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  1. #21
    New Member buddha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snarlbuckle View Post
    It just irritated us to see so many people leaving trash involving soda cans, charcoal, food scraps, red solo cups, broken beer bottles, plastic bags, snack wrappers, and even toilet paper.
    Don't forget the poopy pampers. That is always a reminder, now matter how remote a campsite, that there's no place like "home". Blahhh.

  2. #22
    Senior Member ibgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snarlbuckle View Post
    I just recently came home from an overnight camping trip at a state park. This post is going to be long and may ruffle some feathers, but I'll sum it up by saying that state parks and hammock campers are often at odds, which is sad because hammock campers and backpackers are often the ones who Leave No Trace. As a result, my wife and I have all but given up on state parks in favor of national parks.

    The Story:
    Yesterday my wife and I packed our rucks with some new gear and headed out to try camping in colder weather than we had ever attempted before. Coincidentally, I had just come across a bunch of multicam gear that I wanted to test out in addition to the new cold weather gear.

    We found a local state park and headed out to set up camp. When we got there, we found that all of the primitive sites (enough room for 36 people) were grouped into one site as far as reservations were concerned, and that all of the campsites at that state park were filled. That sucks, but I guess it was our fault for not calling ahead and reserving a spot. So we found another state park not quite an hour away and headed over there instead. We were lucky that they had an 'RV/Tent' camping site available, so we took what we could get.

    We of course need trees to set up our hammocks, so we found an open campsite and set up our hammocks just inside the treeline no more than 50 feet away from the campsite. This is where we start to have a problem. There are electrical hookups, water pumps, fire pits, grills, trash cans, picnic tables, and giant concrete slabs for RV, car, and tent campers. But the park rangers often take issue when we hang our hammocks from trees (even when using tree straps and LNT methods).

    What really gets us though is that the parks put an incredible amount of effort into accommodating the hordes of people who make a huge mess of the area and generally show no respect for nature. Then we come and set up a campsite that people often can't even see from 50' away and without fail we have to explain ourselves every single time a park official actually does find us.

    It just irritated us to see so many people leaving trash involving soda cans, charcoal, food scraps, red solo cups, broken beer bottles, plastic bags, snack wrappers, and even toilet paper. Even worse was the impression that they weren't as interested in the outdoors as much as hotdogs, beer, iPads, and climate control inside of vehicles. To me it looked more like everyone was tailgating, not camping. I even stepped on a broken beer bottle, which would have been a serious problem if I had been wearing sandals or no shoes at all like so many kids at these places.

    My point here is that there is a very common and irresponsible type of 'camping' that is considered the norm, and that people who are truly out to enjoy nature (especially those using a hammock) don't seem to be welcome in our state parks.

    As a result, we've deiced to lean more toward the national parks or state parks with good primitive sites instead of supporting the ones that encourage tailgating.

    I've attached a few pictures below as an example of how we reduce the visual signature of our campsite. I've also attached a picture of some trash we found on the ground in the treeline about 10 feet away from where we hung our hammocks. We aren't the only ones who stray off the beaten path a bit, but at least you can't tell where we've been.
    You make very good point. You should print this and send it to the superintendent of the park you were at and another copy to the director of state parks.

    Gary, retired California state park superintendent.

  3. #23
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    Snarl, you mentioned that one of your remaining options was national parks, but I've experienced problems there as well. Here in California at Joshua Tree Nat'l Park they won't even let you hang a lightly-loaded clothesline from their precious trees. I know because a ranger politely but firmly told me to take mine down once. I decided not to test his patience by asking how I was supposed to dry my socks and underwear. He'd likely have had a fit if I tried to hang a hammock!

    Oh and congrats on the WBBB multicam! I almost ordered one but opted for a slightly lighter 1.1 Double. I still think the multicam looks awesome.

    Michael

  4. #24
    New Member Jmuzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snarlbuckle View Post
    So how do I know where I can camp and where I can't? I'm sure we can 'stealth camp' and probably get away with it, but we don't want to be somewhere we shouldn't.
    Stealth camping is the whole point of all that nice camo gear you have
    Legal or not you are morally in the right by leaving no trace so just do it.

  5. #25
    DaleW's Avatar
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    State parks are like camping in a trailer park, with the drunks, loud exhaust, screaming kids, amped music, generators running all night, and all the rest. It is NOT why I go to enjoy the wilderness!

    That's why I like hammocks, because I can hang anywhere I can find two trees. If I don't want to go on a full-bore hike, I can go 1/2 mile up a trail, find a nice spot by a river or viewpoint and leave nothing but my footprints the next morning. If I do hike into a lake and find all the campsites taken, it is no big deal to go 200 yards up the hill and hand with a nice view of the lake and still have access for water and fishing.

  6. #26
    Senior Member L84toff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibgary View Post
    You make very good point. You should print this and send it to the superintendent of the park you were at and another copy to the director of state parks.

    Gary, retired California state park superintendent.
    I was thinking the very same thing. The OP makes excellent points, it makes absolutely no sense to me to have a problem with some LNT hangers but RV's, TV's, beer bottles and trash are ok?? I don't get it. My wife says it's a sign of the times.

    I prefer to go hang somewhere in the middle of the back country where I'm not disturbing anyone's idea of a good time nor are they disturbing mine. Maybe it's an age thing, I dunno, but knocking on 40's door I seem to care less and less for the loud party types, not to mention those that think the outdoors are their personal garbage dump.

  7. #27
    sargevining's Avatar
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    Uncle Mike, Spaceweaseal, Caveman, and a few others knew that the following was sure to come:

    You are going to be very, very dissapointed with the NFS if you want to camp in a National Forest between 15 September and 1 February. You will be restricted to camping with deer hunters in specially designated "Hunters Camps." If you think camping next to a retired couple in their RV is a dissapointment, try camping next to deer hunters out for a weekend with the boys.

    Half of the decent trails in the state are shut down due to deadfall in the forest from last year's drought. The Forest Service has been slow to clear them, and has turned away the volunteers who stepped forward to help clear them. The maps of the closed areas at the trail heads are woefully out of date, and the boxes for registration forms at the trailhead to the Wilderness areas haven't been filled in months---and its against the rules to go into them without filling out a registration from. More than half of all the "Hunters Camps" are in the closed areas ($5,000 fine if you're caught in them), which only means more hunters in the camps that are open.

    From what Ive heard from other hiker/campers in other states (except NH it seems where the AMC mostly runs the trail system), the Forest Service seems to be adopting rules and policies designed to keep people out of the woods.

    We had a hike and hang planned for last weekend on the Lone Star Trail and ended up going to Fairfield State Park.

  8. #28
    Senior Member WetRivrRat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snarlbuckle View Post
    Thanks for all of the support, but I have one concern perhaps you fellow hammock campers can help me to address. My wife and I went to the state park as a way to do a short overnight trip legally. We don't know enough about the legalities of wandering into the woods and setting up camp, so we went to an established campground.

    So how do I know where I can camp and where I can't? I'm sure we can 'stealth camp' and probably get away with it, but we don't want to be somewhere we shouldn't.

    Any advice on this would be appreciated, thanks.
    I would look to see if there are any state/federal sponsored trails in the area that you can hike on, if you get in far enough nobody's gonna care...
    National parks generally have trails that support "trail-side" camping. I'd look for these. Sometimes knowing folks who have land helps as well, cuz you can just go wander.
    Cheers-
    We all know of the original "Walk off the war" thru-hike - but, check out these guys, they're helping folks 'walk off the war' today -
    Donate to help fund gear for the warriors who are coming back home and need help walking off the war!
    WarriorHike.com

  9. #29
    Senior Member ibgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrampaMikeOC View Post
    Snarl, you mentioned that one of your remaining options was national parks, but I've experienced problems there as well. Here in California at Joshua Tree Nat'l Park they won't even let you hang a lightly-loaded clothesline from their precious trees. I know because a ranger politely but firmly told me to take mine down once. I decided not to test his patience by asking how I was supposed to dry my socks and underwear. He'd likely have had a fit if I tried to hang a hammock!

    Oh and congrats on the WBBB multicam! I almost ordered one but opted for a slightly lighter 1.1 Double. I still think the multicam looks awesome.

    Michael
    I spent a lot of time in J Tree back when I was a climber. If you see that Ranger again you should thank him. Joshua trees are very soft and fall at the drop of a hat. Having a 10-20' high cactus fall on you might hurt.

  10. #30
    sargevining's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WetRivrRat View Post
    I would look to see if there are any state/federal sponsored trails in the area that you can hike on, if you get in far enough nobody's gonna care...
    National parks generally have trails that support "trail-side" camping. I'd look for these. Sometimes knowing folks who have land helps as well, cuz you can just go wander.
    Cheers-
    Again;

    Not in Texas between 15 September and 1 February. The Forest Service has closed trail side camping during the safest time, weatherwise, for camping in Texas.

    You're better off in a State Park. You're welcome to camp in a State Park. Don't complain about it, because it not only CAN get worse, it DOES get worse.

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