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Old 04-21-2010, 11:14 PM   #1
Glen
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Stashed boats=garbage?

I intentionally entered a provocative subject line to get some responses. I guess folks have been stashing boats/canoes, etc in the backcountry ponds for the past 100 years. I have noticed more of them in the past few years, some in fairly remote ponds. My opinion, and I welcome any contrary responses, is that these are no different than leaving garbage for someone else to deal with. Over time, most of these are damaged or vandalized anyway, so how appropriate is it to have a piece of shiny aluminum (or whatever) on a hillside near an otherwise pristine pond. VTflyfish and I hit some ponds the past few days, and on one pond (less than 5 acres)there were two boats, and on the other pond another few. There was state land around both ponds.

I know there are some new regs meant to deal with this subject, but I suppose enforcement (I haven't been asked to produce my license in 30 years) and the problem of extracting these "boats" with strained budgets mean they will be with us for some time.

I don't mind carrying out someone else's garbage if I have room, but taking out their boat is a bit much to ask.

What do you guys think? Am I off base?

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Old 04-21-2010, 11:47 PM   #2
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Conservation Law states:

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c. Upon termination of camping all equipment and supplies must be removed from State land. The storage of personal property on State lands is prohibited.
Interpreted literally, stashed canoes are illegal.

Realistically, however, it's obviously a different story entirely. Many ponds and lakes in the Adirondacks have one or two canoes stashed in the woods nearby, or left right on the lake shore. Use of these boats is often considered "first come, first serve," and it is generally accepted by the public that they are there for everyone to use. Often, these boats don't have an owner- whoever took the time and effort to carry the boat back to the water body has very likely forgotten about it entirely, or, in many cases, even passed away.

On some lakes, however, it's a different story entirely... There are some water bodies (some very well known ones) that have 30+ (I'm not exaggerating here) boats stashed nearby in the woods. Most of these boats are very well hidden so as to discourage anyone but the owner from using them, and many are locked to trees with chains.

When management agencies become aware of a boats existence in the back country, they have several options available to them. The most preferable option is obviously for the agency to figure out who the owner is, so they can ticket them for illegal storage of personal property on state land, and force the owner to remove the boat themselves. The agency expends the least amount of funds/effort following this method. However, this obviously isn't always possible. In this case, the agency is forced to remove the boat themselves.

Obviously, in the first case that I stated with "public" boats, ownership cannot be determined, or even if it can, the owner is often already deceased and obviously is unavailable to remove the boat themselves. Obviously, removal a single boat publicly available on a remote pond isn't going to rank very high on that agency's priority list, and likely will never be removed.

Things are different, however, with the second situation I described. When boat owners lock up their boats to prevent others from using them, they risk raising more ire directed at them from the management agency. For whatever reasons, a locked up boat is more likely to be considered by the general hiking public as something that "detracts from a wilderness experience" than a public boat is. I would surmise that this is because a public boat is much more in accordance with the sense of freedom that many of us associate with wilderness experiences, while a locked up boat goes completely against that philosophy. If we can find use in a man-made object, it fits with with our experience. If its there, but we can find absolutely no use in it, then as an artificial human construct, it detracts from our experience.

In extreme situations with numerous boats stashed on a single lake, it's obviously a big task for the management agency to remove these boats. All of these boats must be removed quickly, usually within the span of a single day, to prevent boat owners from getting wind of cleanup plans and moving their boats around to prevent their removal. This is generally done with the use of bolt cutters and a helicopter, or snowmobile in the winter. Such "mass boat roundups" have occurred in the Adirondacks in the past. They are, however, very expensive, and work orders to remove large quantities of boats can exist for years before they are acted upon.

I personally feel that no member of the public should feel responsible to carry out so large a piece of someone's personal property. Furthermore, if someone has gone to the effort to carry a boat out to a lake and lock it up there, they may not look to kindly on the average joe-shmoe if they catch them moving/carrying the boat out of the woods, which could lead to a potentially confrontational situation. If anyone finds personal property, or human constructs/artificial objects stashed/left in the woods that they feel don't belong there and are in violation of state land use regulations/wilderness ethics and go beyond the occaisional piece of garbage we sometimes encounter in the woods and can easily carry out, the best thing to do is to snap a few pictures of said object if a camera is available, get GPS coordinates if possible or at least use a map to get a rough description of the objects location, and contact the forest ranger who's patrol district the object is in upon returning home from your trip to inform him or her of it.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:56 PM   #3
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Glen,

I think I feel the same way you do. Many of these boats are in poor shape and are probably not seaworthy. They will just remain there and be an eyesore. I never use these boats myself, as I prefer to haul in my float tube. However, eventually I will be too old to carry my tube, fishing gear and camping stuff, and at that time I may feel differently.

As for fishing so far this Spring, I have not done as well as I would like. I have had some good moments, but generally most of my fish have been small, with a few exceptions. I have been trying out some new ponds and have not yet been to any of my more reliable spots.

I am glad to hear that others are getting a chance to get on the water.

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Old 04-22-2010, 12:13 AM   #4
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Generally a boat or two hidden by a pond doesn't bother me, in fact I like it since it gives me a way to explore the lake if I didn't bring a canoe myself. I'd prefer it to be at least somewhat hidden though, as aluminum canoes aren't the prettiest craft man has ever created.

The things that bother me are:
- Canoes locked & chained to trees
- Armadas of canoes that make it look like someone is starting a navy
- Canoes that are full of holes and/or are sunk right along the shore (maybe the result of someone else's navy? )

Unfortunately, at many ponds in wilderness areas, the boats were brought in by plane back when they were allowed. Getting a boat out of there now would be a big pain. I was happy to see that someone recently dragged out the bullet-ridden rowboat that was marring the shoreline of one of my favorite ponds, but that was in a wild forest so it was probably pulled out by snowmobile.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:15 AM   #5
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Leave the stashed boats alone.

I agree there will be some garbage whether it is boats, propane tanks or disgarded camping gear, beer cans you name it.

I fish a pond that has a boat and it is used by a man that is close to 70 years old, he day hikes to it often ( 2.5 miles up hill) enjoys a nice day of fishing. He can not carry something to fish out of. You people will be old some day and not able to carry your hornbeck, fish from shore then.

Just ruin it for everyone that can not carry in a boat.

Find a better cause to complain about. Maybe outlawing barbed hooks in the Adirondacks.

This cracks me up what a ................. people can be. I guess selfish might the word.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:43 AM   #6
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This cracks me up what a ................. people can be. I guess selfish might the word.
So it's not selfish to chain a boat to a tree so no one else can use it?

Also, while we're at it, perhaps we should bulldoze the high peaks into shorter mountains with gentler slopes! Some day we'll be old and not able to climb those either.

My point is that accessibility is something that is never going to be universal for everyone involved when you have wilderness areas. It's an issue that has been controversial for nearly as long as there has been designated wilderness in the United States.

If you make the argument that someone who is old should be allowed to store a boat on state land, then it's not a stretch to say that he should be allowed to store camping gear as well. And if he's allowed to store all of his camping gear, then why shouldn't others be accorded the same privileges? I'm not saying that these are my own personal views, but from a management stand point, if the stance you're suggesting was taken, it'd be like opening a can of worms for complaints along these lines from the public.

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Old 04-22-2010, 12:50 AM   #7
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I don't have a big problem with stashed boats, even though they are illegal.

Then again, the DEC is busy banning tiny, almost invisible climbing hardware, because it "represents something man made left behind in the woods." I don't see people rising to the passionate defense of climbers, even though all the "illegal" hardware in the park wouldn't fill one canoe. I guess you just have to be the lucky "favored" constituency.
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:32 AM   #8
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I don't have a big problem with stashed boats, even though they are illegal.

Then again, the DEC is busy banning tiny, almost invisible climbing hardware, because it "represents something man made left behind in the woods." I don't see people rising to the passionate defense of climbers, even though all the "illegal" hardware in the park wouldn't fill one canoe. I guess you just have to be the lucky "favored" constituency.
How is this favoring one constituency? It seems to me in both situations (with stashed boats and rock climbing gear) you have something occurring that is against the rules, and an understaffed, under budgeted agency that only rarely gets to go out and clean things up.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:43 AM   #9
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My feeling: boats on Adirondack ponds are trash and should be removed. We have tolerated trash in the Adirondacks for far too long. I agree with the suggestion of letting district rangers know the exact location of every boat I come across. I am also considering putting every illegal boat I find beyond use.

Funny, you don't see many trashed campsites or boats in other areas of the country like the Rocky Mountains. Rangers there are incredibly strict and the penalties are high. Hmmm...
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:23 AM   #10
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My feeling: boats on Adirondack ponds are trash and should be removed. We have tolerated trash in the Adirondacks for far too long. I agree with the suggestion of letting district rangers know the exact location of every boat I come across. I am also considering putting every illegal boat I find beyond use.

Funny, you don't see many trashed campsites or boats in other areas of the country like the Rocky Mountains. Rangers there are incredibly strict and the penalties are high. Hmmm...
Might want to be a little careful about trashing anyones boat or canoe. I do agree with turning them in to the DEC but if the owner happens to come around you might not like the results.

DeSettahr

You said "Also, while we're at it, perhaps we should bulldoze the high peaks into shorter mountains with gentler slopes! Some day we'll be old and not able to climb those either. "

It would be interesting to see in time when you are no longer able to enjoy what you do in the wilderness what your opinon is.
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:38 AM   #11
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By putting a boat beyond use, you are turning it into trash and you should be responsible for it at that point. I know for a fact that many rangers know exactly where many of these boats are and even use them in their off time. I'm pretty sure that this happens in other parks too.

I agree that an excessive amount of boats in one area should be removed. There are more productive ways to spend the states time and money leave the boats alone.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:06 AM   #12
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Interesting debate and topic. Perhaps a compromise is in order. How about allowing the boats in designated "Wild Forest" areas, but removing them in designated "Wilderness" areas? Some other caveats could be added, such as all boats that are not sea worthy would be removed, no chaining up of boats would be allowed, and all boats must be left at least 30 feet from the shoreline. What do others think of this solution?

Of course probably none of this matters, because I do not believe DEC has sufficient resources to address the issue.

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Old 04-22-2010, 10:06 AM   #13
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It would be interesting to see in time when you are no longer able to enjoy what you do in the wilderness what your opinon is.
I fail to see how ones opinion on this would change with age. I'm only in my late 30s but there are already things I can no longer do that I did 20 years ago... I don't expect rules to be changed to accommodate me so I can continue to do them. Especially if it is at the expense of the landscape or the enjoyment of others. That just strikes me as selfish.

When I can no longer rock climb hard Adirondack routes, I won't expect a ladder to be bolted to the rock for me. I'll move on to something else and find another way to enjoy the outdoors. When I can no longer haul a hornbeck to a remote body of water, I'll find one closer.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:12 AM   #14
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I'm going boat shopping. Anyone know of a nice one they want "removed"?
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:35 AM   #15
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Might want to be a little careful about trashing anyones boat or canoe. I do agree with turning them in to the DEC but if the owner happens to come around you might not like the results.
I definitely agree with this. Even if you have an issue with the boats, let law enforcement personnel deal with them. There's no need to create a potentially dangerous confrontation. I doubt that the majority of these boat owners would react violently, but you never know.

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You said "Also, while we're at it, perhaps we should bulldoze the high peaks into shorter mountains with gentler slopes! Some day we'll be old and not able to climb those either. "

It would be interesting to see in time when you are no longer able to enjoy what you do in the wilderness what your opinon is.
I agree that it will be interesting. Perhaps 50 years from now I should dig up this thread (provided these forums still exist) and comment! I made that statement, though, to show that universal accessibility is something that is not possible in wilderness, and that when you use the same argument to suggest something like bulldozing the High Peaks, it sounds quite silly. Its possible to improve access at a few specific locations (and the State is working on doing this in the Moose River Plains by hardening old logging roads to remote lakes so disabled users can access them via ATV with special permit), but would never be practical to make everything accessible to everyone.

Think of it this way- everyone has their limitations, even the most physically fit. I'm not the greatest rock climber, so there are undoubtedly locations on cliffs in the High Peaks that I am physically incapable of reaching. I don't feel, however, that someone should leave me behind a ladder so that I can access those locations.

Granted, it's different with issues of those who are disabled. They certainly have a lot fewer options available to them than I do, and are much more limited in where they can go. There are general feelings (rightly so I think) of empathy and that those who are disabled have been dealt a raw deal and life, and accommodations can and should be made for them, even in wilderness areas. However, the issue of access should never be a blanket argument in support of improving access at every location... those locations need to be carefully selected.

One thing that I have noticed in working in the environmental education industry is that there is a lot of interest in finding improved fishing access in general for the disabled and elderly. I've spoken with a fair number of people who were trying to find out more about where accessible fishing sites were located in NY, but were having difficulty in finding a good resource listing such sites.

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Originally Posted by UpstateDave0104 View Post
Interesting debate and topic. Perhaps a compromise is in order. How about allowing the boats in designated "Wild Forest" areas, but removing them in designated "Wilderness" areas? Some other caveats could be added, such as all boats that are not sea worthy would be removed, no chaining up of boats would be allowed, and all boats must be left at least 30 feet from the shoreline. What do others think of this solution?
While a compromise is a nice idea in theory, in practicality, it'd never work. As soon as leaving a boat on state land became legal, you'd probably have hundreds of people who wouldn't stash a boat otherwise carrying one in to their favorite lake or fishing spot. The shorelines around the popular lakes and ponds would soon look like used canoe sales lots.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:37 AM   #16
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I do stash canoes but I bring them out every fall. The rangers know they're there and don't have any problem with it. Enforcement is an issue but many rangers don't have a problem with it. I really don't see what it hurts as long as they're taken out each year.

They aren't locked, anyone can use them. If they can find them...
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:56 AM   #17
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I do stash canoes but I bring them out every fall. The rangers know they're there and don't have any problem with it. Enforcement is an issue but many rangers don't have a problem with it. I really don't see what it hurts as long as they're taken out each year.

They aren't locked, anyone can use them. If they can find them...
There is an idea that as long as there are only one or two boats on a lake and they aren't locked up, but are available for everyone to use, management agencies and law enforcement personnel (forest rangers) should "look the other way." The problem with this is that it's selective enforcement, and is almost never universally applied. When you have regulations being enforced strictly and to the letter by one ranger in his patrol area, but certain regulations are not enforced by a ranger in an adjacent area, it creates confusion, and it's the public who ends up suffering as a result of this confusion.

Secondly, who is to say that law enforcement personnel have the authority/right to choose what laws they should and should not enforce? Granted, laws concerning storage of personal property on state land don't deal with loss of life and limb if they aren't enforced, but there are members of the public who I think would have an issue with selective law enforcement, regardless of the actual laws in question.
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:08 AM   #18
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By putting a boat beyond use, you are turning it into trash and you should be responsible for it at that point. I know for a fact that many rangers know exactly where many of these boats are and even use them in their off time. I'm pretty sure that this happens in other parks too.

I agree that an excessive amount of boats in one area should be removed. There are more productive ways to spend the states time and money leave the boats alone.

Well said, but it saddens me that there are no boats in any of the ponds I hike into.
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:20 AM   #19
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DSettahr,

Sounds like I opened up a subject that was ripe for discussion. I appreciate and agree with your reasoned responses.

Wilderness is not accessible to everyone. If it was, it would no longer be wilderness.

I don't believe selective enforcement is a solution. A wider concern is the lack of manpower to deal with not only this issue, but basic enforcement. As I said in an earlier post, I fish quite a bit and have never been checked on either backcountry or roadside fishing sites. If someone was inclined to take well over their limit of fish, I don't see much preventing that. The garbage scattered around many campsites is a subject for a different thread.

Thanks.
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:00 PM   #20
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Leave the stashed boats alone.

I fish a pond that has a boat and it is used by a man that is close to 70 years old, he day hikes to it often ( 2.5 miles up hill) enjoys a nice day of fishing. He can not carry something to fish out of. You people will be old some day and not able to carry your hornbeck, fish from shore then.

Just ruin it for everyone that can not carry in a boat.
So, what you're saying is that if you're old or physically incapable, then the law doesn't apply to you?
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