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Old 10-02-2012, 11:45 AM   #1
Rich Lockwood
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Sharing campsites?

I was going to put this on the Osswagochie thread,but maybe it should be seperate. Several times on this stream and a couple of times other places when on canoe campsites with hiking trail access,I have had hikers come into the site I was occuping and set up camp. Once they asked-the others they acted as if it was expected. This seem more common since the Cranberry lake 50mi. hike circle has been promoted. I have never had this happen with a canoe tripper. Are there different customs? I know about the sharing the leantoo policy when on hiking trails. There were no leantoos on the sites involved.I now hesitate to take a canoe site on a trail for that reason as I(we) value out privicy.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:47 PM   #2
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If I'm at an official campsite - all are welcome, smokers down wind please. If I want privacy - trail less places. I've never has a problem either as the first or last person to a campsite.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:50 PM   #3
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A number of years back my wife, son and I had paddled in to camp at High Rock on the Oswegatchie, set up camp and gone out for an evening paddle after supper. On our return (and much to our surprise) there was a pair of hikers intending to set up camp, fully expecting us to share the site with them. We were uncomfortable with that and told them so and they moved on but not without letting us know in no uncertain words that we were in the wrong for declining to share. Situation would have been different if weather was about to change for the worse or impending nightfall but neither was the case. We never dreamed that anybody would expect to have to share (or even be asked to share) the site they were occupying - obviously lean-tos is a different story - but hikers/backpackers apparently operate by a different set of expectations. Like you, we value our privacy as well and will not camp at High Rock again as it is apparently considered to be a community site much like a lean-to is.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:59 PM   #4
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I've seen this happen too (and had it happen to me). As with sharing of lean-tos, it tends to be much more common in the High Peaks than elsewhere in the Adirondacks. But I've also seen it happen in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area, and I'm not surprised you encountered it on the Cranberry Lake 50.

My understanding is that there is nothing prohibiting additional groups from setting up at a campsite that is already occupied. The only regulation that I think might potentially apply is the overnight group size limit, essentially limiting the total number of people that could share the site to 8 in wilderness areas, or 9 in wild forest areas.

I think it's also worth noting that there are cultural aspects at play. While sharing of campsites is rare in the Adirondacks, it is very prevalent in other backcountry areas of the US. So the group that moved in without asking may have done so because they are used to hiking in an area where sharing is the norm (I'm thinking particularly in places like the Green Mountains, White Mountains, etc, where campsites often consist of numerous tent sites all clustered around one communal fire pit, providing accommodations for multiple groups to camp together).

The way I look at is that everyone sharing the backcountry needs to be courteous to each other. Anyone sharing a campsite with another group (whether they be the group that was there first, or the group that moved in after) needs to be respectful towards each other. It doesn't matter if your tent is set up 10 feet or 100 or 1000 feet from the next group- if you're hooting and hollering all night and generally being disrespectful, then yes, I'm going to have a problem with that.

I agree with richard1726- if privacy is a priority for you in the backcountry, then your best bet is to find a primitive site off trail somewhere, rather than camping at a designated tent site (or lean-to). It may not happen often, but yes, in my opinion, tent sites are open until they are full, just like lean-tos.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:11 PM   #5
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I am usually pro sharing if I am on my own. Frequently I am leading groups of young adults and....
1. We are near or at max group size.
2. The school is real nervous about having random people interact with the students when they are on trips.

When I have the kids with me, I encourage others to move on. If I meet resistance, we move.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:17 PM   #6
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I've had it happen a few times also. So far it has always been welcoming greetings and a few minutes of friendly conversation, then usually followed by the sharing of some knowledge of the area including the possibility for other nearby campsites.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:29 PM   #7
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I have had to ask to share..but not in the Adirondacks. The weather was nasty. I went up to the campsite and the cold looks from six people said volumes. We left and camped on a sandbar mid river.

I have shared with others ..I really don't mind as long as there is room. I do admit to getting to mind when it happens every night in a row for four days and the same people showing up. That happened this summer in the Yukon and also some years ago..maybe thirty on the Allagash..(right after it was designated a wilderness waterway..now not as many go and sharing is not that common)

If nightfall were coming or weather turning sour I would have a hard time turning anyone away. I have not had people just move in without asking.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:19 PM   #8
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I've asked to share a lean to once, just after dark and a T-storm rolling in. I've never run into anyone else when I was at a tent site. When I'm the first in at a lt, solo, I've had a couple occasions of others asking to share. When with others at an LT, other groups usually chat and move along.....

And just once, recently, with my gf on her very first trip, we were pretty much pushed out of a lt. The new commers dog walked into camp 5min before they did, and then informed us that there "wouldn't be a problem" with their snarling and barking dog and our overly friendly dog as long as we kept our dog leashed and their dog knew "she is in charge". I asked of their itnerary and they stated, "Right here!" as they litterally set their gear ontop of ours. And then they told us about the next site several miles down the trail and repeated told us we should go check it out. In the interest of maintaining the serenity of the backwoods, we moved along.

I have never had an issue until that last, recent incident. I would hope that it was a once in a lifetime negative interaction.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:41 PM   #9
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I had a guy stroll up to my campsite wearing a Cowboy hat and saying "howdy" at 1 AM at Pharaoh Lake one night. We had four and a dog in our party already, and while I was aware of the sharing rule, I'm not exactly warm and fuzzy when someone comes strolling out of the woods in the middle of the dark. After a polite conversation, I told him of a tent site nearby and he made his way there. The next day he returned and we had a nice visit. I think circumstances will dictate various reactions for sure.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:44 PM   #10
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Adirondack lean-tos are, by definition, and often by signage, a shared space. No such signs appear on backcountry campsites, and until I saw this thread, I never even considered the possibility that another paddler or hiker would want to share an occupied tent site. I'm speaking from the perspective of a paddler, because I avoid water-access sites that are near hiking trails, because I want and expect privacy when I paddle to a remote site. When I hike, and all of my hiking is in the High Peaks, I have no expectation of privacy because those sites are in close proximity to the foot paths.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:36 AM   #11
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My wife and I asked to share a site on the CL 50 once at Glasby Pond. We started our hike in from Wanakena kind of late in the day and had only planned on getting that far anyway. It was getting dark and when we got to the site it was occupied. I knew there was another site not too far away, and the Janacks LT was empty when we passed by but we were quite tired. I asked the two fellows if they would mind if we stayed for the night and they said to go ahead.

My only regret is that I had no marshmellows to share.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:46 AM   #12
Rich Lockwood
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A thought

2 of these occasions were also at High Rock also. I think one factor is that we as canoe campers look for marked numbered sites from the water to camp on,but hikers approch from inland and don't see the campsite marker at all. I think many may not even be aware that where I was camped was a marked campsite. The last time camping with friends at high rock, the hiking group that arrived did over max the site,but I didn't want to confront them and figgured the Ranger would realize who was at fault if he came to check. Personally,I love socializing at times and have met some wonderful people en route or when I was invited to stop at a site or I did the same,but I don't travel to the ADK wilderness to camp with new uninvited people in my campsite.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:43 AM   #13
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High rock is an interesting example as there are no other designated sites nearby which can be hiked to while there are many with water access (relatively) close by.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuctTape View Post
High rock is an interesting example as there are no other designated sites nearby which can be hiked to while there are many with water access (relatively) close by.
Yeah... there are numerous paddling access sites along the Oswegatchie. In contrast, the number of tent sites along the truck trail to High Falls is quite limited, and there are no other sites on the trail near High Rock. If it's late in the day, your options as a hiker there are either the High Rock site, or primitive camp in the woods someplace (difficult due to the remaining blowdown from the microburst, as well as the dense new growth). The next site on the truck trail is at least 3 miles further south.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost View Post
I had a guy stroll up to my campsite wearing a Cowboy hat and saying "howdy" at 1 AM at Pharaoh Lake one night. We had four and a dog in our party already, and while I was aware of the sharing rule, I'm not exactly warm and fuzzy when someone comes strolling out of the woods in the middle of the dark. After a polite conversation, I told him of a tent site nearby and he made his way there. The next day he returned and we had a nice visit. I think circumstances will dictate various reactions for sure.
Every weekend I've stayed at Pharaoh Lake, I've noticed groups showing up in the middle of the night/early morning. I think that lake gets a lot of use from the NYC/NJ/Long Island crowd... and they always say the same thing, that they started driving out of the city at 5 pm on Friday, got to the trailhead at midnight, and hiked into the lake in the dark. Usually, they've been very respectful of the fact that most everyone else camped on the lake is sleeping, but I've also been woken once or twice by loud groups setting up camp and raising a ruckus in the middle of the night.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:55 AM   #16
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After all this, I agree with Richard1726. Doesn't matter to me whether hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, common sense and courtesy should prevail.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:27 PM   #17
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I realize it is protocal, but I would never dream of asking to share a site unless it was close to dark or the weather was threatening. Otherwise I would simply move on. I would do this because I know how irritated I would be if someone tried to share with me. I suppose lean-tos would be different, but again, I would never try to share one with someone.

To me its sort of like fishing. If someone is already in a pool, I don't go anywhere near them unless it is the beaverkill or somewhere like that. While I would certainly be allowed to share a stretch of water with someone, unless it is a crowded it is in poor taste.

If the weather is fine and it isn't close to dark, I would suggest another site and if they didn't take the hint, make whoever it is feel pretty uncomfortable until they left.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:34 PM   #18
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High rock is an interesting example as there are no other designated sites nearby which can be hiked to while there are many with water access (relatively) close by.
This is definitely a place I would make an exception. Actually, I just wouldn't camp there if canoeing, but if I did I would go into it fully expecting (and understanding why) a hiker to want to share.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:06 PM   #19
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I just checked the DEC website and the rules for back country camping. It lists all of the basic rules we all know (150 ft from water, trail or road, only dead and down wood, parties of 10 or less...) It absolutely mentions the lean to policy of first come first serve and until filled to capacity. It does not make any mention of this regarding designated campsites. I Personally have never been asked to share, but certainly would under the conditions of darkness and or weather. However i don't feel i should be made to share, or made to feel uncomfortable if i did not want to. there are times when i am looking for a very quiet and remote weekend alone or in a small group. there are other times i am with a group who will be up late having some beer, playing guitars and singing around a campfire. I am not sure how i would feel if an unexpected camper or two popped in and altered my plans for the weekend. Still if circumstances dictated it i feel i would be open minded. However if there is another site 200 yards away i would hope they would move on, and expect them too. Does anyone actually know if there is an actual rule for sharing sites?
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:49 PM   #20
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Sharing

Great thread as I had no idea sharing was expected. As one of the "New Jersey crowds" I would never even think of stumbling into an occupied campsite in the middle of the night. That is just rude. If I got there that late I would just sleep in my car until morning or stay in a motel. If I am in a remote site with my wife and 2 daughters I would be very hessitant to share my site with a bunch of guys. Maybe it is my big city "always be aware" attitude. I avoid leantos for that reason (I prefer a tarp and a tent anyway). Interesting, but a few years ago my wife and a female friend were hiking near Indian Lake and came upon an occupied Lean to and the idiots refused to share. Great advise to stay off sites on a hiking trail.
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