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Old 03-23-2014, 11:46 AM   #1
Zach
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Island/shoreline campground etiquette

I have been looking at places that I would like to visit someday by canoe and have been wondering if there is an accepted etiquette regarding campsites on islands or shorelines that are accessible by boat. For instance if I was canoeing during the day and came to an island that had a campsite on it would it be okay to land on the island for a break, provided I was out of sight of the campsite or at least say 500' away from it? I know that there will likely be a range of views on this question, but I am hoping there is some kind of generally accepted norm. I am a sucker for islands for some reason and always liked to visit them when canoeing by.
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Old 03-23-2014, 03:25 PM   #2
ALGonquin Bob
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I'm not aware of any general etiquette regarding that, other that courtesy & common sense. Having spent many nights canoe or kayak camping on remote campsites, I can say that if you're 500 feet away and out of sight, nobody should have a problem with that. If you're within sight of, and close to, an occupied camp sight, a short break on the shoreline would be fine with me, as long as you acknowledge the occupants' presence and tell them you're only taking a break. Walking through a campsite to use the privy would certainly be unwelcome by most people, unless you first ask permission. And who knows, they might even offer you a beer!
However, if the site has tents & gear, but nobody's home, either make it a very brief stop on the shore, or move on to the next site.
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:50 PM   #3
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I have a suspicion that since you are courteous and considerate enough to even ponder the question, that attitude likely accompanies you in the canoe, and you will have no problems. I believe you would be welcome to stop wherever I was camping.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:31 PM   #4
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I would agree that if you stop within sight of or in close proximity of an occupied campsite, asking the occupants for permission would certainly be the courteous thing to do. Last summer, my wife and I were hanging out at "our" paddle in campsite and the nice beach area, which was located about 20 yards from our tent, was invaded by a group of about 10 day paddlers. They were there for about an hour taking a lunch break and never even acknowledged our presence. Had they arrived earlier, it might have been rather embarrassing for us. Needless to say, I was not happy about their invasion into our space! I could have gotten ugly about it, but my wife convinced me to just ignore them as they did us.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:05 PM   #5
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Most of the people who camp on islands have gone there looking for privacy. When my dog was younger and wilder, I specifically sought out island sites so I could let her run around without having to worry about her. My favorite sites are located at the center of small islands, with pretty much everything in sight. If somebody were to land on the shore, it would be awkward. If I wanted to be your friend, I'd look you up on Facebook; in the meantime, get out of my campsite 'cause you ain't the reason I went to all the trouble to reach this solitary spot (rhetorically speaking--not directed to anyone here).

Note that many island sites now have box privies ... no walls, and not much to screen them from view. So it's possible you might not want to land on an island someone else is camping on...
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:19 PM   #6
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I have been looking at places that I would like to visit someday by canoe and have been wondering if there is an accepted etiquette regarding campsites on islands or shorelines that are accessible by boat. For instance if I was canoeing during the day and came to an island that had a campsite on it would it be okay to land on the island for a break, provided I was out of sight of the campsite or at least say 500' away from it? I know that there will likely be a range of views on this question, but I am hoping there is some kind of generally accepted norm. I am a sucker for islands for some reason and always liked to visit them when canoeing by.
Zach
You didn't mention if the campsite happened to be occupied or not, but I will also assume that is what you mean. For me, a simple "Hello, How's it going, Do you mind if I take a quick break over here" is fine by me. Being polite is always proper etiquette, imho.
If you choose to be impolite and take it upon yourself to intrude on my solitude, be prepared for me to come over and say hello, how's it going.

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Old 03-24-2014, 08:19 PM   #7
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I've met some of the nicest people by offering to share 'my' campsite, generally in bad weather or where camping options were few and far between.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:46 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the replies, it is interesting to hear the range of opinions. I would not want to land close enough to someone's campsite that it would be possible to speak to them. For instance Kirpen's Island in Indian Lake has a campsite at the north end according to the map I saw. The island appears to be about 1/4 mile long. Would it be intrusive to land somewhere on the southern part of the island for a short period of time, provided the area appeared to be deserted at the time? Would it be intrusive to paddle fairly close around the north end of the island on the way to the trailhead for Baldface Mtn or would it be better to give it a wide berth? I have never canoed in the Adirondacks so I am just trying to get a general understanding of what is considered appropriate.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:56 PM   #9
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One time at Indian Lake, my father and I tried to paddle into John Mack Bay to hike to John Mack Pond. We were greeted by a bunch of guys launching potatoes at us with a potato launcher from one of the campsites near the bay. So much for being friendly. We were forced to retreat and circle around away from their campsite to access the bay. Thankfully, they never messed with our canoes while we hiked to John Mack Pond. My hunch is that were just having a blast launching potatoes out towards the paddlers in the bay.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:12 PM   #10
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One time at Indian Lake, my father and I tried to paddle into John Mack Bay to hike to John Mack Pond. We were greeted by a bunch of guys launching potatoes at us with a potato launcher from one of the campsites near the bay. So much for being friendly. We were forced to retreat and circle around away from their campsite to access the bay. Thankfully, they never messed with our canoes while we hiked to John Mack Pond. My hunch is that were just having a blast launching potatoes out towards the paddlers in the bay.
Naval warfare. If you knew ahead of time you could've brought some launchers & potatoes of your own, and fired a broadside at them. (Sorry - I've been re-reading the Aubrey-Maturin novels. )
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:16 PM   #11
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Naval warfare. If you knew ahead of time you could've brought some launchers & potatoes of your own, and fired a broadside at them. (Sorry - I've been re-reading the Aubrey-Maturin novels. )
We settled for a few choice words.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:42 PM   #12
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500 feet is quite a ways away in my opinion--nearly 2 football fields. If it were a short visit, I doubt they would even know you were there unless they saw you enroute to your stop.
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:24 PM   #13
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We settled for a few choice words.
I grew up in a town where a canal flows through. When I was young I knew two kids in school who used to hide in the bushes with BB guns and shoot at the barges. It was a lot of fun until the guys on the barges started shooting back.
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:28 PM   #14
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I grew up in a town where a canal flows through. When I was young I knew two kids in school who used to hide in the bushes with BB guns and shoot at the barges. It was a lot of fun until the guys on the barges started shooting back.
Buckladd,
The way your post is written leaves me thinking that YOU may have been one of those 2 kids!!
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:02 PM   #15
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When I travel I never carry guns or potatoes.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:00 AM   #16
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Thank you all for the replies, it is interesting to hear the range of opinions. I would not want to land close enough to someone's campsite that it would be possible to speak to them. For instance Kirpen's Island in Indian Lake has a campsite at the north end according to the map I saw. The island appears to be about 1/4 mile long. Would it be intrusive to land somewhere on the southern part of the island for a short period of time, provided the area appeared to be deserted at the time? Would it be intrusive to paddle fairly close around the north end of the island on the way to the trailhead for Baldface Mtn or would it be better to give it a wide berth? I have never canoed in the Adirondacks so I am just trying to get a general understanding of what is considered appropriate.
Zach
I've paddled & camped extensively in the Adirondacks - You seem to be quite considerate and courteous, so I think any of the situations you mentioned would be fine with those who are camped nearby. If someone landed on an island that I was on and they were far away, I wouldn't care if they took a lunch break there. As for paddling near a campsite, I wouldn't expect anyone to have to avoid paddling close by if it was on their route or otherwise more convenient for them to do that.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:40 AM   #17
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I’ve had some strange encounters camping out in first- come-first-serve camping sites on state islands. One spring morning, our camp site, on Schuyler island, was smack in between a tom turkey and some turkey hunters. We politely asked the turkey hunters not to shoot through the campsite.
It would be a rare occasion, such as a bad storm, that would put me in a position to need to pull off a waterway near someone else’s encampment. I wouldn’t paddle or row anyplace place unless I knew there were lots of options for landing.
As much as I love remote waterways, some of the best island camping experiences I’ve had are reservation camping …that way you know a site waiting for when you get there.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:09 AM   #18
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Buckladd,
The way your post is written leaves me thinking that YOU may have been one of those 2 kids!!
Haha! No, they were classmates who got what they deserved. We still talk about it to this day and it's going on 40 years.

On a more serious note; I know there are regulations for party size at "designated" campsites in the ADKs. Also, leantos are supposed to be available to everyone, and not exclusive to those who get their first. I'm not sure that same rule applies to campsites in general. But I'm sure you can find it all on DEC's website under "camping."
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:23 PM   #19
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Thank you all for the replies, it is interesting to hear the range of opinions. I would not want to land close enough to someone's campsite that it would be possible to speak to them. For instance Kirpen's Island in Indian Lake has a campsite at the north end according to the map I saw. The island appears to be about 1/4 mile long. Would it be intrusive to land somewhere on the southern part of the island for a short period of time, provided the area appeared to be deserted at the time?
If the island is obviously occupied I would say "no". I just made a reservation for an island at Indian Lake. I took off a week of work so I could camp on an island, made sure to do it during the week so as to avoid being with crowds of people. You seem like a nice guy but I've paid for that campsite. I don't want anyone on it but me.

I've dealt with this kind of situation before and I don't hesitate to ask someone to leave. If they won't I call the ranger station. Nothing personal but I value and want my privacy. You might not see me there but my gear is there and I don't want anyone in my site and that entire island IS my site. You might not see me, but I might see you and I just like the idea of not being invaded.

I will say that I would make an exception if there was a bad storm and someone needed to stop paddling and wait it out..That would be fine. I might be anti-social but I'm not mean and heartless.

Quote:
Would it be intrusive to paddle fairly close around the north end of the island on the way to the trailhead for Baldface Mtn or would it be better to give it a wide berth? I have never canoed in the Adirondacks so I am just trying to get a general understanding of what is considered appropriate.
Zach
Intrusive to paddle near the island? IMO, No problem. I've camped on islands at Lake George and have always had people paddle around the island I'm on, fish off their boats, even go scuba diving. The lake is for everyone. I myself enjoy paddling around myself checking out the islands. I tend to keep a discrete difference but I won't hesitate to pass by someone's campsite. If they pass by mine and I'm sitting there I'll wave and say "Hi". Just as long as you don't stop and intrude on my space.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:46 PM   #20
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Iíve had some strange encounters camping out in first- come-first-serve camping sites on state islands.

As much as I love remote waterways, some of the best island camping experiences Iíve had are reservation camping Öthat way you know a site waiting for when you get there.
I tend to agree with that but reserving a campsite can be expensive and sometimes I like to get away "spur of the moment" for a day or two so it's not possible to reserve a site, especially during the summer months.

I've done some kayak camping on the Delaware River and Susquehanna rivers, plus I backpack as well. It's pretty much "First Come, First Serve". On the rivers there are designated campsites that are free and first come-first serve. If I'm occupying a site, I don't put up with being invaded. On the Delaware, I've had to chase away day trippers who think my campsite is a great place to stop, picnic and swim..and I'm sitting right there! If I have an obvious campsite with my tent set up and I'm "first come" then I don't feel I have to share.

But in situations where I'm in a spot that isn't "really" a campsite but I've set up camp, I know I have to be more tolerant. Recently in Harriman State Park, I was camping near a lake. A guy who was in the lake fishing put his backpack on the shore near where I was camped and fished there for a few hours. Eventually he left and he walked right through my site to do so. It's not something I would've done but I didn't feel as if I could say anything. Same situation when people hang out near where I'm camping and it's not a designated site. It's why I try and camp during the week, not on weekends.

If I'm in the backcountry and see people around I tend to avoid them. As for lean tos, it's established that they are for everyone to use.
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