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Old 02-29-2020, 06:19 AM   #1
heygenius
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Canoes in the woods

I am not from the area but I do take several trips to the Adirondacks each year to hike, fish, paddle, snowshoe... on several trips over the years I have come across canoes near ponds fairly far from any roads. I was curious what the proper etiquette is. Is it, use them and return them to where you found them or, it’s not yours so keep moving? Since I wasn’t sure I have always erred on the side of caution and not used them, but was curious.
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Old 02-29-2020, 08:24 AM   #2
Tug Hill
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Even though it is illegal to store personnel property on state land, if I use any canoe or boat, I always put it back where I found it.

Moving a canoe or boat in the ADK’s, was one of the reasons among others, the trapper Nat Foster allegedly shot the Native American ,Drid, on 1st Lake in 1835.
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Old 02-29-2020, 09:30 AM   #3
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one technicality with using a found woods boat is you will never find a proper PFD with them. The law requires a serviceable PFD for each person in a boat. You could be fined if caught without one by a Forest Ranger. A more practical problem is that you will also rarely find a useable paddle or oars, at least not anywhere nearby. I have seen all manner of makeshift paddles, a favorite being a forked stick with duct tape making the blade.
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Old 02-29-2020, 10:21 AM   #4
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At one time it was, unfortunately, not too difficult to find an old beer or pop can, flatten it, and lash it into a split stick for a paddle. Old fly line has many uses and is light in a pack! Since the bottle bill and improved awareness of what is proper in the woods, the cans are harder to come by. If you check posts by Justin on this sight, he is the master of the improvised paddle. If I anticipate wanting to use a boat, I carry a paddle and a lightweight PFD. I see a lot of folks in boats without them, but lately the rangers seem to be more "write happy" than in the old days, so I would not count on getting a warning.
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Old 02-29-2020, 12:44 PM   #5
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Of course there have been threads for years about "what to do about the problem of boats littering the woods." It seems that there is a group of users that thinks it's OK to illegally leave their equipment in the woods. Contrast this to the hue and cry when other user groups have "equipment" in the woods.

Many people have suggested it would be nice to remove this litter, but people have pointed out rightly that doing that would be very labor intensive. There have been suggestions of carrying a battery powered sawzall to cut up boats so they can be carried out in pieces, etc.

Just thought of a compromise solution that would at least get the boats out of sight, and discourage future littering. In ponds that are deep enough, put rocks in them, push them out to a deep spot and sink them. (Time honored: the British did this in Lake George with their Bateaux during the French and Indian War.)

Of course this would not "remove" the litter; it would just make it disappear from view. And it would only be practical in late summer, when the water was warm enough to play in. But it's a thought...
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Old 02-29-2020, 01:59 PM   #6
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Of course there have been threads for years about "what to do about the problem of boats littering the woods." It seems that there is a group of users that thinks it's OK to illegally leave their equipment in the woods. Contrast this to the hue and cry when other user groups have "equipment" in the woods.

Many people have suggested it would be nice to remove this litter, but people have pointed out rightly that doing that would be very labor intensive. There have been suggestions of carrying a battery powered sawzall to cut up boats so they can be carried out in pieces, etc.

Just thought of a compromise solution that would at least get the boats out of sight, and discourage future littering. In ponds that are deep enough, put rocks in them, push them out to a deep spot and sink them. (Time honored: the British did this in Lake George with their Bateaux during the French and Indian War.)

Of course this would not "remove" the litter; it would just make it disappear from view. And it would only be practical in late summer, when the water was warm enough to play in. But it's a thought...
I'm not fan of those things, but I don't think sinking them is a good idea either... another will just show up.

I suppose in most other cases, the forest will take them, but I'm not really in love with that, although if we look at it this way, there has been lots of crap left in what are now Wilderness areas from the times when there were hunting and fishing camps there, and those relics are now seen as HISTORIC! Really it's just junk and it most cases, the forest has taken most of it. Eventually even the cast iron stoves will rust to dust and mix in with the soil and be nearly indistinguishable from native iron.

It's really more the fact that they are:

1) Usually unsafe vessels and as was pointed out, people often use them without PFDs or the proper propulsion. It's not hard to drown in a BC pond, it's happened many, many times even by good swimmers.

2) Eyesores to other users who come to these areas to get away from that crap. I'll be quite honest, if every lean to came stocked with a nice new Hornbeck for public use, I wouldn't complain.


My thought is actually that this problem will fix itself in the future. Eventually the boats will become crappy enough that they will rot into the ground or be carried out in bits and the next generation of lighter weight boats won't be left out there. We might see a few older plastic boats make it, but they often crack and go to the dump before they'd make it as a boat someone would haul 3-5 miles into the woods. Royalex is too valuable now. Kevlar and carbon could make it, but even old ones are too valuable to be left... And composites break down pretty quickly if left outside where UV can get to them, so many would just turn into dishrags in very few years.

We'll see, I guess...
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Old 02-29-2020, 02:02 PM   #7
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Options

1. You could shoot a couple of holes through the bottom but then it would serve no purpose and would become permanent litter. 2. Bring a knock down paddle and a PFD and help yourself. 3. Haul it out and sell it or give it away. 4. Mind your own business and ignore it. 5. Just talk about it here as many have done for years.
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Old 02-29-2020, 09:15 PM   #8
Justin
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Originally Posted by heygenius View Post
I was curious what the proper etiquette is...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tug Hill View Post
Even though it is illegal to store personnel property on state land, if I use any canoe or boat, I always put it back where I found it.
I agree with Tug Hill, and has almost always been the same with just about everyone that I’ve ever met & chatted with in the backcountry. Sometimes they move around, but usually you can find them again if you look around long enough.


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If you check posts by Justin on this sight, he is the master of the improvised paddle.
Gee thanks Lucky!
I tried to add the link to the thread but I see this website is still having some issues and it won’t let me do it for some reason, but if you search keyword “Makeshift” under thread titles in the advanced search menu you should be able to find the “Makeshift Paddles” thread from awhile back.
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Old 03-01-2020, 11:04 AM   #9
backwoodsman
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Seems like some sort of program could be used to get the canoes out .
If there are Rangers out there checking on things ,they could mark and photograph the canoes around one or two lakes , then offer "X" amount of dollars and maybe a free Empire Pass to whoever is willing to bring one out to a designated spot , or trailhead parking area .

Just try it out on one or two problem areas first to see how it goes .

If they want to cut down on it happening in the future, requiring a registration sticker would probably help , that would tie the hull number to the owner .

Last edited by backwoodsman; 03-02-2020 at 07:20 AM..
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Old 03-01-2020, 02:25 PM   #10
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With a map before me, I just conducted a count of locations within the Five Ponds Wilderness where I have found stashed boats. I'm up to 21 and counting. Some of these boats may date to a time before wilderness designation, twice I have discovered the rotted remains of wooden guideboats, and for these, I shed a few tears. Most however, are much newer… chopper-gun glass, royalex, plastic and aluminum. It is only the aluminum that can endure for very long. I take little pleasure in the discovery of these boats. I work hard carrying my own canoe and make part of my living building such canoes. I feel cheated by those who ignore the rules and stash personal property on State Land, but that's just my opinion.
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:13 PM   #11
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For what it's worth, I was told by a Ranger in the MRP that there were boats left by DEC for people to use on some of the more remote places near there, although she did also say that it would be up to the person who used them to have a pfd and a paddle. Back there I've only found a stashed inflatable raft, and I didn't have a pump or a paddle that day I was shore fishing.

I would also like to know when the storage law came into effect, as I recall, it seems not too long ago hearing a lot of local old timers grumbling about it after it went into effect. It is my sense that a lot of prior generations didn't view the stored boat as a nuisance, but as a tool that might be useful, and available as long as it was returned. Dunham and his friends relied on stashed boats in the southern part of what is now 5 Ponds as well as the canoe they brought with them, and I think they also used them in West Canada when they were penetrating into there from the camp down the Creek.
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:26 PM   #12
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On a camping trip to Cedar Lakes about 15 years ago we found one, complete with paddles, and helped ourselves (after checking for seaworthiness). Enjoyed a lovely paddle, with loons coming very close to us before diving. Our dog enjoyed it, too; was not too worried about rangers or drowning.

Begin shaming, but we had fun.

Returned it to where we found it. All good.

Canoes stashed in the woods don't bother me nearly as much as the trash many feel compelled to leave around tent sites and leantos.
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Old 03-02-2020, 11:38 AM   #13
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At one time I would get really bent out of shape by the litter at the roadside sites in the MRP, as I've gotten older I just have added the initial cleanup, and the mandatory pre-site selection outhouse inspection, to the chore list. And I will haul it out to the limits of remaining space in the pickup and how many trash bags I have, but I don't load any but what has to be loaded to make the campsite clean for use, until I leave, as I don't want to pique the 4 legged curiosity. I have been asked why I didn't clean up the old buckets and tarps left behind an outhouse, by a ranger with an empty pick up bed, and I am older and (hopefully) wiser so I don't ask the obvious response! They have enough to do driving around and ideally educating some of the neophytes as was done for me and my wife about 40 years ago. Thank you, Lilian!
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Old 03-02-2020, 02:13 PM   #14
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A hidden canoe doesn't bother me; piles of feces and tp do bother me since there is no reason for either, like litter left behind by lazy individuals.
I always carry some litter out of the woods...how much and what size depends on my mood. Also something that doesn't decompose [glass and plastic] or do it quickly [like a car part, fence, etc,] is more likely to be taken than not.
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Old 03-03-2020, 10:49 AM   #15
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It is enlightening to read the decomposition rates for things like food waste, though. apple cores and banana peels, orange rinds,. all hang around in various states of grossness for months. Even dead cigar butts take quite a while to biodegrade, so when I finish one, after insuring it is out, I field strip it to components, or just put it in my back pocket for disposal in the trash bag at camp. But I am very reluctant to clean up the TP flowers, disease vectors are everywhere. I may have to add more latex gloves and a long reach pick up tool to my day pack along with a 10% bleach solution, which a friend from Albany taught me to bring for the campsite every time.
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Old 03-03-2020, 11:08 AM   #16
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It is enlightening to read the decomposition rates for things like food waste, though. apple cores and banana peels, orange rinds,. all hang around in various states of grossness for months. Even dead cigar butts take quite a while to biodegrade, so when I finish one, after insuring it is out, I field strip it to components, or just put it in my back pocket for disposal in the trash bag at camp. But I am very reluctant to clean up the TP flowers, disease vectors are everywhere. I may have to add more latex gloves and a long reach pick up tool to my day pack along with a 10% bleach solution, which a friend from Albany taught me to bring for the campsite every time.
I have a technique i honed over the years -- I find a stick and put a point on the end. Then I stab a hole next to the tp, use the stick to drag the tp over to the hole I just made, and stab it in, then drag some leaves over it. When I'm done cleaning up other people's disgusting grossness, I take the stick a ways into the woods, jam it into the ground and break it off, and toss what's left.
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Old 03-03-2020, 11:29 AM   #17
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Sounds like a plan. Thank you very much, both for the effort and the idea!
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Old 03-03-2020, 07:14 PM   #18
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This subject has been discussed ad nauseum:

http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.p...ts+%3D+garbage

133 replies, 75,000 views.

Personally, I've grown less tolerant of people leaving their boats behind without an exit plan. There's no excuse. I now put boats I find on remote ponds beyond use and haul out the ones I can when the opportunity arises. There's some evidence that this reduces the behavior. Or that such boats are better hidden.
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Old 03-03-2020, 07:22 PM   #19
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Trouble with taking care of someone else's tp/waste is there is often so much in one place it might take an hour or more to cover up. Go behind an active leanto when the snow melts and you'll see what I mean.
Apples I think mostly getting eaten by critters. Oranges/bananas/etc. are problems.
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Old 03-03-2020, 08:04 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by vtflyfish View Post
This subject has been discussed ad nauseum:

http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.p...ts+%3D+garbage

133 replies, 75,000 views.

Personally, I've grown less tolerant of people leaving their boats behind without an exit plan. There's no excuse. I now put boats I find on remote ponds beyond use and haul out the ones I can when the opportunity arises. There's some evidence that this reduces the behavior. Or that such boats are better hidden.
I kind of assume that if a boat is easily found, it was probably left there by DEC for common usage, but where I go the rangers get around, too. How are you sure that a boat owner is not camped nearby, in which case the storage could be construed as legal as part of the camping equipment? Of course, that is why anymore, I chain my boat to a tree, as well as to lessen liability if someone uses it and gets injured. I don't think there is any language in the law that allows someone to take a boat and hide it or destroy it, Report it to TIPP, or the local ranger, yes, but assuming the role of forest protector with someone else's property might get you in trouble, too. I can think of one spot where the state land markers are not prominent and the boat is stored on private land where I have permission to access and use it, but lots of folks trespass into that portion of the forest without knowing they are off the state land. Fortunately so far they are not "forever wild" vigilantes, it could mess up access for everyone that has to use the trail that crosses the boat owners property, through their generosity, if their boat was gone and they could not find it.
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