PaddleWise Discussion on Sea Kayaker Behavior and "Commando" Camping




From: ralph diaz 
Subject: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000


I got this heads-up from a fellow PaddleWiser:

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Hey, Ralph -- did you see this?

http://www.paddling.net/sameboat/
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Basically it is an article made up of two parts.  The first part is of
boorish behavior by a bunch of kayakers who pull up on to a dock on a
private island in broad daylight and then proceed to defecate, pee,
crawl all over the place.  The second part has to do with the Commando
Camping section of the Camping section of my book in which I go through
the necessity of sometimes having to commando camp (I believe, BTW, that
I coined the phrase...not the practice as I know kayakers and long range
bicyclists have done this for just about forever) and suggesting ways of
doing so that are non-disruptive to the property and privacy of the
location.

The author of the article takes me to task for what I wrote.  While like
any good author she does pitch her quotes from my book to prove her
point, they are not out of context although parts are left out that have
more provisos than I guess she could get into her column.

My problem with her column is a question of balance.  While it makes for
a good column for her to put the two parts of the article together (the
guys trashing the island and my suggestions for non-obtrusive commando
camping when you need to camp on private property or not sleep that
night at all, I believe it lacks a perception of degrees and a sense of
balance.  One form of behavior is offensive and disrespectful, the other
not offensive and disrespectful.

Anyway, this may be a good place to discuss the parameters of behavior
of kayakers.  I would like your take on this in PaddleWise.

I think there are degrees of behavior.  My advice of the need of
commando camping was toward being unobtrusive and only when you have
little choice in a long-range paddling situation.

BTW, on the question of asking permission, I made a distinction in the
book between asking permission to camp of a property owner in a remote
area (my suggestion is always ask in such a situation) and in a
populated area (my suggestion is not ask).  I was thinking of vacation
home people mainly in the latter.  A farmer in a remote place will
almost aways say yes.  A vacation home owner is more resentfully
guarding of his property and will likely say no and call the sheriff or
make a citizen's arrest.

ralph diaz  

-- 
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Ralph Diaz . . . Folding Kayaker newsletter
PO Box 0754, New York, NY 10024
Tel: 212-724-5069; E-mail: rdiaz@ix.netcom.com
"Where's your sea kayak?"----"It's in the bag."


From: "Bill Hansen" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 I'm not sure if, in his letter to PW, Ralph refers only to emergency camping, or what he calls "commando" camping, or to camping at all times. Either way, I'm inclined to think one should always ask if it's possible to ask. And I don't think non-emergency camping should be ever done on private property unless we've secured permission in advance (that is, if you can't reach the owners, just don't camp there). The more often we trespass (that's what it is, without permission) on someone's private space, the more resentment we stir up against all kayakers and other campers. That's true regardless of how good we are as stewards of the camping place while we're there. As for the question of camping behavior, I heartily endorse the concept of "leave no trace" camping, including the omission of all fires (except the very rare fire which might be needed to re-warm a hypothermic person **who could not be safely re-warmed by another technique**). Cleaning up any refuse we find at a campsite is also good environmental practice and good public relations. Bill Hansen Ithaca NY
Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 11:23:11 -0700 From: ralph diaz Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior I was unabashedly referring to non-emergency camping as well as emergency. On long stretches of paddling waters, it really is hard to avoid camping on private property. My first choice is to find some railroad or utilities property such as we have along the Hudson River or a quiet sparsely visited corner of some parkland. While there is a Hudson River Watertrail, most people who have paddled its length have had to do some commando camping since the legal sites are not evenly spaced. It is hard to figure out places to seek permission. Again, using the Hudson as an example, you can plan to cover x miles in a day but nature may conspire against you so that you won't reach the intended spot in time where you may have gotten permission or is a legal camp site. The RR right of way often has little outcroppings of land where you can pull up safely. It is private property, i.e. railroad property, but you are not intruding on an individual property owner. Maybe my Jesuit-education induced splitting hairs is emerging. I am not sure St. Thomas Aquinas would agree, albeit he was the ultimate hair-spitter in his Summa Theologica. What I am driving at are balance and discretion. It is one thing to pull up to some individual's private property and camp on a person's lawn disrupting his/her life. It is another thing to find a corner of that person's property, out-of-sight and out-of-the-way and do minimal impact camping with no noise or disruptive intrusion. Obviously, first opt for RR or utilities property owned by a legal person as opposed to a real person or some corner of parkland. Then consider the non-intrusive "commando" camping. The whole point of using the term commando is to denote clearly that; like a commando you make your presence unknown while you are there and no trace of you remains after you leave. The term commando was picked with considerable thought. If one wants to emphasize the sneakiness of it that is fine. My point was the invisible presence a la commandos. I am just being realistic. If you do do successful commando camping, and I codify the approaches that assure that you can, then you are not disturbing anything and are not creating a bad image for sea kayakers. It isn't a matter of not getting caught. It is a matter of being so inconspicious that you won't. For example, on the question of an open fire, I came down hard on that in the commando camping part of the Camping chapter. No open fires. A self contained camping stove fire is another thing. Again, what I stated in the book got a lot of comment from real life people who either have done a lot of multi-day kayak camping or bicycling. Perhaps my mistake was in openly discussing commando camping and codifying it. But I felt a lot of people don't know about just how low-impact you can get in camping. My book has a lot of off-beat things to say. Some people get worked up like the author of that webzine piece I cite. Others take it in stride and are thankful. Take your pick. But I do welcome the discussion. BTW when I had 10 acres of property in the Catskills I never posted no traspessing signs etc. I felt that I did not really own the trees, rocks and earth in my deed but only a right to build on it. Obviously I did not want someone to build open fires and burn down the trees. But I had an open fireplace on a large flat boulder that people were welcome to use. During hunting season, I would occasionally see signs that some hunters had used the woodpile to build a warming fire. I was not worked up over this. ralph diaz
Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 08:33:57 -0700 From: Dave Kruger Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior Well, I read her piece (http://www.paddling.net/sameboat/), and I have read Ralph's piece in his book about commando camping. If I were in a situation where I **had** to camp on private property, I'd ask, always, because only extreme fatigue or unsafe paddling conditions would cause me to bivouac on private land. And, I suspect there are few landowners who would deny me a safe harbour under those conditions. The boorish behaviour described in the article is a set piece for encouraging landowners to get their elected representatives to pass restrictive legislation on the use of riparian zones adjacent to streams and lakes. In Oregon, we have had a couple nasty fights over how the use of the "streambed" is regulated by law. Responsible paddlesport advocates (thank you, Steve and Cindy Scherrer of Alder Creek Kayak Supply) spent a lot of time and some of their money fending off restrictive legislation ... in exchange for educating the paddling public on good manners and presenting a good exterior to streamside landowners. Commando camping would not fit under that umbrella. In some parts of Washington (the San Juans, for example), shoreside landowners have had so many bad experiences with sea kayakers that they have put political pressure to work, restricting access to launch points, and in one case banding together to buy up the one primo beach on Shaw Island suitable for yak launching. (I should hasten to add this is not all the fault of sea kayakers. There is an "attitude" on the parts of many owners in the San Juans that sea kayakers are part of the "rabble." Can you say wealthy but not nice?) Using a private beach for illicit camping will only make this situation worse, and for that reason, I won't do it. -- Dave Kruger Astoria, OR
Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 From: Jerry Hawkins Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior I've been an occassional commando camper while backpacking and bicycling. You learn some techniques that make it more-or-less OK, even if you are discovered. The no open fires rule is the best and most obvious. Nothing will get you thrown out faster than building a fire on someone else's place. Some young adults I ran into on one trip were shocked that I spent most nights at legal campgrounds. They economized by commandoing at every opportunity. In much of the Pacific Northwest, there are small towns strung out every 5-10 miles or even further apart. Every town has a cemetary. They would find some tree covered spot on the edge of the cemetary and camp nearly every night. A brother and sister, about 19 and 17, told me their technique. Early in the evening the young lady would approach a nice house with an empty water container. She would ask to fill the water -- she was never refused. Then she would ask if there were camping spots anywhere nearby. She said that over 50% of the time she would be offered a lawn, or in some cases a trailer or a room for free. My own technique was more mundane. Look for a place with either no fences, or untended fences. Camp out of sight of both houses and roads. Leave absolutely no trace. Sometimes there would be surprises -- like cows surrounding the tent in the morning, or a fellow who stopped on the road which we were sure we were out of sight of, and asking, "you fellows want a better place to camp than that?" After camping we would try to leave at or even before dawn. The only problem I've ever experienced was one incident commando camping at a closed National Forest campground on the Klamath River. (We were biking, not paddling.) There is nothing like getting to the only campground for 20 miles and finding it unexpectedly closed. We quietly crossed the barrier and set up camp out of sight. About 8 guys from a motorcycle gang got roughly the same idea about 2 hours later, but after racing their bikes around and smashing some tequila bottles they got bored and left, thank goodness. jerry.
From: dmccarty Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior/Trespassing >> I think there are degrees of behavior. My advice of the need of commando camping was toward being unobtrusive and only when you have little choice in a long-range paddling situation. BTW, on the question of asking permission, I made a distinction in the book between asking permission to camp of a property owner in a remote area (my suggestion is always ask in such a situation) and in a populated area (my suggestion is not ask). I was thinking of vacation home people mainly in the latter. A farmer in a remote place will almost always say yes. A vacation home owner is more resentfully guarding of his property and will likely say no and call the sheriff or make a citizen's arrest. >> Hmmm. By and large I think I aggree with what you saying. I don't like the idea of commando camping at all but I understand the problem. I'll give my viewpoint as a landowner who is currently facing a similar problem with trespassers. My wifey and I just bought some land that is somewhat out in the country. The property is in the planning zone of a small town and our property ajoins a subdivision. It took us three years of looking and hard work to find this place. It will take many, many, more years of hard work to get the property into the condition of our dreams. Its also going to take some careful planning, saving, and managing of finances to pay for the land. I'm out on the property almost every week working. I mean working. Using a 25 pound chain saw is WORK. I mean WORK! I work out and run so I'm in at least some degree of fitness. Wearing trousers, long sleeve shirt, gloves, and chain saw chaps in high humidity/temps operating a chain saw will BEAT and EAT you. Clearing road ways, septic fields, driveways, yada yada yada is just plain hard work. You have to fight the ticks, the chiggers and the squeeters. Last Friday I wore the wrong socks and the $%^&*( chiggers got me again. I have about one hundred bites on my legs that have finally gone to the bleeding stage. This is actually good because you don't itch at this point. If you have never been lunch for chiggers you don't understand what itching is all about. Squeeter bites are NOTHING compared to chiggers. Chiggers itch for 3-4 days and I do mean itch. Itching so bad you have to take Benydral to get some sleep. You need a strong back and maybe a weak mind to work like this! 8-) I think most landowners become attached to their property. The more they own I think the more they are attached at least to a point. There is a VAST difference between how I feel about the house I own and the land I own. I value the land far more than the house. Working the land, sweating for it, itching/bleeding on it and in my case fighting to actually acquire the property brings a certain degree of closeness to the land. It also makes one a wee bit protective. 8-) Buying a house is easy. Very easy. Buying raw land requires working with soil engineers, agents. deceitful/stupid country officials, timber agents, loggers, lawyers, and very tough tax issues. And then there are the neighbors..... The land we bought has never been developed or farmed. It has only grown trees and wildlife. Well, there is the old still fire box that I found, but except for a bit of moonshine the boys made sometime in the past the property has only grown trees and wildlife. There is a subdivision fronting my property and a state road leads into the subdivision. State/county road responsibility ends and the road continues well up into my land. I and three others own various portions of the road and are responsible for its upkeep. When I bought the land you could not walk up the road due to the young pines and hardwoods that had grown over the road. I spent many a weekend clearing the trees from the right of way on my land with a trimmer and a chainsaw. WORK! Hard, hot, dangerous, dirty, tick/chigger infested work. Needless to say I'm not touching a paddle much this year..... 8-( Which finally brings me to the issues Ralph wants to discuss. Some of the neighbors have made it a point to come out and introduce themselves while I have been working. They are very nice people and are going to make great neighbors. Then there are The Others. In fact some have called the Sheriff because they did not like logging trucks using the public road. Huh? The road in question is a public road paid for by taxes. So trucks can't use it? The deputy got a good laugh out of the call. I have had other people just walk/drive right up MY road on MY land, passing me 10 feet away and not even saying hello! Not even looking at me and acknowledging my existence. That is just plain RUDE and DISRESPECTFUL. Its happened THREE times by different families. While working this weekend I had two more families who saw that the road was open, started down the road and then saw me and left. I was kinda hoping to meet them but they just left. Some of the people who have done this I know are using the road and my land for the own recreation yet they don't have the courtesy to introduce themselves and ask permission? To say I'm annoyed is an understatement. One or two people I can understand but five different families are so lacking in common courtesy? I have gone out of my way to be neighborly and even though the people who have come onto the property have acted rudely, I still have talked to them in a friendly manner. I certainly have not earned this rudeness. So.... The land is getting posted in the next couple of weekends. The people who have made it a point to be neighbors I told long ago they could walk the road if they so desired and that will not change. But the other people will be trespassed. Part of this is because of their rudeness but a larger concern is ....... The big bad LIABILITY issue. My understanding of North Carolina law is that there are three levels of liability for a landowner. The best and most efficient way for me to protect my investment in the property and my own family's finances is to post the land. This makes it very difficult for someone who is trespassing my property to sue me if a dead branch falls out of a tree and hits them on the head. If the land is NOT posted then they have a slightly better case against the land owner. If I charge someone to use the land in some manner then I am most exposed to liability lawsuits. Civility and politeness really goes far when trying to use someone elses property. Using and abusing someone's property as in the story of the dock owner in the article gives kayakers a bad name. But also understand the landowner have their own concerns and responsibilities.
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 From: Jackie Fenton Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior I second (or third) Dave and Bill's comments. If you only ask permission when you believe you will receive it and don't ask when you are pretty sure you aren't going to receive it, then the act of asking at all is meaningless. Folks' doors to their homes do not begin and end at a structure, imo (and also the opinion of their insurer and tax assessor). Neither should a kayaker's manners or respect for private property. Property owners have no way to determine who will leave no trace or will leave their trash and feces behind. How will it be determined that you were the group that left no trace or it was the group right behind you that decided not to ask and held a party in the same spot? Tamia Nelson makes a good point in her comment "If there's any better way to make enemies for paddlesport, I can't think of it." The law is almost always on the side of the property owner. If paddlers continue to disregard the laws, we will all pay the price. Regards, Jackie
From: "Seng, Dave" Subject: RE: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 A lot of good points on both sides of this subject have been made. One thing that I've gotten out of the discussion is that, like with so many other things, you need to carefully choose the time and place if you're going to attempt "commando camping". Trying to do it in high use, high profile areas (like the San Juan islands in Washington State) is probably not wise - both for you as an individual, and for the general reputation of paddlers, campers, hikers, bikers, and others who generally try to exercise no/low impact camping. In other places it's a lot more feasible. I don't think it's a black & white issue. Pick your spot, pick your time, and use some common sense. If you come visit us in SE Alaska you'll find that you can camp almost anywhere that you can find a flat enough (and dry enough!) spot for a tent - but just be aware that the local residents will _always_ know exactly where you're camped - and can exact a heavy toll for mistakes. Sometimes though - as in the recent BC wolf attack - they end up paying the price with _their_ lives. Dave Seng Juneau, Alaska
Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 From: Wes Boyd Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior At 11:23 AM 7/6/00 -0700, ralph diaz wrote: In general, I'd have to say that "commando" camping isn't a good idea. That is, in general -- there may be some specific exceptions. I'm going to head a little off-topic here. Until the end of last month, I was the editor of "North Star -- The Magazine of the North Country Trail". In that position, I got to know some memorable characters. One guy, in particular is as serious a hiker as I've ever known -- he spends upwards of 200 days a year on some trail or other, to the tune of several thousand miles a year. He is, as far as I know, the only person to have end-to-ended all eight of the National Scenic Trails (I'm not absoulutely sure about that -- a while back he hadn't done the Natchez Trace, but it was on his list and he's had the time). In addition, he's done several transcontinental walks, and hiked many other trails. His opinion is that it's impossible to do most of the National Scenic Trails without "stealth" camping, which he had done a lot of. On some "trails" -- such as the American Discovery, especially in the midwest, although the North Country has some long dry stretches -- it can be hundreds of miles between places where there's places to legally camp. We're talking pretty stealthy, too -- get in late, unroll the bivy, no cooking in camp, and be on the road by dawn. He has been known to ask permission, but he's spent many a night in a cornfield without anyone being the wiser. But, that's a long way from trashing a posted area, such as was mentioned in the first part of the paddlers.net article. Speaking for myself, I generally prefer to plan boat camping trips in places where there is adequate public land to allow legal camping. But, as Ralph points out, it isn't always the case. For instance, I've given some though to end-to-ending the Mississippi (I don't know where I'd ever find the time, but it's a fun intellectual exercise to consider.) In a situation like that, there are going to be plenty of places where it's necessary to stop, but where there aren't adequate public lands to be able to do so. And, in many places, it may be impossible to find someone to ask. My first choice in such a situation would be to find someone to ask, if possible -- "Any place around here where I can camp for the night?" -- but if the area is so uninhabited that there's no one to ask, and there's no posting of property, I'd probably not worry too much about it. >> "commando" camping. The whole point of using the term commando is to denote clearly that; like a commando you make your presence unknown while you are there and no trace of you remains after you leave. The term commando was picked with considerable thought. If one wants to emphasize the sneakiness of it that is fine. My point was the invisible presence a la commandos. >> My friend uses the term "stealth camping", which I think I prefer. Commando implies some sort of assault. But, it's your book. >> For example, on the question of an open fire, I came down hard on that in the commando camping part of the Camping chapter. No open fires. A self contained camping stove fire is another thing. >> Yeah, that has nothing to do with the concept. My hiking friend rarely even cooked in his overnight camp -- he felt there were better places. >> bicycling. Perhaps my mistake was in openly discussing commando camping and codifying it. But I felt a lot of people don't know about just how low-impact you can get in camping. My book has a lot of off-beat things >> I know the feeling. As the North Star editor, I several times thought about doing an article about "stealth camping", but figureed that I'd get enough static about it that I really shouldn't. No guts, I guess. >> BTW when I had 10 acres of property in the Catskills I never posted no traspessing signs etc. I felt that I did not really own the trees, rocks and earth in my deed but only a right to build on it. Obviously I >> There is much private property that is unposted for that reason. It's rarely advertised, since people don't want it known. Unfortunately, it's becoming less and less all the while -- and for obivous reasons. -- Wes
From: "Jack Fu" Subject: RE: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior - commando pooping Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 This may not be an appealing subject, but someone aught to bring it up. Even if you have a cat hole trowel and dig a deep enough hole and cover your poop and paper up with dirt afterwards, you still leave what I'll call for lack of a better word a disturbance of the land. A much better idea is to carry some heavy duty trash bags, do your number in one, and CARRY THE WHOLE THING OUT with you until you can find a proper way to dispose of it. As for fires, you should not build a fire on someone's property even if you are sure it cannot be seen. Put yourself in the property owner's place. Would you like strangers building fires on your land?
From: Kasia Subject: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 I've been reading with interest the E-conversation about what's been referred to as "commando" camping. Out here in Washington state I (and like-minded friends) call it "guerrilla camping." As a single woman paddler/cyclist/hiker/wanderer who often travels alone, I feel that it's generally safer for me to camp in a spot that pretty well conceals the fact that I'm there. I think it's generally safer for me to guerrilla-camp than it is for me to stay in a motel! When I camp, I pretty much take up a minimal amount of space -- just enough for me and my boat or pack or bike. It would never occur to me to start a fire or do anything else that would advertise that I was there. In fact, I rarely even set up a tent, not only because it could draw attention, but also because it would slow me down if for some reason I had to exit in a hurry. Anyway, I have never asked permission of anyone to stay anywhere, largely because I don't want people to know I'm sleeping out under the stars all by my lonesome. It's not that I don't think that it's a courtesy to ask permission, it's just that I'm less interested in courtesy than in in my own personal safety. Presumably none of you male paddlers ever have to think this way. I would like to note the difference in the terms used to describe this kind of camping. Webster's says a "commando" is "a member of a small fighting force specially trained for making quick, destructive raids." On the other hand, "guerrilla" is defined as "a member of an irregular force operating in small groups capable of great speed and mobility." I like to think that my secret camping has less to do with destructive raids than with speed and mobility! In fact, I often pick my guerrilla camping spot after dark (so as to ensure that the spot I've chosen doesn't turn out to be the local teenage party haunt, and also to reduce the chance that anyone will see me), and generally bug out by dawn. Any other women guerrilla campers out there?
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 From: Jackie Fenton Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping >> As a single woman paddler/cyclist/hiker/wanderer who often travels alone, I feel that it's generally safer for me to camp in a spot that pretty well conceals the fact that I'm there. >> And what do you plan to do when whomever it is you are hiding from finds you while you are out there all alone? I'm surprised at the number of people who think they are unobserved when in fact, locals often know you are there. Some react, some do not. If the owner doesn't know you are there at that time, often they find out later. Some are not amused. I've camped alone plenty of times in campgrounds and on public land and never felt threatened. I'd rather be visible to other campers than camped in a remote area alone where I was not supposed to be. I reserve the really remote primitive camping that I do on public land and away from campgrounds for those trips with myself and one or more other persons if I am concerned about my safety as a female paddler. >> Anyway, I have never asked permission of anyone to stay anywhere, largely because I don't want people to know I'm sleeping out under the stars all by my lonesome. It's not that I don't think that it's a courtesy to ask permission, it's just that I'm less interested in courtesy than in in my own personal safety. >> A lot of folks own land in remote areas because they, too, are seeking privacy and solitude far from the maddening crowd. I would say be aware that it is possible at some point an owner is going to decide to press charges and my guess would be that any court would have more sympathy to the owner's right to privacy on their own property than your need to feel safe while out exploring freedom through camping alone. Paddlers tresspassing to camp on private land without permission sounds like a good argument for boat registration. (sigh) Regards, Jackie
From: Bruce McC Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior >> Again, using the Hudson as an example, you can plan to cover x miles in a day but nature may conspire against you so that you won't reach the intended spot in time where you may have gotten permission or is a legal camp site >> Would this be an example of poor planning? Simple Rule Number 3 Leave yourself an out, have a plan B. >> Would this transfer to theft? If you are really good at it and don't get caught, is it still wrong? Emergency/survival situations are exceptions to most rules IMLTHO, but poor planning on my part should not be reason to violate someone else's rights. It is the self determination aspect of Ralph's suggestion that concerns me. I determine whether or not to trespass. I am sure that Ralph is/was a conscientious Commando Camper, but I may not be and the next CC may be less fastidious than I. Simple Rule Number 2 If it isn't yours, don't touch it without asking permission first. Simple Rule Number 1 (for those of you that are counting) Consider the effect of your action on the surrounding community prior to committing the action. (Ripple Effect) Bruce McC WEO
From: Joe Brzoza Subject: RE: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 I myself have participated in "Commando Camping" while biking a rather long rail-trail. We were in what I'd describe as "the boonies", no one in sight, hadn't seen an inhabited house for hours. At the end of the day when we had exhausted ourselves we pretty much pedaled until we found a suitable flat spot and crashed. The only impact was maybe a flat spot in the grass, no scat holes or trash left behind. We treated this camp spot better than if it were our own property. I certainly can't speak for all land owners, but I would like to think that as long as property is treated with respect and care, most owners wouldn't be upset by this occasional use. Heck if you take such care that they never become aware perhaps that's even better. Joe
From: "O'Leary, Keith P" Subject: RE: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 >> From: Seng, Dave you need to carefully choose the time and place if you're going to attempt "commando camping". Trying to do it in high use, high profile areas (like the San Juan islands in Washington State) is probably not wise - >> Dave drills it on this one. I'm a "reformed" commando camper. I learned my lesson when I couldn't get into a campsite in Washington State peninsula. I began driving around and found an old road littered with appliances and other forms of garbage. Darkness was approaching fast, and I didn't have time to be choosy, so I found a spot and crawled in the canopy of my pickup. Three hours later I awoke to the sounds of a megaphone and looked up to see a double-barreled shotgun pointing at me. The old road was being staked out by local police who were trying to nab the culprit littering the road. Unfortunately I was the victim of mistaken identity, but it was an experience I don't wish to repeat.
From: Kasia Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 >> About 20 Years ago I guerrilla camped while on a bicycle trip around Lake Michigan and into Canada. It was a lot of fun and a wonderful adventure, but the greatest thing about it was the feeling of freedom. >> Yah, that's the thing! We all have so little freedom in our lives anymore, ya know? And isn't that a lot of what we're seeking by exploring under our own power in boats, on bikes, and on foot? I generally guerrilla-camp as a rule and a plan, and only use campgrounds or official campsites when necessary, convenient, or to protect the natural environment. After all, showers are a good thing.... Of course, on frequently-used hiking trails in the mountains, I wouldn't think of squishing a garden of lovely wildflowers when there is a perfectly good denuded patch of hard packed mud to sleep on! ;-) I disagree that guerrilla camping is theft. Like Joe Brzoza, all I leave is a little flat patch in the grass. And I also agree with the serious backpacker who never even cooks at his guerrilla camping spots... I think that's really in the true spirit of low-impact camping. Someone in a previous message said they think few people really understand how low-impact camping can really be. I think that's very true. Although I have to admit that when camping with friends at our local Cascadia Marine Trail sites here in Puget Sound, I do get a kick out of all the cool stuff my friends can cram into their boats... BBQs, lounge chairs, cakes, pies, coolers filled with steaks and beer.... When I pack for camping -- even at an honest-to-God, paid-for campsite -- I would never even think to bring such things! But don't get me wrong.... when they pull all those goodies out of their boats, I think to myself, "Why didn't I think of bringing that?!" And of course, I'm not opposed to steak handouts...... :-) Bruce is right... not everyone is a conscientious guerrilla camper. I guess that's why I don't talk a whole lot about guerrilla camping to folks who don't already do it (besides, I wouldn't want them to find and take over my own favorite spots.....!). I'm confident that my friends who engage in this secret pasttime do take very good care of the 5x10 spaces they occupy for six or eight hours. As for the yahoos who are actually engaging in "commando partying" and leave their beer cans, cig butts and trash behind.... well, I doubt any of those types are even in on this conversation! Happy guerrilla camping!
Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 From: ralph diaz Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior Terms like guerrilla camping and stealth camping are better. I hit on commando camping for its alliterative aspect. When the book first came out I ran into the editor of Messing About In Boats, Bob Hicks, whom I know from symposia and other venues. He said when he saw it he told his wife "Gee, and Ralph Diaz seemed like such a law-abiding individual." :-) As some one said here in such stealth camping you pick your time and place. I know of some not-so-stealthy examples. Years ago when I worked near the UN, my two mile walk to work each day took me through Central Park past Sheep's Meadow in the southwestern part of the park. One day I spotted a tent smack in the middle of Sheep's Meadow. Two park rangers were rapping on the aluminum frame to wake the guy up. The sun was bright that morning and I could see his silohuette clearly inside the tent; he seemed startled to be discovered. From his head scratching he seemed to be thinking to himself "this sure seemed to be a quiet meadow when I pitched my tent". :-) A similar thing happened to a friend when he paddled up the Hudson a decade ago. One night he found what seemed a quite spot where he pulled up about midnight. The next morning the local constable was rapping on his tent. Seems it was the town square!! (The constable was so intrigued by his kayak and kayaking trip that he bought him coffee and donuts.) I suppose this type of camping might be termed clown camping :-) ralph -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Ralph Diaz . . . Folding Kayaker newsletter PO Box 0754, New York, NY 10024 Tel: 212-724-5069; E-mail: rdiaz@ix.netcom.com "Where's your sea kayak?"----"It's in the bag." -----------------------------------------------------------------------
From: "Larry Bliven" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 From: Seng, Dave >> If you come visit us in SE Alaska you'll find that you can camp almost anywhere that you can find a flat enough (and dry enough!) spot for a tent - but just be aware that the local residents will _always_ know exactly where you're camped - and can exact a heavy toll for mistakes. Sometimes though - as in the recent BC wolf attack - they end up paying the price with _their_ lives. >> as winter set in a few years ago, i went for a paddle at one of my regular sites... after awhile, i saw another guy.. wanting solitude, i tried to out run him.. but he was in better shape than me. so we met and that was the start of a friendship... he is from a Norwegian family. hats of hi to some dark-side paddlers. Today i discussed the BC wolf attack with an 80 yr young retired prof from MIT who also has as Norwegian heritage... he told me that when attacked, some hikers use their stick to club wolfs across the back (to break it) or hit them in the jaw. hopefully i wil be able to show Eric MC some remote locations this weekend. so, i see some wisdom in paddling gently and sleeping with a sturdy paddle. bye bye bliven
From: Mark Lane Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Sea Kayakers Behavior Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 >> BTW, on the question of asking permission, I made a distinction in the book between asking permission to camp of a property owner in a remote area (my suggestion is always ask in such a situation) and in a populated area (my suggestion is not ask). I was thinking of vacation home people mainly in the latter. A farmer in a remote place will almost aways say yes. A vacation home owner is more resentfully guarding of his property and will likely say no and call the sheriff or make a citizen's arrest. >> I think this statement is pretty far afield from reality. In fact, I think it's total nonsense. I grew up in rural NC, lived for years on Martha's Vineyard in Mass (in a very wealthy area along the coastd), and now live in NY, but have vacation property in Maine. My Maine property is right along the coast, in Rockport, in an area where the MITA doesn't really have any good landings. For myself, I'm delighted to have kayakers land on my beach (which they do), and eat, hang out, whatever. I think most of the people along that coastline -- and this is a very wealthy coastline of "vacation homes" of great value -- would feel the same way. My experiences kayaking up and down this coast confirm this. People are delighted to see us, wave and beckon, and are very welcoming, even though they don't know I am really one of their neighbors. All they see is kayaks and people and they are warm and welcoming. In short, the "vacation home" owners I know are wonderfully welcoming people, and are receptive to kayakers (and other recreational users) along their beaches. I quite frankly think there is a prejudice against people who have "vacation homes" based on resentment and class-based anger, and I think it is totally unfounded and irrational. OTOH, I do agree that rural people are also often very welcoming. I've had plenty of experiences that back this up, all over the US. Here in Maine, the rural people I have met have been wonderfully welcoming, genuine, friendly and helpful. As for "commando camping" -- bad news. Bad news all around. If you can possibly find the owners, or residents, ask. I can tell you, as I indicated above, I am DELIGHTED to have paddlers come ashore on my property and camp, etc. But if I am around and available and they were to do so in a "commando" mode, without asking, I'd resent it and be pissed. All you have to do is show a little civility. All you have to do is show a little respect for the property owner. If you can't find it in you to do that, . . . well, maybe you're not welcome after all. And if enough jerks treat me and my land that way, well. . . maybe eventually no one will be welcome. So, my view: take a few minutes to scout around and find a way to politely ask. I really like the idea, mentioned earlier, that someone comes to the house and asks to fill a water container. Chances are anyone doing that at my "vacation house" will be offered a hot meal, a warm bed, and hot shower, a drive into town for any needed supplies, and general warmth and hospitality. Anyone sneaking around and thinking they are "commados" may be tolerated but will be resented and will in the end harm the situation for everyone. So. My two cents worth. Back to lurk mode. . . Mark Lane
From: "Merijn Wijnen" Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping The law is not always against the commando camper. Once I and my girlfriend were cycling in brittain, and could not find any legal campsite. We were about 40 miles north of Londen, in a fairly populated area, so commando camping was out of the question. Meanwhile the wether detoriated, and it was getting dark, so we decided to ask for a (legal) campsite at a local police station. The cops didn't know any legal campsites nearby, and proposed to show us the local park to pitch up our tent. But t was a not so smal city so my girlfriend was concerned about gangs of the local youth, and also it was really pouring down, so I asked for another solution. Then the cops offered us there interogation room for the night. Only if they would pick up somebody we would have to move out. The result: a good night of sleep, and dry wether next morning. And it is quite interesting to watch their reaction when you tell people that you once had to spend a night at a police station! Greetings, Merijn ****************************** Merijn Wijnen Web-site: http://www.music.demon.nl
Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2000 From: ralph diaz Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping I had an analogous experience while commando camping on the Hudson. We pulled up at a spot that actually was suggested to us by a park official who we know which was not legal but okay according to him. Well, we were set up when a parks enforcement cop came by saying we shouldn't be there. Using the name of the parks guy who said it was okay cut no ice with this enforcement fellow. He asked us to paddle on to another spot about 3 miles downriver also not legal. But the currents were against us and we had already done about 35 miles that day. He then looked us over again, saw we were real low impact and then said it was okay but was worried about all the kids who tended to hang out in the area drinking and shooting up. He said if they bothered us to go to the enforcement office. So in a sense we were now under the official protection of the park police in an illegal spot! This whole commando camping discussion has been quite a revelation. People who I thought would find it okay seem strongly against. And some of those who I thought would be against seemed to be okay on it. Also I was quite surprised over how black and white some people saw it particularly the vehemence of some of those advocating the sanctity of private property. I think a lot has to do with the area involved. For example, those in the Northwest seem most sensitive about it probably because of the flack over overuse of the San Juans and such by kayakers. There are very good reasons not to commando camp in such sensitive areas. Elsewhere, though, I think it is a different matter. I am also surprised to see that some people see little difference between 20 paddlers pulling up on a person's front lawn to defecate, pee, break tree branches for an open fire and a paddler or two pulling in to a quiet corner at dusk, paddling off at dawn and leaving not a mark on the place. It's like the difference in basketball between an intentional foul and a no harm no foul call. Perhaps this is a discussion to have over a campfire at a legal kayak campsite that permits open fires, a site blessed with woodchip padded paths to clean latrines and wooden tent platforms, running water and showers etc. Unfortunately there are not many of these around. ralph diaz -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Ralph Diaz . . . Folding Kayaker newsletter PO Box 0754, New York, NY 10024 Tel: 212-724-5069; E-mail: rdiaz@ix.netcom.com "Where's your sea kayak?"----"It's in the bag."
From: Kasia Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2000 >> And what do you plan to do when whomever it is you are hiding from finds you while you are out there all alone?< >> Are you suggesting that because I'm a woman, I shouldn't be out alone? I'm not going to let worries about "what might happen" keep me from living my life. But just like everyone else -- men included -- I need to be conscious of safety. It's kind of like that discussion about not leaving food or toothpaste in your tent to reduce the chance that a bear will identify you as a tasty morsel. Of course, folks travelling in bear country have been known to carry a gun for protection. Maybe I should think about getting a gun permit! ;-) Anyway, if a campground is busy and full, then sure, it's likely safe to camp there as a woman alone. But if the only other occupants are a bunch of guys with a cooler full of beer, I'll pass, thanks. Really, I can't remember the last time I camped in a busy campground. That would sort of imply that I was car-camping, and I'd still prefer a guerrilla camping spot where I can sleep in the back of my station wagon, rather than a crowded, noisy campground filled with blaring radios and screaming kids! to catching a few z's in the woods, it appears some folks think that guerrilla camping means setting up a tent on someone's lawn and hoping the property owner won't notice. Believe me, it's not impossible to find a place to sneak a sleep without folks knowing about it. As a transplanted East Coaster (Chesapeake Bay region), I appreciate that out West here it's a heckuva lot easier to find a secluded spot to snooze. If one is truly practicing "low-impact guerrilla camping" -- no fires, no noise, no brush-clearing or wood-chopping, etc. -- I don't know what the difference is between sleeping for eight hours and stopping unseen on someone's property to take a pee, to have lunch or to take a mid-day snooze break. While I have lots of friends with whom I enjoy getting outdoors, I find I'm most connected with my environment and more open to my experience of life when I'm alone. Jackie suggested that even travelling with one other woman is safer than a woman travelling alone, but I doubt that's true. And don't get me wrong... having a man around can be handy -- they can lift heavy stuff, open tight jars, and some can even cook! ;-) -- and there are definitely places where it's safer to travel with a man in tow (I'm thinking particularly of some international destinations). I have one particular male friend who is a champion guerrilla camper. Together we'd found some really primo places to nod off. In all our backcountry adventures, we have never once stayed in an official camping spot. I apologize to all of you out there who view me a rogue. Any other hard-core guerrilla campers lurking? I know you're out there!!!! Being your usual stealthy selves.......
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 From: Jackie Fenton Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping >> Are you suggesting that because I'm a woman, I shouldn't be out alone? I'm >> Not only did I not suggest that, I stated I have traveled and camped as a lone female myself on numerous occasions... in the US and overseas. >> not going to let worries about "what might happen" keep me from living my life. But just like everyone else -- men included -- I need to be conscious of safety. >> Those that know me personally know that I live my life that way (not allowing worries about what might happen preventing me from experiencing life). But I also think it is not wise to camp on private property without asking permission or deliberately avoiding asking permission because you fear the owner will say no. If you do so, be prepared for the consequences. Unfortunately, it may have impact on the rest of us. You continue to refer to your gender as an issue of safety and why you won't tell the property owner you are camping on their property for your own safety. *Your* safety is not all that is at issue here. These days, there are many single female property owners that live out in the "boonies" (I was one for many years). A lone individual unannounced and uninvited spending time on my property (I'm talking 20 acres in an area with similar acreage and more for property owners... not a small front lawn in a subdivision) was a cause of concern for me because past experience meant 50% were there for the view... my place was elevated with a spectacular view of the hill country... and 50% were up to no good. Hard for me (and other property owners) to know who was which until it was too late. And it isn't only the single female property owners that become concerned about their safety. Several hundred acres were burned near me along with a home and two outbuildings when a camper decided to fire up a camp stove during high-risk fire season. *We* don't know what *you* are up to. We can't know unless you ask and give us a chance to say "please be our guest, no camp stoves, ok? and you'll find the water spicket by the back door, so help yourself." >> Anyway, if a campground is busy and full, then sure, it's likely safe to camp there as a woman alone. But if the only other occupants are a bunch of guys with a cooler full of beer, I'll pass, thanks. >> What campgrounds are you referring to? The national parks and state parks that I'm familiar with have a no-alcohol policy with park rangers on duty. I repeat, I have never felt threatened when camped in public campgrounds and I have found plenty of campgrounds, even in California at the right time of year, that are virtually empty except for the ranger on patrol. >> If one is truly practicing "low-impact guerrilla camping" -- no fires, no noise, no brush-clearing or wood-chopping, etc. -- I don't know what the difference is between sleeping for eight hours and stopping unseen on someone's property to take a pee, to have lunch or to take a mid-day snooze break. >> You will get no argument from me about low-impact camping. I'm a strong proponent of low-impact camping. The issue is tresspassing and respect for property owners and the fall-out that disregarding that respect might have on the paddling community at large. To some property owners, 20 at one time or one-at-a-time over 20 visits still means the same thing... you are there without permission and invading *their* privacy. If you show common courtesy and ask permission, then they are aware of your intentions and most likely will be happy to allow you to camp (I agree with Mark and I think most owners would be quite hospitable when shown due respect and asked which leaves a much better impression about our sport). >> Jackie suggested that even travelling with one other woman is safer than a woman travelling alone, but I doubt that's true. >> No, I did not say that. I said if I had concerns about being a lone female traveler to primitive camping grounds, I would reserve those trips to go with another paddler or paddlers. It just happens that they have been with males or a combination males and females. >> And don't get me wrong... having a man around can be handy -- they can lift heavy stuff, open tight jars, and some can even cook! ;-) -- and there are definitely places where it's safer to travel with a man in tow (I'm thinking particularly of some international destinations). >> Which basically punctuates the point I made previously.... what do you plan to do when whomever it is you are hiding from finds you as you are camped out alone? It has happened. I'm afraid you are lulling yourself into a sense of false security by thinking you are always stealth. There have been examples here where other paddlers were sure they were stealth camping only to find out the next day they were not. I will repeat what I said earlier, many who think they are unobserved are mistaken. Regards, Jackie
From: Kasia Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2000 >> Ralph wrote: I think a lot has to do with the area involved. For example, those in the Northwest seem most sensitive about it probably because of the flack over overuse of the San Juans and such by kayakers. >> Ralph, you are so right! I can hardly picture a successful guerrilla camping trip in the San Juans, except perhaps in winter. Most of Puget Sound is crowded with waterfront homes, and certainly if I needed to bivouac beside the dock on someone's front lawn, I'd be asking for permission. >> I am also surprised to see that some people see little difference between 20 paddlers pulling up on a person's front lawn to defecate, pee, break tree branches for an open fire and a paddler or two pulling in to a quiet corner at dusk, paddling off at dawn and leaving not a mark on the place. >> Yeah, big difference there. However, I do have a photo of myself and a friend (another intrepid female paddler) posing in front of a particularly rude "no tresspassing" sign on the shoreline somewhere here in south Puget Sound. I hesitate to admit this to you folks lest you imagine I'm one of those obnoxious kayakers of dubious fame, but in fact we went out of our way to land on that beach to take a photo with that sign. What I thought was amusing was that the property owner seemed to be trying to keep people off a little strip of sticky mud, as it was sort of a cliff there and not even a hint of a spot to sleep on at high tide! It's not as though they were trying to keep us off their lovely lawn or even an enticing woodland. And there's no way the spot could be used as a party spot or anything. Anyway, we really only landed long enough to take the photo, but I confess we were just irked by that sign. >> Perhaps this is a discussion to have over a campfire >> OK, who's plannin' the trip?! :-)
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 From: Jackie Fenton Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping >> Yeah, big difference there. However, I do have a photo of myself and a friend (another intrepid female paddler) posing in front of a particularly rude "no tresspassing" sign on the shoreline somewhere here in south Puget Sound. I hesitate to admit this to you folks lest you imagine I'm one of those obnoxious kayakers of dubious fame, but in fact we went out of our way to land on that beach to take a photo with that sign. >> I avoided no-tresspassing signs on my property for a long time but decided I had no choice when I found a pile of beer bottles and cigarette butts on my property during a particularly dry season. I fought one fire out there with neighbors and really didn't want to fight another. In some places (don't know about your area) one measure a property owner has for protecting themselves from losing their property to civil lawsuit in case a tresspasser becomes injured on their property is to post it with "No Tresspassing" signs. Just an fyi. Jackie
From: (Bob Myers) Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping >> Yeah, big difference there. However, I do have a photo of myself and a friend (another intrepid female paddler) posing in front of a particularly rude "no trespassing" sign on the shoreline somewhere here in south Puget Sound. I hesitate to admit this to you folks lest you imagine I'm one of those obnoxious kayakers of dubious fame, >> It does indeed come to mind. >> but in fact we went out of our way to land on that beach to take a photo with that sign. What I thought was amusing was that the property owner seemed to be trying to keep people off a little strip of sticky mud, as it was sort of a cliff there and not even a hint of a spot to sleep on at high tide! It's not as though they were trying to keep us off their lovely lawn or even an enticing woodland. And there's no way the spot could be used as a party spot or anything. Anyway, we really only landed long enough to take the photo, but I confess we were just irked by that sign. >> So let me get this straight. You not only don't ask people's permission to camp on their land, you specifically go out of your way to trespass when they specifically ask you not to? You definitely sound pretty obnoxious to me. Oh, I forgot, you're "intrepid". -- Bob Myers
From: Mark Lane Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2000 [Chuckle] Right on, Bob. I had the same reaction. Kasia, you're coming off as rather rude yourself, in my not-so-humble opinion. I hope you don't resort to having your photo taken in front of no trespassing signs in my area -- my neighbors will find that fairly offensive, and it's just the kind of thing that will inspire them (and perhaps me) to take greater measures to prohibit trespassing. In other words, your conduct is injurious to us all. Grow up a little, will ya. Mark
From: "Philip Torrens" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commando" Camping Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2000 An interesting (to me) perspective to the discussion on "commando camping". I keep my single sea kayak and my whitewater boat in a community boathouse which local paddlers rent from the city. When I go to access my boats I often find "street people" sleeping in the recessed boathouse doorway, taking shelter against the heavy Vancouver rains. These people are not "commando camping" for fun or sport - they have no homes, and I am generally very sympathic to their situation. However, just as the private property owner's attitude towards kayak campers varies with the conduct of the "guests", so my attitude varies with the way these visitors deport themselves. Most are very polite and civil, but a few leave behind newspapers (their "bedding"), empty bottles and cans, and a strong smell of urine, necessitating a clean-up and hose-down of the area. These thoughtless ones may eventually ruin an otherwise congenial "dual-use" of the doorway, if the abuse results in the installation of a folding gate which would block access for the "innocent" sleepers. Philip Torrens N4916' W12306'
From: "Seng, Dave" Subject: RE: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Date: Fri, 7 Jul >> -----Original Message----- From: Bob Myers >> OK - here's a virtual bucket of cold salt water from Alaska on the subject. (that oughta cool off those keyboards!(grin)) It's clear that there are widely divergent views held by different parties and there are probably more variables involved than any of us would want to try to think about. I vote to drop this line of discussion and move on to more productive avenues.... Dave Seng Juneau, Alaska
Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2000 17:59:53 From: Wes Boyd Subject: RE: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Fine with me. Which would you prefer? - -- rudder vs. no rudder? - -- feathered vs. nonfeathered vs. Inuit? - -- plastic vs. fiberglass? - -- or even, roll/paddle float vs. sponsons? ;-) - -- Wes
Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2000 From: ralph diaz Subject: [Paddlewise] Commando Camping Since I am responsible for starting this general thread I would like to make clearer my position, which was both stated and implied in my book. Here is what I practice based on my own experience and which are the tenets of the conscientious commando camper: Here is a pecking order of property I would camp on if I could not find anything legal to stop at: First, Railroad right of way property or utilities property. Abandoned factory land, wide expanses of undeveloped land, etc. are also a first choice. Your are traspassing but if your actions don't interfere with the workings of the place, then what is the harm? I would most definitely stay away from range towers and on-land bouys where your camping might interfere with its operation or be construed that way by the Coast Guard (Think I am kidding. Two guys got hit with some heavy fines when they camped on Mill Rock, a stopover spot for round-Manhattan paddlers. There is an aid to navigation there steering ships through the tricky Hell Gate area. The Coast Guard nabbed them probably for hanging their wash on the aid.) Next or on the same order as the first above, would be parkland, off in a corner somewhere or a bit of an island or isolated peninsula away from paths and roads. An amazing amount of such exists along the shores of most bodies of water. Again this is a violation but if you do no harm. If you are being sensible in your camping practices and you do get found by a ranger, your luck will likely be like mine. They will say okay. Next, if it had to be really private property, I would opt for one that seemed owned by a local AND I would most definitely ask permission regardless of what I expected they might say. Locals tend to be aware when you are around and so it is safest to ask them. I stated all of this in my book, i.e. locals being aware of you and going to ask them permission. They are also the most likely to say yes. But if they say no, then paddle on. You should not defy them. Lastly, I would opt for private property owned as vacation homes here in the East. This type of person is never going to give you permission, believe me. If that was all that was available, then I would do so without asking. This is a biased opinion of mine based on what I have seen of such landowners, Mark Lane excepted who seems most generous with his stretch of land on the Maine coast. BUT surely one of the other categories presented above would lend itself to camping and you could almost always find such before resorting to the last type. I apologize for the discussion focusing so much on the individual private owner and the question of asking permission. It is a rare occasion that I and any sensible commando camper would choose such a site. We are not out there to defy authority and property rights. We are out there to get along with our surroundings and to be as unobtrusive as we can. You would have to be pretty desperate and dog-tired or fleeing some nasty weather before being forced into the position of camping on the land owned by an individual. The real issue is that there is so little legal camping spots along some of the best paddling waters. So support water trail organizations to see to it that more spots open up. ralph diaz -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Ralph Diaz . . . Folding Kayaker newsletter PO Box 0754, New York, NY 10024 Tel: 212-724-5069; E-mail: rdiaz@ix.netcom.com "Where's your sea kayak?"----"It's in the bag." -----------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Mark "Sailboat Restorations, Inc. Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2000 >> Jackie wrote: In some places (don't know about your area) one measure a property owner has for protecting themselves from losing their property to civil lawsuit in case a tresspasser becomes injured on their property is to post it with "No Tresspassing" signs. >> This is exactly right. I know plenty of people who put up no trespassing signs solely because the absence of them can be relevant in any liability determination. It's unfortunate. I have resisted putting up the signs myself, and most of my neighbors along the coast have, as well (obnoxious vacation home owners that they are (g)). The signs themselves deface the nature beauty of the place, but some people do feel the need to have them. There is an old trail that runs along the coast from Rockland to Rockport -- or at least it used to run that distance -- which crosses my property and that of lots of other people. For the fairly nice stretch from Rockport out a couple of miles, I know of only two people who have put up no trespassing signs. In one case, I believe it was for liability reasons, and folks do walk the trail across that piece. In other case, it is my understanding that the owner really does not want people to walk the property. It's sad, because the trail is very beautiful. There is also a Nature Conservancy piece nearby where the trail can be accessed (legally -- there is even a trailhead marker with maps) from the road. I have found it pleasing to see that so many of the "vacation home owners" along the stretch have no objection to keeping the trail open to those who wish to walk along the shore. If you land your kayak here, it can be a nice stroll. Mark
From: Mark "Sailboat Restorations, Inc." Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Commando Camping Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2000 ralph wrote about his views of commando camping, providing some very thoughtful ideas. Among them, he wrote: >> Next or on the same order as the first above, would be parkland, off in a corner somewhere or a bit of an island or isolated peninsula away from paths and roads. An amazing amount of such exists along the shores of most bodies of water. Again this is a violation but if you do no harm. If you are being sensible in your camping practices and you do get found by a ranger, your luck will likely be like mine. They will say okay. >> The only thing I would add to this -- and I don't mean to come off as sanctimonious here -- is that if a parkland (or even private land) *is* designated as a no-camping area (which you may not know just by wandering onto it) it *could* be because it is a nesting ground or breeding area for some animal (or plant) that might be seriously harmed by your presence. Example: I recently landed on a tiny (uninhabited) island in an inland lake -- for no particular reason other than it seemed like a fun thing to do (and to take a pee). Once I was out of the boat, I saw two loon eggs carefully tucked up next to a tree at the edge of the shore. Looking around, I saw the loons out in the water. I felt sick inside. As quickly and quietly as I could, I launched and moved on, praying that my landing would not have any impact on the nest. I did see the loons a couple of days later still guarding the spot, so I think it is OK. But it would be very easy, I believe, for a landing to result in the loss of the two eggs -- a great loss -- they are such amazingly beautiful birds. Just a thought. . . not meant to make any kind of point, really. . . Mark
From: "Matt Broze" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commando" Camping Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2000 A true guerrilla camper would not be advertising the technique (or their favorite camping spots). I couldn't believe that Ralph wrote about it in his book. This is roughly equivalent of writing an article in the newspaper describing your secret (but illegal) fishing hole. Not only will hundreds of fishermen descend on it and ruin the fishing but the game warden will be there waiting to arrest them to teach them a lesson. Best sometimes to just keep your mouth shut and your pen holstered. A kayaker in real need will figure out what they need to do. We don't need to encourage new paddlers to break the law by describing how it is done and romanticizing it. The major problem that has made kayakers unwelcome in the San Juans was not guerrilla camping. Campsites were relatively plentiful (at least until the Water Trails organization sold them down the river). The problem is the fact that most of the beaches in the San Juans are really the public's property (usually to the high tide line). The owners of the uplands have always treated the beaches as though they owned them. They could keep terrestrial tourists off them by limiting access and by putting pressure on their neighbors to do the same. So to prevent an invasion from the sea (and more kayakers taking a stroll down that public beach in front of their house when they can't legally just go get the shotgun and fire a few warning shots over their "No trespassing" signs and the kayakers beyond them) they must devise more sinister methods. They have sought to put their "property" out of reach of most kayakers, just like they did with earthbound tourists, by organizing to limit a kayaker's access to the water anywhere on "their" islands. They have been quite successful at this and now every access point I used to use from the ferry has been closed. This is too bad because kayakers mostly need to now take their cars on the ferry to get access to the water. Matt Broze (who tries very hard not to be a guerrilla kayak camper but realizes that on occasion there is not really any other sane choice) http://www.marinerkayaks.com
Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2000 From: Jackie Fenton Subject: RE: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping >> From: "Seng, Dave" OK - here's a virtual bucket of cold salt water from Alaska on the subject. that oughta cool off those keyboards!(grin)) It's clear that there are widely divergent views held by different parties and there are probably more variables involved than any of us would want to try to think about. I vote to drop this line of discussion and move on to more productive avenues.... >> Some may be uncomfortable with the direction of this discussion but the issue is an important one and may determine what areas will be open (or not) to paddlers for kayak camping. The issue of kayakers rudely thumbing their noses at property rights of owners is where this discussion began (the article by Tamia Nelson). I think Bob is perfectly within line to express concern, even distate, at the rude behavior of a kayaker who brags about that behavior here on PaddleWise. The rude actions of kayakers towards private property owners is an issue we should *all* be concerned with because, as Ralph pointed out, camping locations are getting more and more sparse in many areas. Property owners are getting fed up as Dave Kruger noted by banding together to buy up kayak launch points and convince officials to restrict access to launch points. I hope the kayaker and her friend were not seen but probably were. Irresponsible and rude jet skiiers have gotten *all* jet skiiers banned from numerous areas as the responsible jet skiiers waited until it was too late to speak up. Shocked and surprised to discover that it is possible to lose access to favorite jetski spots, they are now attempting to put pressure on their peers to change the bad behavior but in many cases, it's too little too late. We need to do something now or we will find that we kayakers will be welcomed less and less and, in some places, outright banned. Regards, Jackie
From: Mark "Sailboat Restorations, Inc." Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2000 >> Rich (responding about a shoreside trail that crosses my land) wrote: I'm not a lawyer but I do understand that many states recognized established rights of way. If people have been using the trail regularly for 15(?) years, it becomes a right of way. The land owner has his restricted rights in such cases. >> Of course, many states recognize some form of adverse possession or other principle that can result in a public right of way due to usage over time. In the case of my land, that has not happened. It's an issue I'm very familiar with (unlike Rich, I am a lawyer, BTW -- although I suspect Rich chose the wiser professional course ). Without getting into the legal doctrine, there are a number of issues that are generally relevant, including the concept of the usage being "adverse." Permitted use does not result in adverse possession. There are many other issues. I respond here mainly because this is a subject that could be relevant to paddlers. . . . But I won't get into in detail at this time. . . BTW, I have been thinking for years of working on a compendium of laws relating to public access to waterways. It would be written for for the non-lawyer (ie, the paddler, rower, sailor, swimmer, etc). I'd welcome any thoughts you guys might have about the usefulness of such a book. . . Mark Lane
From: "Donald R. Reid" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2000 I've been following this train of thought for the last several days .... Mark Lane and Rich Beatty have brought up the subject of some form of adverse possession or other principle that can result in a public right of way due to usage over time. I have lived in Brazil off and on for over 20 years ... and it is very interesting there in the fact that all marine land is considered public domain from 15 - 25 meters from the high water line. There all no private beaches .... they belong to the people of Brazil ... called 'marine land'. There are no fences allowed on 'marine land'. There are some cases where I wouldn't want to argue that point with some indian tribes, or ranchers that have been 'invaded' by the MST (Sem Terra movement), or in areas along the borders with Columbia, Venezuela, or Bolivia frequented by 'drug smugglers' .... (the biggest problem that I see from them is the wakes from their high speed boats ... they slow down for no one). Brazilians are actually very ecology minded .... and the novelty of kayakers or canoers arriving somewhere ... leads to a hospitality unequaled anywhere in the world. We are in the process of launching a kayak tour operation in Brazil this winter (target date December 15), and all of the guides that we have selected to work with us are avid ecologists, some actually work for the government (their normal 'day job') in that field. My 'gut feeling' that anyone that travels that far to explore new waters is probably like minded. (http://www.andetur.com/Brazil/Projects/sea_kayak.htm) Capt. Donald R. Reid - Director International Professional Member - Association for International Business Brazil Destination Specialist Escorted Tour Specialist
From: "Phares Heindl" Subject: [Paddlewise] Adverse Posession- Wekiva River Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2000 I think it takes at least 7 years of use here in Florida. It would be hard to commando camp that long. Along the Wekiva the doctrine did not work. There were squatter cabins along the river. The state successfully evicted despite claims of adverse possession. I do not know the details. My website has a nice photo of the Wekiva, a spring fed river in Central Florida if you wish to take a look. Great place to visit in the middle of winter. Water 72 degrees all year. Phares Heindl Phares M. Heindl P. A. Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer Altamonte Springs, Florida Web: www.heindllaw.com
Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2000 10:15:45 -0700 From: "Robert C. Cline" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Adverse Posession- Wekiva River In Texas, one cannot claim adversely against the state. Robert
From: Mark "Sailboat Restorations, Inc." Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Adverse Posession- Wekiva River Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 Adverse possession does not work on government land. The old phrase (which shows how old the doctrine is) is: "Time does not run against the King." You can squat on govt land forever and you will never have rights in the land. As for the time, it varies from state to state. Seven years is pretty short. Most states have more like 10 to 20. The use must be open and notorious, adverse to the owner, and continuous. If an owners suffers that for the legally required time, the "squatter" can become the owner. It applies to entire spreads of property just as much as it does to that 2 foot strip next to your driveway (put up a fence and in 20 years you'll own that strip (g)). Those are the basics. Mark Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 From: Ira Adams It used to be that way in Australia as well. Don't know how it is these days, but from my last trip to Queensland I seem to recall Japanese resort developments that had closed off public access to sections of beach, so perhaps the laws have changed. Or my recollection may be faulty. Maybe someone in Oz could bring us up to date. Ira >> I have lived in Brazil off and on for over 20 years ... and it is very interesting there in the fact that all marine land is considered public domain from 15 - 25 meters from the high water line. There all no private beaches .... they belong to the people of Brazil ... called 'marine land'. There are no fences allowed on 'marine land'. >>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 From: ralph diaz Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping >> Donald R. Reid wrote: I've been following this train of thought for the last several days .... Mark Lane and Rich Beatty have brought up the subject of some form of adverse possession or other principle that can result in a public right of way due to usage over time. I have lived in Brazil off and on for over 20 years ... and it is very interesting there in the fact that all marine land is considered public domain from 15 - 25 meters from the high water line. There all no private beaches .... they belong to the people of Brazil ... called 'marine land'. There are no fences allowed on 'marine land'. >> Most countries have similar rules, i.e. a fairly wide-band of shoreline ABOVE the mean high tide line is public. Depending on your outlook, the US is either foreward looking or backward looking regarding this. BTW, I was impressed in my visits to Puerto Rico to find that something similar applies there, i.e. a wide band of the beaches belongs to the public. The hotels, no matter how much they would like the situation to be different, cannot ban innocent passage along the beaches in front of their property. Also, and this is critical, there must be access to those beachs from the land at decent intervals. Just a word about my "romanticizing" commando camping. I don't think I have. Getting in after dark, stumbling around without lights, not talking loudly, getting your tent down in very early morning light and on your way before the sun comes up is hardly my idea of "romantic." I see it as a necessary evil at times when you can't find anywhere else to camp. Many people are new to camping and kayak camping and don't have the wisdom and savvy of many of the old hands who populate this listserve. I set down guidelines in order to help the unaware ones make as little impact as possible on the privacy of land. ralph diaz -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Ralph Diaz . . . Folding Kayaker newsletter PO Box 0754, New York, NY 10024 Tel: 212-724-5069; E-mail: rdiaz@ix.netcom.com "Where's your sea kayak?"----"It's in the bag." -----------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 From: Dirk Barends Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] "Commado" Camping >> OK - here's a virtual bucket of cold salt water from Alaska >on the subject. (that oughta cool off those keyboards!(grin) >> So far I really did not see much that was not interesting to read about this subject. Especially the views of the (problems of) landowners at PaddleWise have given me more and better ideas about how to handle situations when I have to camp illegally. And camping, and the possibility to do it, is a very important aspect of the paddlesport, I think. So concerns about how to deal with situations that force(!) you to camp illegally are really valid: when you cannot camp (anymore) in a certain area, it could mean that you will have to give up paddling there? And it is an aspect that could be spoiled for you due to the behavior of others! I know a lot of people (some even good friends...) that have a very 'romantic' approach to camping illegaly, and do not (want to?) realize what harm they could do with this behaviour. For those people this kind of discussion could make them realize that their behaviour is problematic? BTW. When camping illegally in the Netherlands, if a policeman would wake you with a gun in his hand, it sure will be him that would be fired! Dirk Barends the Netherlands
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 From: Melissa Subject: [Paddlewise] Public Beaches (was: "Commado" Camping) I live in an oceanfront house in WA state (USA), and I have mixed feelings about the public policy on beaches. On the one hand, I'm very glad that the beaches are public land. For me, a coastline - the edge of a continent - is a sacred place, and personal ownership just doesn't seem right to me (personal ownership of bits of earth is already a somewhat absurd concept to me - although I can understand the utility in some of it). However, there is one thing that really really REALLY bothers me about my state's policy... Driving is allowed on the beach (ack!!!). What's that all about? I've been told that it's because the beach is designated a *state highway* (I've never seen anyone using the beach for point to point travel - especially at the beach in front of my house, as I live on a little spit of sand sticking out into the ocean - effectively a dead end). That (state highway designation) may be why it's allowed, but why is it designated as such in the first place??!! This is something I've never understood. There is no real need to drive on the beach (except for surf rescues and other possible emergencies). I've written to the Governor a few times regarding this disgusting practice, but haven't heard back from him. I've written to the DOT, and haven't heard from them. It's a sad situation. Melissa
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 From: ralph diaz Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Public Beaches (was: "Commado" Camping) It's all a tough call no matter how you look at it. Unlike in Washington where you report the beach is public, other states have had to really fight for this. I am a member of a NY area group called the Shorewalkers. I always like to walk as much as possible along the shoreline that I paddle. The group is dedicated to the right of innocent passage by people along the entire shore perimeter of the tri-state area. Last year, I walked with the group on the New Jersey side from Hoboken (Frank Sinatra's old haunting ground; a riverside park is now named after him and has an official kayak launch site). As we walking about half way up to our destination at the George Washington Bridge (about a 12 mile walk), we came upon a residential development. There were light obstacles in our way. As we started going through them we were stopped not by a security guard but rather one of the apartment dwellers and his wife. Here was the conflict: a middle to advanced age couple confronting a group of walkers who mirrored them in looks and age. We had no boomboxes, we were totally non-threatening (if any one saw a foto of me you would know that) but the husband stood his ground...we could not walk through. Well it so happens that that the state authorities were fighting that development's encroachment on the legislated free access walk along the entire stretch of the river. The state won in the courts. The state officials at a harbor wide meeting held later gathering together government, private, commercial and environmental groups made an interesting point. Certain land such as shoreline and waters are held in trust by the state; these belong to NO ONE and EVERYONE. ralph -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Ralph Diaz . . . Folding Kayaker newsletter PO Box 0754, New York, NY 10024 Tel: 212-724-5069; E-mail: rdiaz@ix.netcom.com "Where's your sea kayak?"----"It's in the bag."
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 From: "Fred T, CA Kayaker" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Public Beaches (was: "Commado" Camping) In S. Florida the Condo Commando's try to restrict THEIR beach. The taxpayer spends big bucks pumping sand back on the things to keep the condo's from falling in the Atlantic. I say let them go. Have you every driven A1A from Miami north and enjoyed the unrestricted view of the ocean. I have been harassed by some of these irate Condo Commando's who believed they owned the beach from their property to the water. If I am not mistaken when adjoining a "navigable waterway" the access extends to the Mean High Water Level or 100 year flood level. That is public right of way. The fourth of July weekend found us visiting my sister in the N. LA area off of Old Topanga Canyon Road. I decided to paddle South of Leo Carillo at the north end of Malibu you will find a small access area to the beach between nice beach homes. When you get to the beach you find a sign that says: "This beach was surveyed: 6/1/00. From this sign 20 feet towards the ocean is private property." Sorry Ms. Nelson this is paraphrased, but I am sure it is accurate! The sign was getting wet prior to high tide. On page 15 of "California Coastal Access Guide" it states that: Article 10, Section 4 of the California constitution guarantees the public's right to access to the state's navigable waters. The State of California owns the tide and submerged lands seaward of what is called the "mean high tide line" Mean High Tide Line is calculated by using the mean of normal tides over approximately 19 years. "visitors have the right to walk on a wet beach" I may not be able to afford their homes, but I can and will use "OUR" beaches! Quote that Ms. Nelson! And I would like to be able to camp on them as well! Fred Thomas California Kayaker
From: "Matt Broze" Subject: [Paddlewise] Commando Camping Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 Actually I agree with most of what Ralph says (below). I was still surprised he put it into print in his book. I can imagine how a landowner, upset with some kayakers, could use it in a hearing about controlling access to kayakers in his area. "Look its not just a few bad apples doing this here it is described in a well respected book on the subject.". I disagree with Ralph about supporting paddle trails organizations though. They sell the pipe dream of more camping areas but from what I have seen locally that's not what actually happens. More likely they will find all the existing camping areas and post them and charge a fee and advertise them nationally to attract paddlers from all around to their new trail. They justify these new fees by saying they need it so that new areas can be purchased or developed but I've not seen much progress here either. >> From: ralph diaz Subject: [Paddlewise] Commando Camping Since I am responsible for starting this general thread I would like to make clearer my position, which was both stated and implied in my book. Here is what I practice based on my own experience and which are the tenets of the conscientious commando camper: Here is a pecking order of property I would camp on if I could not find anything legal to stop at: First, Railroad right of way property or utilities property. Abandoned factory land, wide expanses of undeveloped land, etc. are also a first choice. Your are traspassing but if your actions don't interfere with the workings of the place, then what is the harm? I would most definitely stay away from range towers and on-land bouys where your camping might interfere with its operation or be construed that way by the Coast Guard (Think I am kidding. Two guys got hit with some heavy fines when they camped on Mill Rock, a stopover spot for round-Manhattan paddlers. There is an aid to navigation there steering ships through the tricky Hell Gate area. The Coast Guard nabbed them probably for hanging their wash on the aid.) Next or on the same order as the first above, would be parkland, off in a corner somewhere or a bit of an island or isolated peninsula away from paths and roads. An amazing amount of such exists along the shores of most bodies of water. Again this is a violation but if you do no harm. If you are being sensible in your camping practices and you do get found by a ranger, your luck will likely be like mine. They will say okay. Next, if it had to be really private property, I would opt for one that seemed owned by a local AND I would most definitely ask permission regardless of what I expected they might say. Locals tend to be aware when you are around and so it is safest to ask them. I stated all of this in my book, i.e. locals being aware of you and going to ask them permission. They are also the most likely to say yes. But if they say no, then paddle on. You should not defy them. Lastly, I would opt for private property owned as vacation homes here in the East. This type of person is never going to give you permission, believe me. If that was all that was available, then I would do so without asking. This is a biased opinion of mine based on what I have seen of such landowners, Mark Lane excepted who seems most generous with his stretch of land on the Maine coast. BUT surely one of the other categories presented above would lend itself to camping and you could almost always find such before resorting to the last type. I apologize for the discussion focusing so much on the individual private owner and the question of asking permission. It is a rare occasion that I and any sensible commando camper would choose such a site. We are not out there to defy authority and property rights. We are out there to get along with our surroundings and to be as unobtrusive as we can. You would have to be pretty desperate and dog-tired or fleeing some nasty weather before being forced into the position of camping on the land owned by an individual. The real issue is that there is so little legal camping spots along some of the best paddling waters. So support water trail organizations to see to it that more spots open up. ralph diaz >> Matt Broze http://www.marinerkayaks.com
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 From: Nick Schade Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Commando Camping I have mixed feelings about the watertrails concept. I am a member of the Maine Island Trail Association, the originator of the idea. I see the service they provide as getting permission to use private islands. These islands were probably being camped on before MITA came along, so in a sense they are just charging a fee for what people had been doing for a long time. But the ethics of commando camping at these spots was questionable. There is no ethical question about camping on a "MITA island" once MITA has negotiated the permission. The MITA guide includes public lands in its directory, but you don't need to be a MITA member to use these islands. The traffic on private and public islands has increased, but is this a result of MITA advertising or is it due to the increased popluarity of sea kayaking. If people are out kayaking anyway, isn't it better that they camp where they have permission, in a somewhat controlled manner, than sneaking in somewhere. The trail movement has concentrated the camping, and in a sense "ruined" many good campsites. But people randomly creating campsites would be damaging as well. I've paddled alot in the Stonington, Maine area, which is the nicest, best kayaking, section of the Maine Island Trail. The many islands are close together and there are several nice camping islands. I have yet to see a real crowding problem. Maybe a couple days a year there is a problem. The most powerful protection for the islands is the ocean and the skills required to paddle on it. More people get the MITA guide, read it and dream, than actually get out on the islands. The people that do get out there would probably do so anyway. MITA just lets them do it without facing the ethical problem of trespassing. Where I have problems with the Trails concept is where it gets in the way of the local's use of traditional camp sites. Now they have to deal with people from "away" telling them they can't use an island they've used for generations, just because they aren't carrying the right card. The locals often have at least implicit permission to use the island and should not be bothered by high minded outsiders. If the guide says that only card-carrying members should use the island... well let the owner enforce it. Nick Schade Guillemot Kayaks 824 Thompson St, Suite I Glastonbury, CT 06033 (860) 659-8847 http://www.guillemot-kayaks.com/ >>>>"It's not just Art, It's a Craft!"<<<<
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 From: Tina Subject: [Paddlewise] Public Beaches (was: "Commado" Camping) I'm so glad to hear that others feel the same way about driving on beaches. Beach walks on the Long Beach peninsula are so disturbing, with cars whizzing by every which way, that I don't even go there anymore. One of my former favorite places to kayak camp on the Oregon coast has been ruined by beach driving. I used to love going to the spit at the mouth of Nestucca Bay, and camping in the dunes. Even in the summer, one could feel like they had the bay to themselves. Unfortunately, a visit three years ago was ruined by the beach drivers. There were tracks over every spot on the spit, every little hill had tire tracks on it and toilet paper "flowers" were scattered everywhere in the sand. It took a long time to gather and burn enough trash to clear a place to camp, and there was a nagging feeling the entire time that some crazy 4 wheeler would come crashing over the dune we were next to, and land on our tent. The most disturbing thing about all this is that there is a movement in Oregon to ban camping on the public beaches, due to the trash left by campers. Unfortunately, this would affect conscientious campers also, and wouldn't eliminate those that do the most serious damage to the beaches. In Oregon, there are places where ATV and dune buggies can go play in their own designated beach parks, and nobody would consider strolling or camping in these places. It's a shame that legislators don't get out beach walking and kayak camping and see these things for themselves. Tina ------------------------------------------------------------- Healthy meals on wheels; The BENTO BUGGY website http://www.pcez.com/BentoBuggy Check out The Panama Pages trip at: http://www.pcez.com/panama -------------------------------------------------------------
From: Mark Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Commando Camping Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 12:17:32 -0000 >> Nick Schade wrote: I have mixed feelings about the watertrails concept. I am a member of the Maine Island Trail Association, the originator of the idea. I see the service they provide as getting permission to use private islands. >> I agree completely with all that Nick said. I too am a supporting member of MITA, and I think they are doing good work. They aren't really "selling" anything -- the membership fee is a mere $15 or so. (They depend primarily on voluntary contributions of much larger amounts.) One of the most important things they are doing, IMO, is to promote the idea of voluntary member self-management. I suspect there has been some . . . discussion within MITA about more closely regulating island use, or requiring advance reservations, permitting, things like that. . . but these ideas have apparently been rejected in favor of voluntary self-management. I like that. People should feel more "connected" to the islands if they feel some responsibility for them. Instead of creating an "other" in the form of a regulatory or management body, to which one must "apply" for "permission" or something like that, MITA is promoting a notion that integrates its membership into the process. I think this parallels a trend within the environmental movement (or some sections of it) that would remove the conceptual "barriers" between us and our planet that have, in a sense, been created by the movement itself (for example, challenging the concept of "wilderness" as distinct from the rest of the planet, which distinction in itself may more readily allow degradation of the rest of the planet, and thus may be a harmful way of thinking. . . ). (The fascinating magazine Orion seems to be on the cutting edge of this.) I don't know that much about it at this point, but I do find it interesting, and at any rate I am pleased with MITA's philosophical stance and will continue to support the organization. I don't know anything about any other "water trail" organizations, and so can't comment on them. I did read an interesting article in a recent ACK about a water trail project through Maine lakes to New York. My biggest concern about these things is that they will result in heavier usage, and naturally I want it all to myself (g). . . . Of course, heavier usage *can* be good, if properly done, as it brings more people closer to the earth they live on and thereby *may* help save the place. . . . Mark
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 From: Dave Kruger Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Commando Camping Sounds like MITA may have hit on a reasonable balance in its approach to trail management: "... the idea of voluntary member self management ..." As Nick mentioned [I snipped that part], when a MITA-type system begins to restrict the "locals" from their traditional haunts, resentment is inevitable. Where I live, a couple of water trails have been proposed, and a couple of sites for camping have been set up, albeit not in my county. I am frankly opposed to extending them into my neck of the woods, a little for the notoriety they bring, but mainly because most of the area paddlers would traverse **is a wildlife refuge.** Our presence on the water in large numbers is counter to accepted principles of wildlife management. Yah, sure, there are compromises inherent in water trails, but I think curmudgeon Broze (he is a 10 on the curmudgeon scale -- I'm only a 7) may be watching an example of a misdirected water trail up in Puget Sound. Or, could be that population pressures would have brought things to where they are, currently, independent of the existence of any formal water trail. For a wonderful look at their water trail, check out Joel Rogers' picture book, "Water Trail," Sasquatch Books, US$22, ISBN 1-57061-095-9 I equivocate about these things, because I can see their benefit in the face of desperate land-use conflicts and an ever-booming population of paddlers (they are the best of a compromised situation), **and** I have the "memory" of things the way they used to be ... which, of course, I can't have any more. Times change. Like Mark, "... naturally I want it all to myself. (g)" At the root, don't we all have a piece of that in our psyche? -- Dave Kruger Astoria, OR
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 From: Nick Schade Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Water Trails "Equivocate" is a good word for my opinion on water trails. One thought that has made them look better in my eyes is that 50, 100, 200 years from now people will still be going out on the water. The population pressure will likely get worse with a resultant increase in recreational pressures. While the immediate impact may be an increase in traffic, the groundworks for long term protection of the resources are being laid by the watertrails movement. I hope the increased traffic for us today will payoff with a better experience for everyone in the long run. Let us hope that the organizers manage their responsibility well. Nick Schade Guillemot Kayaks 824 Thompson St, Suite I Glastonbury, CT 06033 (860) 659-8847 http://www.guillemot-kayaks.com/ >>>>"It's not just Art, It's a Craft!"<<<<