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  1. #21
    Senior Member G.L.P.'s Avatar
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    i think this comes down to planning your hike ahead of time...if you know your not going to be able to do the amount of miles needed to make it to the next camping area maybe you should not do the hike.....
    hike on another trail that will let you camp where ever you like
    it's different if your hurt or something went wrong and you need to stop for the night ... but to plan on camping illegally ahead of time is wrong

    camping illegally without knowing is one thing
    camping illegally and knowing you are is another thing .... stuff like that is what gives hikers a bad name if you ask me

    don't forget it's stuff like this that will give reason to close down a trail or a park .... and don't have too many left
    It puts the Underquilt on it's hammock ... It does this whenever it gets cold

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by G.L.P. View Post
    i think this comes down to planning your hike ahead of time...if you know your not going to be able to do the amount of miles needed to make it to the next camping area maybe you should not do the hike.....
    hike on another trail that will let you camp where ever you like
    it's different if your hurt or something went wrong and you need to stop for the night ... but to plan on camping illegally ahead of time is wrong

    camping illegally without knowing is one thing
    camping illegally and knowing you are is another thing .... stuff like that is what gives hikers a bad name if you ask me

    don't forget it's stuff like this that will give reason to close down a trail or a park .... and don't have too many left
    This is nonsense. Laws against camping are simply stupid laws. No one but the stupid lawmakers should be blamed for them. The reason it's stupid is that it makes broad and false assumptions. Sure, perhaps clearing brush, packing the earth, and littering should be illegal, but camping does not, necessarily, include these undesireable activities. By making camping illegal, you are denying people their rights to (respectfully) use public lands. It's just like the laws that make owning various pocket knives illegal. It denies people's rights and that's just wrong. It should certainly be illegal to stab people, but making it illegal to own any kind of knife is just plain stupid. I mention this because I know that a lot of campers/bushcrafters carry (perfectly harmless) knifes that just so happen to be illegal to carry in their states. The solution is not to modify our behavior, which is within our constitutional rights, but to instead work to correct the injustices created by the lawmakers, judges, and politicians.

  3. #23
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    Folks, we need to focus this thread on the specifics of hammock camping either stealthily or off-trail, rather than debating laws at large.

    Those laws vary widely from state to state, as does the enforcement. What applies in one area might not in another. Arguments are moot.
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  4. #24
    Senior Member Law Dawg (ret)'s Avatar
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    Seems to me that if you are located, you are not stealth camping. At least you are not doing it well enough. Check with local law enforcement to get the inside tip on what is legal. Often LEOs will use common sense before taking action for "illegal" actions (depending on what they are). To that end communication skills, manners, and forrest craft ability will carry you far.

    As to trails with allowed camps set far apart etc; I am disabled (soon to be retired because of it) and refuse to let that stop me from enjoying the outdoors. If some faceless bureaucrat decides I must hike 30 miles or not camp (or any other arbitrary set of rules designed to limit my ability to enjoy public land)...well call me a scofflaw, I don't care, I'm going stealth. Non-public land is another story entirely. Even then I have found a kind word to the owner often works well.
    Mark is the name and If there is more than one way to understand what I just said....I meant the good one.

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  5. #25
    Captn's Avatar
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    I have stealth camped for years ..... Usually because I get caught on the trail when night falls ....

    Pitch your hammock and be packed and back on the trail before sun up ...

    I'd rather face a judge and pay the fine rather than risk my neck on a rugged trail after dark.

    No fire, no food at camp .... Eat before stopping, breakfast down the trail.
    Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage
    William Shakespeare


    "Insert witty and intelligent statement here"

  6. #26
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    Last weekend was my first hang. As a newbie it was follow the crowd on the first night. The second night it was my pleasure to pick the second hang for a bunch that didn't care where they hung. Legal/ illegal didn't matter, we were tired. We were in site of a road and I challange anyone to find where we were hanging. It's all about maintaining a low profile and LNT.
    Most of us end up poorer here but richer for being here. Olddog, Fulltime hammocker, 365 nights a year.

  7. #27
    New Member UberSquid's Avatar
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    I appreciate everyones feedback. Personally, I'm still really struggling with this issue.

    Part of me says that if I can't manage the mileage between camp sites then I need to just stick to other trails that will allow me to camp legally.

    On the other hand, I do a lot of hunting and I know that a majority of the land owners down here don't care if I'm crossing their property lines to retrieve game or get out. If I needed to spend the night in the woods for what ever reason no one would be upset if I were in their woods, probably just worried that I was too cold and offer breakfast! But if I were to break that trust and start hunting on someone else's property without clearing it then I would be in a lot of trouble! (And not the kind that people call the police for...)

    I've also tossed up an impromptu camp in state forest areas that aren't approved for camping, knowing that no one is ever going to find me or even care that I'm there over night. I've had conservation officers tell me that if I need to spend the night in an undesignated area its no big deal as long as I'm not setting out to make a habit of it.

    I guess if I get stuck, I get stuck and have to stop but otherwise, for now, I'll concentrate on increasing my mileage and save the longer trails until I can cover the distance needed or find alternate routs. Maybe one day the Hoosier Hiking Council will secure enough area on the trail for us to be able to camp at reasonable intervals. It's just unfortunate that until then through hiking becomes a sketchy, if not criminal, affair.

  8. #28
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    "No Camping" is pretty clear. Areas that limited camping to designated spots usually have some leeway. As posted early check with the local official. Sometimes things happen and you just cannot get to or find an open designated site. At least hammock camping below the treeline gives you bit more flexibility. My view of stealth camping is setting up camp in areas where camping is permitted, but far off trail and trying to adhere to the highest level of leave no trace behind practice.

    Earlier someone commented about no dogs allowed. There are multiple reasons for some areas to ban dogs. Look at the consequences that one dog has had on the wolf population of Isle Royale.
    Noel V.

  9. #29
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    In Mammoth Cave NP camping is allowed only at designated sites if you are hiking. However if you are canoeing/kayaking/boating the river you are allowed to camp anywhere "along floodplains."

    So it seems to me that a whole new area of camping possibilities is opened up just by virtue of your mode of conveyance.

    Now to the hammocking aspect so as to keep this on the overall topic. The "designated" sites are often beaten down, horse trodden, trashed, and otherwisde unsightly, not to mention designed for tents with few no trees within the camping "footprint." With my new found fondness of hammocking I can make camp anywhere suitable attachment points are found. I can wake up to some truely stunning vistas or completely lose myself in the backest (yeah I made that word up) of backcountry.

    I purposely chose my gear to have neutral tones so as to blend into the woods and not be seen. Not that I am necessarily aiming to go break laws, but don't put it past me to entitle myself to the same liberties afforded other campers. Especially if I am to do a little hiking and fishing both.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by UberSquid View Post
    I live in Southern Indiana where we have some excellent longer trails available. We have the 42 mile Tecumseh Trail and the longer Knobstone trail. The only problem is that there are limited camping areas along some of the trails. I was reading a trail guide, that will be left unnamed, that suggested some people choose to use camping areas that are technically illegal to camp in. While the odds of being caught and fined are few I'm not a big fan of intentionally misusing public hiking areas.

    Anyone else have this issue? Anyone ever camped in areas not designated as legal camping areas?

    I have not been on the Tecumseh trail yet, however I did do a loop of Spurgeon hollow a couple of weeks ago. I think I am familiar with the guide you are mentioning if you are referencing the one that has the "unofficial" established campsite for Knobstone.

    Knobstones backcountry camping policy is 1 mile by trail from any roads rec areas, and trailheads, and you must be out of site of the trail everywhere else.

    There are of course many "established" campsites well within these boundaries. You can not miss them.

    I called and spoke with one of the rec areas (deam I think) and they had advised that if they even check on you when camping within the "no camping" areas, they would only ask you to move on to an allowed camping area. Given the amount of established sites within the restricted areas, and the amount of quad damage, I doubt they even have a presence on the trail.

    The only areas I see an issue with camping would be along the narrow corridors where private land buts against the trail. From what I can read from the pretty nice map you can get from the DNR, those areas are worse near the Oxley Trail head (north and south), Leota, and just east of New Chapel.

    However per Indiana Code 35-43-2-2 the land has to be posted and or the owners have to have given you prior warning for it to be considered trespassing. Just read the code for yourself and know what the law says about it. Worse case is that they can ask you to pack up and leave.

    I would not say any of the wild camping sites are "illegal" just not allowed, with the exception of private property.

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