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Old 08-14-2016, 12:24 PM   #1
AvalanchePass
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High Peaks Regulations and Guidelines

General
  • No use of any motorized equipment.[1]
  • Sign-in at all trail registers.[1]
  • Carry out what you carry in. Practice "leave no trace" camping and hiking.[3]
  • Observe and enjoy wildlife and plants but leave them undisturbed.[3]
  • Removing plants, rocks, fossils or artifacts from state land without a permit is illegal.[3]
  • The storage of personal property on state land is prohibited.[3]
  • Skis or snowshoes required when there is snow-cover of 8 inches or more.[1]
  • Do not mark trails with plastic ribbons, paint, blazes or other devices, cut or clear trails, or mark summits.[1]

Group Limits
  • Day-use: maximum of 15 people.[1]
  • Overnight: maximum of 8 people.[1]
  • Affiliated groups exceeding the maximum limits must divide into smaller groups and maintain a separation distance of at least 1 mile at all times.[1]

Hygiene
  • Use pit privies provided near popular camping areas and trailheads. If none are available, dispose of human waste by digging a hole 6"-8" deep at least 150 feet from water or campsites. Cover with leaves and soil.[3]
  • Do not use soap to wash yourself, clothing or dishes within 150 feet of water.[3]
  • Drinking and cooking water should be boiled for 5 minutes, treated with purifying tablets or filtered through filtration device to prevent instances of giardia infection.[3]
  • No disposal of food in any water body.[1]

Pets
  • Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area: Requires pets to be leashed on trails, at primitive tent sites, at lean-to sites, at elevations above 4,000 feet, or areas where the public congregates.[1]
  • Valid and current rabies inoculation for any dog.[1]

Camping Location
  • No camping above 4000 feet.[1]
  • Camping between 3500 and 4000 feet is limited to designated sites.[1]
  • Primitive tent site provides space for not more than three tents, designed to accommodate a maximum of eight people. A primitive tent site shall be designated by an official department sign or disk.[1]
  • Tents must be within 15 feet of official camping sign or disk at primitive campsites.[1]
  • Camping is allowed only at designated sites or at locations at least 150 feet from any road, trail, or water source.[3]
  • Tents (including hammocks) are not allowed inside lean-tos. Around lean-tos, camp at least 150 feet from the lean-to unless there is a "Camp Here" marker.[2]

Camping Duration
  • Open camps (lean-tos) may not be occupied by the same person or persons for more than three successive nights or for more than 10 nights in any one calendar year, provided others wish to use such camps.[4]
  • Stays of more than three days in one place require a permit.[3]

Camping
  • Observe quiet hours between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM.[1]
  • Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area: Requires the use of Bear Canisters between April 1 – November 30.[1]
  • Western High Peaks Wilderness Area: Take reasonable steps to keep food, toiletries and garbage from bears. [1]
  • No camp structure other than tents, tarps, lean-tos, or those composed of snow.[1]
  • Lean-tos cannot be used exclusively and must be shared with other campers.[3]
  • 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.[2]
  • The enclosure of the fronts of open camps is prohibited, except by tying canvas or nylon tarpaulins in place or erecting snow walls. The use of wood, nails, screws or other fasteners is prohibited[4]
  • Glass containers are prohibited.[1]
  • Do not use an audio device which is audible outside the immediate area of a campsite.[1]

Campfires
  • Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area: not permitted.[1]
  • Western High Peaks Wilderness Area: permitted below 4000 feet. Must be 150 feet from any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water OR at a primitive tent site or lean-to site.[1]
  • Fires should be built in existing fire pits or fireplaces if provided. Use only dead and down wood for fires. Cutting standing trees is prohibited. Extinguish all fires with water and stir ashes until they are cold to the touch. Do not build fires in areas marked by a "No Fires" disk. Camp stoves are safer, more efficient and cleaner.[3]

Bear Mitigation
  • Use of bear canisters is encouraged.[5]
  • Pack a minimal amount of food.[5]
  • Cook away from your campsite. Choose an area at least 100 feet away from your sleeping area.[5]
  • Cook and eat before dark.[5]
  • Be neat and clean while cooking.[5]
  • Keep food in storage containers.[5]
  • Avoid leftovers.[5]
  • Never leave food unattended.[5]
  • Do not wear clothing to bed that was worn while preparing or eating meals.[5]

Bear Canisters
  • Food, toiletries and garbage must fit inside the canister whenever you leave it unattended, throughout the entire trip.[6]
  • Store the canister at least 100 feet from the campsite and 100 feet from the cooking area.[6]
  • Store the canister on level ground in an area where it will not be obviously visible to a passing bear.[6]
  • Hanging canisters is not recommended. Bears in this region that are able to get the canister out of a food hang will be able to carry it away using the rope tied to it. The shape of the canister alone makes it more difficult to carry away.[6]
  • Do not store canisters in carrying case or attached to your backpack overnight (bears may carry away your pack with the canister).[6]
  • Do not store canisters in or near water. Canisters are not watertight and do not float.[6]

Notes
1. ^"High Peaks Wilderness Area Regulations"
2. ^"NY State Primitive Camping Rules and Guidelines"
3. ^"NY State General Camping Rules and Guidelines"
4. ^"NY State Lean-to Regulations"
5. ^"NY State Reducing Human-Bear Conflicts Guidelines"
6. ^"NY State Bear Canisters Guidelines"

Last edited by AvalanchePass; 09-07-2016 at 11:47 PM..
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:15 PM   #2
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Good summary!

Here's one more regulation: you can cover the open side of a lean-to with a tarp but it must be made of a durable material (not polyethylene sheeting), cannot be nailed to the lean-to (no nails, period), and must be packed out after use.

Also, if there's room, it's 2-3 tents per designated campsite. If there's more room, it's still a maximum of 3 tents per marked site. The idea is to prevent the creation of small villages ...

BTW, the "affiliated group" separation distance applies to a group exceeding 15 people (day-hike) or 8 people (overnight). For example, a group of 18 people can divide into three groups of 6 and then must remain a mile apart. In other words, the three groups cannot regroup atop a mountain or when they camp.
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:43 PM   #3
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Thanks. Added lean-to regulations to the original post.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:24 PM   #4
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There is one other restriction that rangers may try to enforce. That is that the capacity of a lean-to may not be increased by pitching a tent next to a lean-to.

Lean-tos are really sized for six adults, so a legal group of eight might want to be a bit more comfortable by having a tent for two or three next to the lean-to.

Under current regulations one cannot pitch a tent next to a lean-to because there is no "Camp Here" disk on the lean-to.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tgoodwin View Post
There is one other restriction that rangers may try to enforce. That is that the capacity of a lean-to may not be increased by pitching a tent next to a lean-to.

Lean-tos are really sized for six adults, so a legal group of eight might want to be a bit more comfortable by having a tent for two or three next to the lean-to.

Under current regulations one cannot pitch a tent next to a lean-to because there is no "Camp Here" disk on the lean-to.
Covered above under "NY State Primitive Camping Rules and Guidelines":
  • Tents are not allowed inside lean-tos. Around lean-tos, camp at least 150 feet from the lean-to unless there is a "Camp Here" marker
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:10 AM   #6
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Thanks for putting this together. I'd also suggest saying "no tents or hammocks" inside leantos, since a hammock falls under the DEC's definition of tent stated in the regs:
"Tent means a temporary, collapsible shelter which is used for camping outdoors and is made primarily of fabric but which may have walls constructed from other materials."

And I might have missed it, but I'd also add that no soap is allowed in any pond, stream, or other body of water in the High Peaks Wilderness.
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by debmonster View Post
Thanks for putting this together. I'd also suggest saying "no tents or hammocks" inside leantos, since a hammock falls under the DEC's definition of tent stated in the regs:
"Tent means a temporary, collapsible shelter which is used for camping outdoors and is made primarily of fabric but which may have walls constructed from other materials."

And I might have missed it, but I'd also add that no soap is allowed in any pond, stream, or other body of water in the High Peaks Wilderness.
Edited to add hammocks.

Soap within 150 feet of water covered above under NY State General Camping Rules and Guidelines.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
...

Also, if there's room, it's 2-3 tents per designated campsite. If there's more room, it's still a maximum of 3 tents per marked site. The idea is to prevent the creation of small villages ...

...
I did see this in the definitions section of the Adirondack Wilderness Regulations:

Primitive tent site means a tent site of an undeveloped character providing space for not more than three tents, which may have an associated pit privy and fire ring, designed to accommodate a maximum of eight people on a temporary or transient basis ...


Is that definition enough to make it a regulation? Perhaps a guideline?

Are there notices on some individual sites limiting them to 2 tents?


Further complicated by NY's NY Campground Rules and Regulations which appears to state that all campsites are limited to 6 persons and 2 tents.

However, that page references Part 190 Title 6NYCRR and the only mention there of occupancy is the definition of a primitive tent site so we've come full circle.

Last edited by AvalanchePass; 08-15-2016 at 10:52 AM..
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:12 AM   #9
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I'd say it's a regulation if it is part of 190.13(b)(7) definition of a "Primitive Tent Site" (i.e. contains no more than 3 tents).

The 2nd link you posted is broken. Could it be that the 2-tent limit is for DEC campgrounds (like Fish Creek) as opposed to primitive campsites?

FWIW, there are two other regulations that come to mind:

190.13(f)(3)(i)
In the High Peaks Wilderness Area, no person shall use any audio device which is audible outside the immediate area of a campsite;

If you don't want to list it separately, just tack it to the one you've listed restricting noise during the night.

190.13(f)(3)(ix)
In the High Peaks Wilderness Area, no person shall mark trails with plastic ribbons, paint, blazes or other devices, cut or clear trails, or mark summits with canisters except by written permission of the department;

By the looks of things, this regulation is not well known (or frequently ignored) because I've collected fistfuls of flagging (MacNaughton is a magnet for this illegal practice). Cairns are also used to blaze trails (falls under "other devices") and I've demolished dozens of them. If one cannot navigate without the aid of flagging (in the HPWA), one should learn how, or stick to marked trails.


FWIW, I've looked at the list and thought it might be a good idea to categorize each line item and then use that information to reorganize everything based on categories. For example, a few categories that stand out are "Groups", "Campsite Location", "Camping", "Hygiene", "Pets", "Bears", etc. Each line item within a group might end with either an "[R], " (Regulation; you may be cited for violating it) or a "[G]" (Guideline; this is considered a 'best practice').

As it stands, it's a long head-spinning list of do's and don'ts but that's not your fault, just a reflection of the many real rules and guidelines that govern the High Peaks (to protect the peaks from us).

Last edited by Trail Boss; 08-15-2016 at 10:28 AM..
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:51 AM   #10
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Here's my first attempt to categorize the rules and guidelines.

General
  • No use of any motorized equipment.
  • Sign-in at all trail registers.
  • Carry out what you carry in. Practice "leave no trace" camping and hiking.
  • Observe and enjoy wildlife and plants but leave them undisturbed.
  • Removing plants, rocks, fossils or artifacts from state land without a permit is illegal.
  • The storage of personal property on state land is prohibited.
  • Skis or snowshoes required when there is snow-cover of 8 inches or more.
  • Do not mark trails with plastic ribbons, paint, blazes or other devices, cut or clear trails, or mark summits.

Group Limits
  • Day-use: maximum of 15 people.
  • Overnight: maximum of 8 people.
  • Affiliated groups exceeding the maximum limits must divide into smaller groups and maintain a separation distance of at least 1 mile at all times.

Hygiene
  • Use pit privies provided near popular camping areas and trailheads. If none are available, dispose of human waste by digging a hole 6"-8" deep at least 150 feet from water or campsites. Cover with leaves and soil.
  • Do not use soap to wash yourself, clothing or dishes within 150 ft of water.
  • Drinking and cooking water should be boiled for 5 minutes, treated with purifying tablets or filtered through filtration device to prevent instances of giardia infection.
  • No disposal of food in any water body.

Pets
  • Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area: Requires pets to be leashed on trails, at primitive tent sites, at lean-to sites, at elevations above 4,000 feet, or areas where the public congregates.
  • Valid and current rabies inoculation for any dog.

Camping Location
  • No camping above 4000 feet.
  • Camping between 3500 and 4000 feet is limited to designated sites.
  • Primitive tent site providing space for not more than three tents, designed to accommodate a maximum of eight people. A primitive tent site shall be designated by an official department sign or disk.
  • Tents must be within 15 feet of official camping sign or disk at primitive campsites.
  • Camping is allowed only at designated sites or at locations at least 150 feet from any road, trail, or water source.
  • Tents (including hammocks) are not allowed inside lean-tos. Around lean-tos, camp at least 150 feet from the lean-to unless there is a "Camp Here" marker.

Camping Duration
  • Open camps (lean-tos) may not be occupied by the same person or persons for more than three successive nights or for more than 10 nights in any one calendar year, provided others wish to use such camps.
  • Stays of more than three days in one place require a permit.

Camping
  • Observe quiet hours between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM.
  • Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area: Requires the use of Bear Canisters between April 1 November 30.
  • Western High Peaks Wilderness Area: Take reasonable steps to keep food, toiletries and garbage from bears.
  • No camp structure other than tents, tarps, lean-tos, or those composed of snow.
  • Lean-tos cannot be used exclusively and must be shared with other campers.
  • 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.
  • The enclosure of the fronts of open camps is prohibited, except by tying canvas or nylon tarpaulins in place or erecting snow walls. The use of wood, nails, screws or other fasteners is prohibited
  • Glass containers are prohibited.
  • Do not use an audio device which is audible outside the immediate area of a campsite.

Campfires
  • Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area: not permitted.
  • Western High Peaks Wilderness Area: permitted below 4000 feet. Must be 150 feet from any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water OR at a primitive tent site or lean-to site.
  • Fires should be built in existing fire pits or fireplaces if provided. Use only dead and down wood for fires. Cutting standing trees is prohibited. Extinguish all fires with water and stir ashes until they are cold to the touch. Do not build fires in areas marked by a "No Fires" disk. Camp stoves are safer, more efficient and cleaner.

Bear Mitigation
  • Use bear resistant food canisters.
  • Pack a minimal amount of food.
  • Cook away from your campsite. Choose an area at least 100 feet away from your sleeping area.
  • Cook and eat before dark.
  • Be neat and clean while cooking.
  • Keep food in storage containers.
  • Avoid leftovers.
  • Never leave food unattended.
  • Do not wear clothing to bed that was worn while preparing or eating meals.

Last edited by Trail Boss; 08-15-2016 at 11:19 AM..
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:09 AM   #11
AvalanchePass
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
I'd say it's a regulation if it is part of 190.13(b)(7) definition of a "Primitive Tent Site" (i.e. contains no more than 3 tents).

The 2nd link you posted is broken. Could it be that the 2-tent limit is for DEC campgrounds (like Fish Creek) as opposed to primitive campsites?

FWIW, there are two other regulations that come to mind:

190.13(f)(3)(i)
In the High Peaks Wilderness Area, no person shall use any audio device which is audible outside the immediate area of a campsite;

If you don't want to list it separately, just tack it to the one you've listed restricting noise during the night.

190.13(f)(3)(ix)
In the High Peaks Wilderness Area, no person shall mark trails with plastic ribbons, paint, blazes or other devices, cut or clear trails, or mark summits with canisters except by written permission of the department;

By the looks of things, this regulation is not well known (or frequently ignored) because I've collected fistfuls of flagging (MacNaughton is a magnet for this illegal practice). Cairns are also used to blaze trails (falls under "other devices") and I've demolished dozens of them. If one cannot navigate without the aid of flagging (in the HPWA), one should learn how, or stick to marked trails.


FWIW, I've looked at the list and thought it might be a good idea to categorize each line item and then use that information to reorganize everything based on categories. For example, a few categories that stand out are "Groups", "Campsite Location", "Camping", "Hygiene", "Pets", "Bears", etc. Each line item within a group might end with either an "[R], " (Regulation; you may be cited for violating it) or a "[G]" (Guideline; this is considered a 'best practice').

As it stands, it's a long head-spinning list of do's and don'ts but that's not your fault, just a reflection of the many real rules and guidelines that govern the High Peaks (to protect the peaks from us).
Thanks.
  • Fixed broken link in post #8
  • Added definition of a primitive site
  • Added audio device regulation
  • Added trail marking regulation
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Old 08-16-2016, 07:55 AM   #12
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Here's my first attempt to categorize the rules and guidelines.
Thanks, much easier to read and comprehend.

I edited the original post to use your categorizations and added footnotes to the pertinent regulation or guideline.

Also added the guidelines for use of bear canisters.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:44 AM   #13
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Looking good!

The real hurdle is to get this information into the heads of people who don't read this forum (or the DEC's web-site).

BTW, there's an old regulation on the books about a "self-issuing permit". A very long time ago, you used to fill out a "trip ticket", available at the trail-register, and attach the tag to your pack. It was kind of a free "trail-pass"; you had to have one and woe to anyone caught without one. It was used by the DEC to get a handle on how many people visited the High Peaks.

The regulation still exists, it is even posted on some trail-registers (I know the East River Trail-head has it: "Sign Register and file trip ticket") but there are no "trip tickets" to be found.

If trip-tickets were still a "real thing" in the High Peaks, having the rules and regs printed on 'em would be a handy way of spreading the word.


East River Trail-Register.
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Old 08-16-2016, 11:14 AM   #14
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There'a also 190.13(f)(2):
no overnight camper in the Eastern High Peaks Zone shall fail to possess a self-issuing permit

But from what I understand those permits are nowhere to be found.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:03 PM   #15
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There was even one year when every day hiker was supposed to have a self-issuing permit. That ended quickly with the camping requirement ending a year or so later.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:24 PM   #16
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It's a wonder this regulation is still on the books (and on some trail-registers).

I imagine the argument goes something like:
  • We can't paint over the posted message on trail-registers because it reflects an existing regulation.
  • We can't remove the regulation without jumping through several flaming legal hoops.
  • We have no time or budget for legal gymnastics so it's easier to just leave this regulation in place even though no one can adhere to it!

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Old 08-17-2016, 11:29 AM   #17
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One more minor (but important) correction- these aren't regulations for the High Peaks, but for the High Peaks Wilderness Area. 13 of the High Peaks are outside of this area (9 in the Dix Mountain Wilderness, 2 in the Giant Mountain Wilderness, 1 in the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center Intensive Use Area, and 1 in Taylor Pond Wild Forest). Many (but not all) of these regulations do not apply to these areas.
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Old 08-17-2016, 12:06 PM   #18
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Thanks for the clarification.

I'm not able to change the title of the post but I did edit the name of the document linked to in the first footnote.
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