stealth camping). And you could also stealth camp and leave a mess behind. And shoot the patio furniture full of holes. It's just not necessarily a good idea.

    And, of course, hammock camping is ideal for both. Small and easy to go unnoticed in a wood make it a good stealth camping choice, and having no ground tarp means minimal meddling with the existing flora and fauna, making it a great leave no trace option as well.

  5. #15
    Senior Member justradar's Avatar
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    how do you know where it's permissible to backpack and where it's not?

    for example, in the columbia river gorge (Oregon side) ... some trails are designated as "backpackable" in books or on hiking websites and some other trails that are only a few miles away are not labelled as "backpackable"

    is this simply because there aren't easy to use, pre-designated campsites with cleared flat ground and a fire ring?

    i'm not familiar with the general laws on this ... and now being new to hammocking, it has really opened up the places where i can setup camp. what's the best way to learn about these laws?

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by justradar View Post
    how do you know where it's permissible to backpack and where it's not?

    for example, in the columbia river gorge (Oregon side) ... some trails are designated as "backpackable" in books or on hiking websites and some other trails that are only a few miles away are not labelled as "backpackable"

    is this simply because there aren't easy to use, pre-designated campsites with cleared flat ground and a fire ring?

    i'm not familiar with the general laws on this ... and now being new to hammocking, it has really opened up the places where i can setup camp. what's the best way to learn about these laws?
    Dispersed camping is allowed everywhere within National Forests, except at day use and pay-site areas, or any place posted No Camping. Usually City and State Parks disallow dispersed camping, as do Army Corps of Engineer lands (although some do have pay sites). Fires may be allowed only at certain times of year. Certainly, if you're camping somewhere you're not supposed to, the best way to find out is to start a fire... A ranger or State Police officer will be by shortly to inform you of your error.

  7. #17
    Senior Member justradar's Avatar
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    thanks, JB, i appreciate the response.

    funny about making a fire to see if you're allowed to be there or not

  8. #18
    kayak karl's Avatar
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    basically this has nothing to do with hammocking. its the camping (tent, hammock or cowboy) that is illegal in some areas. its not a fine line, its ILLEGAL. if you choose to break the law, be prepared to pay the fine. (in NJ in some areas it exceeds $5000). start a fire and you'll do time also
    "Tenting is equivalent to a bum crawling into a cardboard box, hammocking is an art" KK

  9. #19
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    IMO, "stealth camping" simply means to camp without being seen. The legalities of it are a component of stealth camping, but not it's definition. For example, I often stealth camp in a perfectly legal manner off of busy trails. It just means I don't want company, so I camp in a place and a manner that will not alert other hikers in the area to my presence. The result is a peaceful evening of solitude, which is a huge part of why I hike. I'm not camping where I'm not supposed to and my primary concern is not environmentalism, it's privacy.

    "Smoking" is not illegal, only smoking certain things in certain parts of the country is it considered illegal. My grandpa used to "smoke" turkeys for the county Sheriff, never once got a ticket for it. Stealth camping isn't much different in my mind, it all depends on where and why it's being done.

    Yes, I've camped illegally. Probably not for the last time either, but I don't think it's right to assign guilt to a term that is used so generally.
    Trust nobody!

  10. #20
    dkperdue's Avatar
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    Why not call the ranger stations in charge of where you will be?

    Be polite, ask all the questions you want to see how ameneable they will be to your plans (And use a fake name in case you need to plead ignorance later!!).

    Also find out the specifics about fires / stoves, etc.

    When we were stationed in Spain there was a fire ban by royal decree. There were two days left on the time period specified in the King's decree, it had poured buckets for a week and the Spanish wankers in charge of the base where we were doing a Scout activity would not let us have a fire.
    DKPerdue

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