I haven't had a problem yet, but even when camping with my popup, I see more and more people just doing stupid things. The closer you are to a larger population it seems the aggressive nature of the camp hosts and rangers have. Rightfully so for the most part. I think of it like a cop, day in and day out they deal the dredges that we work to stay away from, and if we think it has no effect on their reactions to us, then we would be wrong. I try to cut them some slack for it, but always make the case that they need to understand the word "differentiate". I remind them that I am the good guy...and that they provide a public service which we all pay for and they tend to forget.
There will always be disrespectful stupid people and they unfortunately are growing faster than ever. I live up north for a reason, after living among them, but the plague of stupidity has a direct effect on how we are seen and treated by rangers and hosts who likely just got done dealing with some other moron who puts eye bolts in trees, or some other family who is drunk and obnoxious or running their generator all day.
I have not had any problems with rangers at any state, national forest ect. in NC. Did have the park ranger at Mt Pisgah along the Blue Ridge Parkway put down I was a tenter when I was checking in. So far I have only found one NC state park that allows camping where you can not hang and that is due to a lack of trees.
Only problem I have ever seen was with a camp ground host and it nothing to do with hammocks. Folk at the SC Fall sprawl last year will remember that one (the shower police episode).
Rev won over the park rangers at the SC Fall Sprawl by donating the procedes from the raffle to the park. At the Grayson Fall Hang, the procedes of the raffle were donated to the Friends of Grayson (I believe that was their name) and both parks now love hangers.
Grayson State Park even donated the group camp site to us last year and in turn we did a live hammock demo at the festival being held at the park to "pay" for the use of the group camp site. (You mean we can camp for free if we set up our hammocks, well...we will think about it)
Never had trouble with hammock camping in SC, NC, KY, GA, MO that I remember, but I didn't stop and ask. Most of the camping was backpacking, not in a campground.
That being said, I have had "run-ins" with rangers. Seems like they have bad days just like everyone else. Most of the time they are good folks interested in why I would want to hang instead of of tenting it.
Never had any problems in parks in Ontario, though our hammocks were the reason for my one and only visit from a ranger.
We were camping at a drive/hike-in site on Basin lake on the south-east side of Algonquin Park. When we got our permits at nearby Bonnechere Park and were asked our tent colours, we said green hammocks and got a giggle from the front desk staff.
About an hour after setting up, as we're gathering up some firewood, who comes on down the trail but a ranger. Said he'd heard on the radio that a couple of guys were using hammocks and made the 30-45 minute drive into the park to check them out! Had a nice chat and he was on his way.
Only run-in I ever had with a Ranger wasn't hammock related either. On my last hang at Zaleski a group had been ATVing in a ton of gear and wood on an access road up to the campsites, backpacking sites. Had no idea he was there, was asking a fellow hanger to look at my suspension while he was there, from inside my hammock and tarp. Turns out it wasn't my hangin' buddy but a park ranger with an assault rifle. He asked if we were part of the group with the ATV's and if we'd registered. Told him No Sir and Yes Sir and he told us to have a nice night as he went to go lay down the law.
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I have not had any problems using hammocks in Shenandoah National Park or the George Washington National Forest (northern sections). Not sure about the SNP camping areas because all my trips have been backcountry camping.
I have heard that Prince William Forest has changed their rules and now allow hammocks with 1.5" tree straps. I need to actually call the rangers and verify that.
I understand that the fledgling hammock community is in a critical situation that requires a delicate foot print (or their lack of). It would appear that many of the socialites of Hammock Forums are in a prime position to skillfully represent hammock camping and its interests.
I feel that it is important to put ourselves in the shoes of park care takers when talking to them. I can only imagine the stuff these folks have to put up with on a day to day basis, and here we come along with a new fangled requests. I think I’m going to develop a little script that I get to play out when I’m talking to them, something perhaps like “I’m a hammock camper. As you probably know we tend to be conservation minded campers, who often use webbing to protect the trees and leave a minimal foot print under the hammock compared to tent users.” At this point I might hand over the reins to them “Do you have any advice regarding where we can camp? Thank you for your time.”.
I have had a few chances to talk to BC Canada park care takers, about the use of hammocks, and from what I can remember they have been receptive. I would like to maintain a healthy relationship with park care takers. So that when legislation is implemented it is constructive and collaborative due to good experiences, as opposed to restrictive due to bad impressions.
The experience with parks that most people see revolves around campgrounds. It just about kills me when I see people "camping" out of a 40 foot RV or motorhome complete with stereo and enough "campfire" furniture to hold an impromptu session of the UN. When these people "improve" their campsites with nails, ropes, tarps and even backyard hammocks with rope to tree suspension, there seems always to be damage done to the area. This, in large part I believe, is why hammocks have been banned in some parks.
Fortunately, we have this forum and an enlightened group of manufacturers and participants who have a duty to educate the public, park staff and their political masters about the environmental benefits of RESPONSIBLE hammocking. So, let's all set a good example and use reason when working with park staff. If they tell you that hammocks aren't allowed, don't be afraid to politely ask them where it says that and why that is. Chances are many of the park staff that disallow hammocks do so without benefit of any official policy and are using their personal experience and whatever discretion their position allows them. Rather than just assume you can't change their mind, you can agree with them by saying something like "Yup, in the old days a lot of damage was done out of ignorance but now hammocks use tree huggers rather than rope to tie off to trees...." and give them a demonstration. If nothing else, you will have given them something to think about. If they don't change their mind, thank them for their time, get their name and include it in the letter you MUST write to the Park Superintendant and the Ministry/Department responsible for that park, telling them about your experience and why modern hammock users are lower impact than tenters. We need to be polite but insistent AND we need to walk the talk....really, REALLY strive to Leave No Trace.
I haven't tried to hang in a lot of different state parks but one very near my home allows you to hang a hammock, even the ones with ropes but will not allow you to sleep in one. They contend that it is NOT a "Camping Unit". Go figure.
Last edited by southmark; 03-10-2013 at 15:55. Reason: sp