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Old 09-25-2017, 06:43 PM   #101
Wldrns
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But it can also be removed by those putting it up.
Or anyone else who comes across it. I regularly remove flagging tape I find. For the DEC or SAR to remove it would incur quite an expense. When SAR does a detailed (Type III) grid search, cotton string is laid out at each pass of a team. I have been told that the Douglas Legg search expended 600 miles of string. I believe that with the amount of string I have seen laid out during many lesser searches. Fortunately, the cotton string rapidly degrades. The necessary plastic flagging tape takes a bit longer.
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:49 PM   #102
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... For the DEC or SAR to remove it would incur quite an expense.
No. I'm an SAR volunteer and it doesn't cost a dime for me to walk around a search area and remove flagging. As for the DEC, they just don't want to. I've never had a DEC person offer to help remove flagging. It's litter after the search. Carry in, carry out.
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Old 09-25-2017, 07:10 PM   #103
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it may not cost you a dime, but DEC is on the payroll. How many posts here mention shortage of rangers and time to do routine patrols? Maybe you can, but after a multi-day search, I am not about to walk to the beginning and end of each grid pass just to pick up flagging. For some incidents you are talking tens of miles of walking rough terrain.

Here is a map image of grid passes after only 2 days from a different SAR incident of a few years ago lasting 4 days. I wouldn't want to walk the perimeter of all these grid search blocks to pick up each piece of flagging at the beginning and end of every grid pass, especially in the kind of terrain I was in while searching around Wallface.
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Old 09-25-2017, 07:19 PM   #104
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thanks all, that seems to be quite a difference. i wonder if the 'view expansion' will make wallface a more popular summit.
I hope not....

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Old 09-25-2017, 09:08 PM   #105
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But it can also be removed by those putting it up.
I can imagine that some of the markers were removed by the searchers as they expanded from the last sweep line to the next. Many of the ones that were left were in incredibly dense sections -- more than once we said, "how did they even get in there?" But I suppose when the search is finally called off, those exhausted searchers were ordered to clear out and go home.

Perhaps the next hikers through can remove the markers as they pass them. There is a series of markers starting on the trail just south of Indian Pass Brook that mark an initial ascent route that seemed pretty decent. We followed those for a while until they veered more to the west than we wanted to go. We are still wondering if they didn't mark an easier route to the summit, because we soon afterwards ran into the typical challenges of how to skirt or climb the 15-ft cliff faces. But I guess that's the fun part! We knew that there might have been a different intent for those markers -- I suppose it's possible that they marked a path to the scree field where he was found.

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Old 09-25-2017, 09:22 PM   #106
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it may not cost you a dime, but DEC is on the payroll. How many posts here mention shortage of rangers and time to do routine patrols? Maybe you can, but after a multi-day search, I am not about to walk to the beginning and end of each grid pass just to pick up flagging. For some incidents you are talking tens of miles of walking rough terrain.

Here is a map image of grid passes after only 2 days from a different SAR incident of a few years ago lasting 4 days. I wouldn't want to walk the perimeter of all these grid search blocks to pick up each piece of flagging at the beginning and end of every grid pass, especially in the kind of terrain I was in while searching around Wallface.

I suggest we use paper flagging. It's been available for years and will be visible for the length of the search and then break down, similar to the sting.

I never suggested that ONE person get ALL the flagging. If everyone pitched in, it wouldn't be that big of a job.

I've also been on many searches and am well aware of the miles and time put in.
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Old 09-25-2017, 09:50 PM   #107
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I never suggested that ONE person get ALL the flagging. If everyone pitched in, it wouldn't be that big of a job.

I've also been on many searches and am well aware of the miles and time put in.
Then you know that after SAR teams are released from an incident, especially after logging many miles on a difficult tiring and sweaty one, few searchers want to stay around longer than it takes to have a bite to eat, pack up their vehicle, and head home to relax and take a shower. Some have traveled many miles and hours across the state from home to participate.

Who would organize flag retrieval? Rangers and LE on site still have much yet to do before they can go home and resume regular duties. Besides, many searches require DEC transport to the search site from the volunteer staging area, and immediate access may be difficult or impossible by off duty searchers. Searchers are at enough risk when looking for a missing person. Sending them back into the field adds to the risk and danger of injury. Retrieving SAR flagging is simply not a practical task.

I have never seen paper flagging. Have you ever been on a search in the rain? How durable is the paper during a multi-day search with rain? Frankly, I am much more disturbed by hikers who think they need to mark their passage or herd trails with flagging, rather than use of flagging to help find a missing person.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:24 AM   #108
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I agree with you on other hikers marking trails, a no-no. Paper flagging has been around for at least 25 years. It may not be Staples biggest selling item, but it's there.

Yes, I've searched in the rain and I know that many people are tired and have put in many hours and miles. I have a great deal of experience with searches. You're not telling me anything new here.

If I can pull flagging, so can others.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:26 AM   #109
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I am reluctant to remove flagging that I come across as I don't want to disrupt any official process or personal process for that matter.
Easy! I know that personal flagging is illegal and frowned upon but I still refrain from pulling said tape albeit I will haul out a bag of garbage.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:04 AM   #110
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There are far worse things to complain about than flagging on trees. Big friggin' deal!
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:11 AM   #111
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I am reluctant to remove flagging that I come across as I don't want to disrupt any official process or personal process for that matter.
Easy! I know that personal flagging is illegal and frowned upon but I still refrain from pulling said tape albeit I will haul out a bag of garbage.
That would be my concern.

How does one know they aren't interfering with an active legitimate project?

Or even an illegitimate project? Would you remove illegal flagging if you knew someone was relying on it to find their way out of the woods?
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:09 AM   #112
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How does one know they aren't interfering with an active legitimate project?
Twice I've seen flagging marked up with information. First time was after the search in the Round Pond area and the second was during the extensive renovations of the Avalanche Pass Trail. I didn't touch that flagging.

Flagging that I have removed has typically been on MacNaughton (and similar), namely a popular destination that has no official trail or herd-path. There's a DEC regulation forbidding the marking of trails (by flagging, blazing, cairns, etc) so I have no qualms about remove flagging or superfluous, user-built cairns. MacNaughton's challenge is off-trail navigation, not constructing a marked trail.

The flagging I've found was left behind either because the previous party missed it or purposely left it in a misguided attempt to "benefit others". Even if it wasn't illegal to mark trails, it contradicts the very spirit of why one climbs a truly trail-less peak, namely for the navigational challenge. If someone wants markers, hike a marked trail. If you want to "benefit others" volunteer for trail-maintenance.

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Would you remove illegal flagging if you knew someone was relying on it to find their way out of the woods?
Map & compass plus GPS are readily available and are the recommended means of navigation. If someone relies on a Hansel and Gretel strategy, using bits of orange tape, to lead them back out, they aren't taking advantage of all the 21st century has to offer (and are playing fast and loose with their personal safety).
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Old 09-26-2017, 01:42 PM   #113
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Would you remove illegal flagging if you knew someone was relying on it to find their way out of the woods?
It would be a stupid practice to place flagging and rely upon it to find your way out of the woods. I completely agree with TB above. I remove every piece of flagging that I come across (unless it was very recently placed by SAR).
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Old 09-26-2017, 02:25 PM   #114
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It would be a stupid practice to place flagging and rely upon it to find your way out of the woods. I completely agree with TB above. I remove every piece of flagging that I come across (unless it was very recently placed by SAR).
There have been many times when I was very happy to find an occational flag (or even an old axe blaze) when following an old overgrown roadway or an old foot trail. Yes I could still get to my destination without it, but sometimes it's nice to regain an old path if you happen to veer off it. I'm in no way condoning people going out & marking their own trails (I've never done it), but if & when I stumble across some flagging I usually don't get too uptight about it. I'd honestly be more concerned if the DEC plans to replant trees or not in the huge clearing that they created surrounded by freshly cut stumps that are going to sit there for several decades, but that's just me. I'm sure many folks will enjoy the nice new view atop of Wallface Mountain.
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Old 09-26-2017, 03:47 PM   #115
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hmm. I do not mark trails but have thought about flagging a spot to mark where on a particular trail we veer off 150' to make camp in an undesignated spot. Figured it would be helpful if returning at night. All of my gear is rather subtle colors that blend in nicely - sometimes makes camp tricky to find.

Will stick with what we do now, which is pace off on trail from a really noticeable landmark and than pace off 150' to site. A good lesson to learn at my desk rather than out there after dusk!
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:10 PM   #116
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hmm. I do not mark trails but have thought about flagging a spot to mark where on a particular trail we veer off 150' to make camp in an undesignated spot. Figured it would be helpful if returning at night. All of my gear is rather subtle colors that blend in nicely - sometimes makes camp tricky to find.

Will stick with what we do now, which is pace off on trail from a really noticeable landmark and than pace off 150' to site. A good lesson to learn at my desk rather than out there after dusk!
Why not just place a log or unique stick or couple of rocks on the trail that you can easily identify at the turn off? Or put the turn at an identifiable tree or such landmark. That's what i have often done. Always take a compass azimuth to your campsite from the trail. Then if you must, put a piece of flag tape over your gear at 150'. If you decide to flag, please remove it when you leave. If I were to come along on that same trail after you, your flag would likely be gone, but your gear would obviously remain in place. Thanks.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:59 PM   #117
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Right - that is what we do now. So far so good. And we do collect trash and such, now will do same with tired looking flags
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Old 09-26-2017, 06:01 PM   #118
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Why not just place a log or unique stick or couple of rocks on the trail that you can easily identify at the turn off? Or put the turn at an identifiable tree or such landmark. That's what i have often done. Always take a compass azimuth to your campsite from the trail. Then if you must, put a piece of flag tape over your gear at 150'. If you decide to flag, please remove it when you leave. If I were to come along on that same trail after you, your flag would likely be gone, but your gear would obviously remain in place. Thanks.
A big log or branch set up as a marker is the way to go. A flag can get out of view.

And I see no issue with flags in the middle of nowhere. I wouldn't follow it and I'm not saying I'm an expert at bush whacking either. But I doubt others doing a bush whack would rely on flags. In fact a frequent hiking partner who is accomplished at off trail will avoid following flags. Finding your own way is what it's all about.

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Old 09-27-2017, 07:19 AM   #119
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I completely agree with TB above. I remove every piece of flagging that I come across (unless it was very recently placed by SAR).
So when DEC marks a new trail, or reroutes a new trail with flagging (before they go through and put up disks), Trail Boss & Wldrns are the ones that go through and remove all the flags. I always wondered who that was. Keep up the good work guys!
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:23 AM   #120
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I'm going to guess that there are flags in places people are not going to see, but if there are flags proximate to the trail maybe the DEC could make an announcement that it's okay to pull these down. I'm always reluctant to pull flagging down for fear I'm messing with someone's means of getting out of the woods, as someone else already mentioned and would be even more reluctant to do so if I saw official looking writing on the flagging.
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