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Old 09-16-2019, 01:39 PM   #21
Terasec
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Originally Posted by TrailBlaser View Post
I was told by a Ranger that sleeping in a car is considered camping, so doing so in a parking area where camping is not permitted would be illegal.
yes that is true
I used to arrive at trailheads wee hours of the morning, take a nap and head out at daylight
I live downstate, many of my adk excursions are 5-6 hrs away
so leaving Friday after work was very common to arrive in middle of the night
during a convo with dec when I was inquiring about a new area this came up,
sleeping in car in parking area when arriving at night is not allowed,
its basically camping, regardless how harmless the scenario is,
even if your just laying back in drivers seat,
whether its enforced I don't know, I never had an issue doing it for many years
I no longer do it,
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:44 PM   #22
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Yeah, officially as per the DEC, sleeping in your vehicle counts as "camping," and thus doing so at a trailhead is a violation as you're camping at a non-designated site within 150 feet of a road.

A quick (and probably only partial) list of roadside (or "close to roadside") campsites in the area:
  • There's actually (I believe) 2 or 3 tent sites located near the Boreas River bridge on 28N.
  • There's a single designated tent site where the Boreas River crosses Blue Ridge Road, at the new Wolf Pond trailhead.
  • There is a dirt road on the south side of Blue Ridge Road, that leads about a tenth of a mile to a designated site on the crest of a gravelly hill. The road is real tricky to find (drive slow), and is located approximately 1.3 miles west of the Wolf Pond Trailhead on Blue Ridge Road.
  • The road into Cheney Pond has 2 designated roadside sites, one right at the boat launching area for the pond, and one about a tenth of a mile back up the road from the pond, where the old Irishtown Snowmobile Trail splits off from the road. Note that this road is in somewhat rough shape- low clearance cars probably should think twice before driving it. (There's also 3 designated tent sites and 1 lean-to on the pond itself that are boat-access only.)
  • Moose Pond Club Road, off of 28N, has a number of roadside designated tent sites.
  • Northwoods Club Road, also off of 28N, has a number of roadside tent sites.
  • They aren't roadside sites (unless you can get a CP-3 permit), but there's 2 very nice sites on the Roosevelt Truck Trail, located about 15-20 minutes of walking from the south end of this trail at 28N. (Note if you do hike in to camp here that neither site has water nearby.) If you have a disability, you can get a CP-3 permit from the DEC to drive in to these sites to camp.
  • There is a single designated tent site at Schroon Falls, located where Route 9 first crosses the Schroon River north of Schroon Lake. This site is a short walk in from a parking area on River Road. This site is very nice, and also very popular.
  • Woody's Road (the western access to the Essex Chain via the Deer Pond gate), has at least 4 designated tent sites. Some of these are roadside, some of these are a short walk in from the road. (These sites get very little use.)
  • There is a single designated site located at the Iron Bridge across the Hudson River (the access to the former Polaris Club). This site is a fairly short 2-3 minute walk in from the parking area where the road is gated.
  • Minerva Club Road, in the Township 20 tract of the Upper Hudson Woodlands Easement, has a single designated roadside tent site. Minervia Club Road is off of 28N, approximately 3.5 miles east of the Long Lake Stewart's.

In the future, roadside sites (or "close to roadside sites") are planned for the road into Upper Works (along the Hudson River), the road into Boreas Ponds (construction on some of these sites has already begun), the road west of Boreas Ponds towards Trout Pond, and the road that parallels the west side of The Branch (I believe that the plan is to open this road to public motor vehicle access at some point).
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:47 PM   #23
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yes that is true
I used to arrive at trailheads wee hours of the morning, take a nap and head out at daylight
I live downstate, many of my adk excursions are 5-6 hrs away
so leaving Friday after work was very common to arrive in middle of the night
during a convo with dec when I was inquiring about a new area this came up,
sleeping in car in parking area when arriving at night is not allowed,
its basically camping, regardless how harmless the scenario is,
even if your just laying back in drivers seat,
whether its enforced I don't know, I never had an issue doing it for many years
I no longer do it,
The problem is that if it were allowed, people would take it well beyond the "harmless" aspects of simply (and discretely) sleeping in your car to get an early start on the trail. Tents in the parking area, bonfires in the parking area, parties in the parking area, trash in the parking area, music blasted at high volume at 2:00 AM in the parking area (with actual legal, designated sites in close enough proximity that multiple groups get woken up by the noise), trucks driving off the parking area and onto Forest Preserve lands "they don't want to camp in a parking lot," etc. These are all things that have actually happened (more than once) at DEC trailheads, hence the general prohibition against camping at trailheads (including sleeping in vehicles).

Last edited by DSettahr; 09-16-2019 at 02:15 PM..
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:01 PM   #24
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Thanks for the helpful info. I assume that camping is not allowed in closed for season campgrounds like Lake Harris, walking around barriers. Totally understand that as well.

I have always preferred paddle out wilderness camping to car camping but for early morning outings, there certainly is limited car camping opportunities in off season with most DEC campgrounds closed post Labor Day.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:03 PM   #25
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My wife and I drove our camper van up the Gulf Brook Road to La Bier Flow today. The road is in excellent shape all the way in. It appears that Boreas Ponds just went viral with the Tilly Hat-Hornbeck-Subaru-Grey-haired crew as there were several dozen of them on the water today soaking in the views of the Great Range. I exaggerate. There were about 8 boats on the water around noon this afternoon.
My wife suggested that these were the sorts of people (ie. elderly, hip problems arthritis osteoporosis, degenerative disc disease, whatever) who would not have carried or wheeled a boat 3 miles in.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:34 PM   #26
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I am heading up to the SRCA in a couple of weeks. I am going to start at Long Pond and head in for a few days. My practice has been to sleep at home and leave at 2 or 3 AM, which puts me at my destination in early AM. This time I was thinking of leaving right after work, but with about a 5 hour drive, I would need to stop somewhere nearby for a quick snooze. Any ideas?
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Old 09-16-2019, 08:23 PM   #27
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I would need to stop somewhere nearby for a quick snooze. Any ideas?
You can park at just about any given trailhead in the Adks & walk about 50-60 steps (150’) and sleep.
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:30 PM   #28
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You're right Justin. I hammock camp, so I guess I can head off the trail into the woods, find two suitable trees and setup the hammock. Thanks
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:52 PM   #29
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You're right Justin. I hammock camp, so I guess I can head off the trail into the woods, find two suitable trees and setup the hammock. Thanks
Right on J!
I should probably also mention that the 150’ regulation applies to most of the Adirondack forest preserve but not all of it. More info can be found on the DEC website. However, they don’t seem to mention anything about hammocks in the “Primitive Camping” section, only tents & lean-tos, but I’d assume it also means hammocks and tarp shelters, etc... https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/41282.html
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:57 PM   #30
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I don't think the DEC literature/websites have quite caught up with hammock camping. I just follow the rules for tents and always play it conservative. I just have to figure out where on the route up (from Putnam County) it makes sense to stop. I may have to play it by ear, as it will depend on when I actually leave and how the drive up goes.
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Old 09-17-2019, 06:34 PM   #31
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Once, on a winter trip I was avoiding heavy snowfall and left just before midnight and spent four or five hours sleeping fitfully in the car at a rest area off 87. There is one just after exit 23 and another either before or after exit 27.
Another time I just parked legally on a side street in a village near where I was headed and did the same.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:31 AM   #32
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I was returning to Rochester from the Salmon River area after a very long day fishing, and was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. I pulled into a marked rest stop on Rt. 3 to take a nap. The State was even running TV ads encouraging drivers to pull over if tired. I got about an hour and was awakened by rapping on my window. It was a State Trooper telling me I could only rest there, not sleep. Only in the great Empire State!
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:32 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Justin View Post
You can park at just about any given trailhead in the Adks & walk about 50-60 steps (150’) and sleep.
This has been my go to method for overnight lodging on road trips for a while. Plan my nightly stops around National Forest land, find a trailhead or logging road, park the car, and walk roughly 200+ feet into the woods and find a spot to pitch the tent for the night.

If I even do end up pitching the tent... if the weather is nice (no chance of rain), I'll just throw down a ground tarp and lay out my sleeping pad and bag on top of it. I remember one night in the George Washington National Forest, sleeping a few hundred feet from the car, when a whippoorwill got going in the branches right overhead... I was about ready to start chucking rocks when (after what felt like an hour) it finally flew off.

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I don't think the DEC literature/websites have quite caught up with hammock camping. I just follow the rules for tents and always play it conservative. I just have to figure out where on the route up (from Putnam County) it makes sense to stop. I may have to play it by ear, as it will depend on when I actually leave and how the drive up goes.
For what it's worth, the DEC regulations define "camping" as follows:

Quote:
(2) Camp shall mean any form of temporary shelter, including but not limited to a tent, motor home travel trailer, mobile home, or the use of any vehicle for shelter or sleeping.
So it does explicitly mention sleeping in vehicles. There is no explicit mention of hammocks, but I think any reasonable person would agree that hammocks fall under the definition of a "temporary shelter."
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:56 AM   #34
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This has been my go to method for overnight lodging on road trips for a while. Plan my nightly stops around National Forest land, find a trailhead or logging road, park the car, and walk roughly 200+ feet into the woods and find a spot to pitch the tent for the night.



If I even do end up pitching the tent... if the weather is nice (no chance of rain), I'll just throw down a ground tarp and lay out my sleeping pad and bag on top of it. I remember one night in the George Washington National Forest, sleeping a few hundred feet from the car, when a whippoorwill got going in the branches right overhead... I was about ready to start chucking rocks when (after what felt like an hour) it finally flew off.







For what it's worth, the DEC regulations define "camping" as follows:







So it does explicitly mention sleeping in vehicles. There is no explicit mention of hammocks, but I think any reasonable person would agree that hammocks fall under the definition of a "temporary shelter."
Thanks, maybe that means I am a "reasonable person" since I have been operating under that assumption?

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Old 09-19-2019, 08:26 AM   #35
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Camp shall mean any form of temporary shelter, including but not limited to a tent, motor home travel trailer, mobile home, or the use of any vehicle for shelter or sleeping.
Obviously this does not apply to truck drivers that sleep in their cabs at rest stops?
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:21 AM   #36
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Obviously this does not apply to truck drivers that sleep in their cabs at rest stops?
They probably get a pass since they are required by law to sleep X hours for every X hour of driving. https://www.injurytriallawyer.com/bl...-sleeping-.cfm
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:45 AM   #37
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Obviously this does not apply to truck drivers that sleep in their cabs at rest stops?
NYSDEC regulations apply only to state lands and public easements (including trailheads on these lands) under the jurisdiction of the NYSDEC. Highway rest stops would (for the most part) be under the jurisdiction of whatever agency is responsible for that particular road- whether it be the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT), the Thruway Authority, or a local county or town Highway Department. I'd guess that the smaller Highway Departments generally don't have their own regulations, but undoubtedly both NYSDOT and the Thruway Authority have something codified that regulates how long you can stay at a highway rest stop.

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP, NY State's other environmental agency tasked with managing State Historic Sites as well as all State Parks that aren't the Adirondack and Catskill State Parks) has it's own set of regulations that apply only to lands under the jurisdiction of OPHRP as well- including regulations regarding camping. There are no OPRHP lands that allow camping at primitive sites of your own choosing- even in the State Parks that do allow primitive camping it's at designated backcountry sites only (and most of those require a permit). Since trailheads aren't designated for camping, there's no sleeping in vehicles at any of those locations, either.

There may also be language in one or more laws (different from regulations) concerning camping, specifically with regards to long term occupancy of a vehicle. Possibly in the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), possibly in another state law somewhere.

EDIT: I glanced through the ECL and all I could find was language prohibiting the erection of "buildings" without a permit on state lands. Pretty clearly not intended to apply to camping.

Last edited by DSettahr; 09-19-2019 at 12:37 PM..
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:00 AM   #38
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Sure enough, the Thruway Authority does have it's own set of regulations. I took a quick look through it and I don't see any language governing sleeping in your vehicle at rest stops. There is language saying that you can't park in any of the travel lanes, nor on the shoulder "in front of" any rest stop. Also, any vehicle left unattended for more than 4 hours on the Thruway is considered abandoned and may be removed.

Interestingly enough, there is language allowing for you to pay $300 and get a permit to use the Thruway to take off in a plane.
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:18 PM   #39
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DSettahr, does this apply to the Northway also? Or is that what our Thruway tolls are for?
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:22 PM   #40
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This is getting pretty far outside my realm of knowledge. But I would assume that the Thruway regulations apply only to those roads under the jurisdiction of the Thruway Authority. The Northway is (I believe) under the jurisdiction of the NYSDOT, so whatever NYSDOT rules are applicable would be relevent.

EDIT: It occurs to me also that there may also be special language, buried within the laws and regulations, specifically for those stretches of the Northway that lie within the Adirondack Park- given the history of how that highway came into being.

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