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Old 09-01-2016, 08:51 PM   #1
Kevin7
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Camping Etiquette - Sharing Campsites?

This week another party set up on my campsite near John's Brook Lodge while I was hiking. I didn't mind at all, there was certainly room for another party on the site. But I would have been very reluctant to do the same thing myself.
What is the rule or general practice for interior sites in the Adirondacks?
Should you assume it is alright to set up on an already occupied site if there is room to do so? (Of course you would ask if the other party is present, but what if they are not?)
I would appreciate guidance. Thanks.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:40 PM   #2
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I would never do it myself. However, I did have a couple pitch their tent right next to the lean-to my wife and I were in, and then start dragging firewood over in front of the lean-to for their fire. I knew the lean-to's are supposed to be shared up to max occupancy, so rather than get into it with them about where they pitched their tent, and end up with them in the lean-to with us, we opted to move on, since it was still mid-day. I'm pretty sure that was their plan all along.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:44 PM   #3
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http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=23488

Max 3 tents per site (assuming there's sufficient room).
Max 15 feet from the marker.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:45 PM   #4
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If it's legal for the other person to camp there, what is the issue? If they had happened along while you were there and asked and there was room for all, would you say no? If 8 are allowed in a lean to, wouldn't it be nice to just invite them to share it with you?
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:53 PM   #5
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I thought pitching a tent next to the lean to is a no-no. I guess they should have put their sleeping bags in the lean to.
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Old 09-01-2016, 10:09 PM   #6
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Trail Boss, I would have thought that the "max 3 tents per site" tells you the maximum number of tents a single party can erect on a site. It doesn't really tell you anything about whether you can assume the right to share a site with another party.
I suspect there is no "legal" ruling on this question. It is more a matter of social custom, and what people consider to be fair and reasonable.
I would like to hear more views on this question.
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Old 09-01-2016, 11:07 PM   #7
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I would only do it in a desperate circumstance.
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:24 AM   #8
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Unless all the other sites are full I don't think it is right. Out of six million acres they have to crowd your selection? Don't we camp to get away from people who get in our face? Next time place your camp chairs and whatever else you can around your site so they get the idea that you like space and don't like crowds. That's just my opinion but disrespecting someone's chosen campsite is the behavior of "bottom feeders". Two or three cherry bombs at three am should get the message across. (just kiddin).
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Old 09-02-2016, 06:43 AM   #9
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I had it happen last year. We were the only ones in the big site at the end of South Meadow Rd. Another party arrived late in the evening and set up at the far end of the site. We were up an gone on our hike before they woke up, when we got back they were gone so we never actually saw them. A Ranger stopped by that afternoon to see if we were staying as it would have been our third night, we were not, I asked him about the other tent and was informed as has already been pointed out that the rule is 3 tents per site. I asked specifically if they had to be from one party and he said NO, the sites can not be claimed by any one group.
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:05 AM   #10
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In my opinion when going to a high use area such as the high peaks, one should not be expecting solitude at lean-tos or marked campsites. If solitude, and privacy is desired other options exist, the easiest being to go off trail and (within regulations) make camp where no one will find you.
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:41 AM   #11
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My understanding is sharing a tent site is similar to sharing a lean to. I would actually prefer sharing tent site rather than lean to - a bit more privacy. It is not ideal though - either way. I would hesitate to set up tent in an occupied site. And I would prefer to have site to myself if I was already there. But same as lean to - move over and welcome latecomers.

Last Columbus day we had this happen in flowed lands. Dusk was arriving and we were looking for a flat spot for tent. Lean tos full (as expected on holiday weekend), and tent site occupied. We hiked on a bit but soon really were losing daylight. A gentleman from an occupied tent site invited us to share and we would have taken him up on it if we did not happen upon a flat spot that we could make work.

In a lot of areas in the high peaks flat spots suitable for a tent, following the 150' rule, are rare. And you can stare at a map as much as you want - no way to predict if spots are occupied until you get there. I try to make camp earlier now, and am switching over to hammock camping because we do enjoy the solitude.
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:44 AM   #12
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Some of the campsites near JBL are private, so if it was one of those, the ADK's rules would apply.
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin7 View Post
Trail Boss, I would have thought that the "max 3 tents per site" tells you the maximum number of tents a single party can erect on a site. It doesn't really tell you anything about whether you can assume the right to share a site with another party.
I suspect there is no "legal" ruling on this question. It is more a matter of social custom, and what people consider to be fair and reasonable.
I would like to hear more views on this question.
If you want privacy, find a primitive campsite, not a designated campsite.

People arrive in the High Peaks with all sorts of preconceived ideas and "social customs". For example, they claim the entire lean-to for themselves.

I can't find a DEC regulation forbidding this action but there is a DEC guideline on the matter:
Quote:
Lean-tos are available in many areas on a first come first served basis. Lean-tos cannot be used exclusively and must be shared with other campers.
When it comes to designated campsites, there is a similar guideline (not regulation) but notice that's its qualified differently.
Quote:
Primitive campsites are first-come-first-served, and cannot be reserved. It is proper etiquette to share your campsite for one night if a second camper or group of campers arrives after dark especially if there is rain, cold or strong winds. In the morning the second group should pack up and move on to find another location. This is rare, but can happen in the heavily used Adirondack Eastern High Peaks.
I realize it starts with "primitive campsites" but it is found under the "Designated Campsites" title (see link above).

Lean-tos and designated sites are first-come-first-served. However, beyond that the guidelines (again, not regulations) differ. You must allow room for others in both cases. However, only for designated campsites do they mention its more of a neighborly thing to do when the other party is benighted or in the event of foul weather. They're expected to move on the following day.

Taking this into consideration, the DEC's guideline supports you're assumption that you can claim a designated site to yourself, with exceptions.

In practice, it's more complicated (what isn't). It's a guideline, not a regulation, so it's not like your argument (with your new neighbor) will have the force of law behind it. In addition, some of the designated sites in the High Peaks are huge. If not for the 3-tent ceiling, they could easily accommodate many more. It's not difficult to put 20+ feet between all 3 tents at these mega-sites. If you choose to camp at a large site, good luck convincing anyone of anything (especially on a busy weekend). If you can see someone giving you the stink-eye from 20 feet away, that's what's they'll be doing.

BTW, camping no farther than 15 feet from a marker is a regulation and not just a suggestion. It's designed to prevent designated campsites from expanding into tent villages. Most people don't know this and operate under the principle that any flat spot is fair game. It's not.

There are several small sites that can only accommodate 1-2 tents and only if the 2 tents are side by each. I suppose that would be OK if the 2 tents belong to the same party. However, it would take brass cojones, or just obliviousness, for strangers to plop down within farting distance of your tent (and its not after dark or during a storm). The High Peaks on a summer's weekend are awash in obliviousness.

Basically, the reality is that you will probably have to accommodate a guest on your site for at least one night. If they're 20+ feet away from your tent, just let it go. If they nudge you when they roll over in their sleep, politely remind them of the "move along" guideline the following morning.

If you're camping in the Flowed Lands-Lake Colden area, expect crowding (and obliviousness). In the event of a heated disagreement, seek out the help of a DEC AFR (Assistant Forest Ranger) but only if you're willing to waste a part of your hiking day on a "parking space" quarrel.

Anyone wishing to camp in the Flowed Lands-Lake Colden area should familiarize themselves with the location of all lean-tos and designated campsites. It'll save you time when you discover your first and second choices are occupied (to the max).
http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/44.1181/-73.9797

Last edited by Trail Boss; 09-02-2016 at 09:00 AM..
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Old 09-02-2016, 09:58 AM   #14
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I thought pitching a tent next to the lean to is a no-no. I guess they should have put their sleeping bags in the lean to.
Yeah, they weren't supposed to pitch it where they did - literally two feet away from the side of the lean-to. The thing that ticked me off was that we were the only two couples on the lake, and they just pulled up and started unpacking without even saying a word to us. Then before I could say anything at all, he started quoting lean-to regs at me. There were other lean-tos and tent sites open, and they had a canoe and could be at any of them within 20 minutes. But to quote him, "You're not going to like it, but the other lean-tos aren't as pretty as this one." So it was easier to just pack up and hike around to one of the other sites where we could be alone rather than listen to his pretentious ass all day and night.

Last edited by JohnnyVirgil; 09-02-2016 at 10:12 AM..
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:18 AM   #15
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Yeah, they weren't supposed to pitch it where they did - literally two feet away from the side of the lean-to. The thing that ticked me off was that we were the only two couples on the lake, and they just pulled up and started unpacking without even saying a word to us. Then before I could say anything at all, he started quoting lean-to regs at me. There were other lean-tos and tent sites open, and they had a canoe and could be at any of them within 20 minutes. But to quote him, "You're not going to like it, but the other lean-tos aren't as pretty as this one." So it was easier to just pack up and hike around to one of the other sites where we could be alone rather than listen to his pretentious ass all day and night.
Definitely sucks. Within anyone's rights to do it, but when you put it this way that he said, "You're not going to like it....." I'd be moving to. Just politely ask and everyone will have a good time, but everyone can't be as nice as us!
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:31 AM   #16
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Definitely sucks. Within anyone's rights to do it, but when you put it this way that he said, "You're not going to like it....." I'd be moving to. Just politely ask and everyone will have a good time, but everyone can't be as nice as us!
Yeah, he was a dick about it from the get-go. And it's not like the place was crowded. They just wanted that spot to themselves and figured being a jerk would get it done, and it did.
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:36 AM   #17
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@JohnnyVirgil

Given all the empty lean-tos you described, yeah, he may have had the guidelines on his side but it was selfish of him to pick your site. Obviously, his privacy nor yours was of any importance.

It reminds of a scene in an old movie where the young lad goes to the big city for the first time, hails a cab, and climbs in not in the back but the front seat. The cabbie gives him the stink-eye and says "Lonely?"
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:39 PM   #18
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http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/44.1181/-73.9797

Thank you! Very well done
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Old 09-02-2016, 01:06 PM   #19
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@JohnnyVirgil

It reminds of a scene in an old movie where the young lad goes to the big city for the first time, hails a cab, and climbs in not in the back but the front seat. The cabbie gives him the stink-eye and says "Lonely?"
That's great!
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Old 09-02-2016, 01:24 PM   #20
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Yeah, they weren't supposed to pitch it where they did - literally two feet away from the side of the lean-to. The thing that ticked me off was that we were the only two couples on the lake, and they just pulled up and started unpacking without even saying a word to us. Then before I could say anything at all, he started quoting lean-to regs at me. There were other lean-tos and tent sites open, and they had a canoe and could be at any of them within 20 minutes. But to quote him, "You're not going to like it, but the other lean-tos aren't as pretty as this one." So it was easier to just pack up and hike around to one of the other sites where we could be alone rather than listen to his pretentious ass all day and night.
I would have stripped buck-a$$ naked, stared him right in face, and asked how pretty this one looked now?

I'm also fairly certain, knowing myself as well as I have for my whole life, that I wouldn't have been the one who left.
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