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Author Topic: Tent Camping along a trail  (Read 20222 times)
charleyrichardwalters
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« on: March 10, 2011, 09:09:35 PM »

Question:  When is it ok to pitch a tent along or near a trail?

  I remember as a kid going with my brother into some park, walking down to a stream or river, and pitching a tent.  We never wondered if it was allowed or not, we just assumed it was ok. 

As an adult, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail a number of times, but always used the shelters.  Now my children are getting to the point where I can take them on overnight hikes, and I would like to know if I can still just go to any old park system, walk to a creek, and pitch a tent.

Of course, it goes without saying that there is a pack-it-in/pack-it-out mentality here. 

Any advice on this?
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Pioneer Spirit
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 09:19:27 PM »

I simply found a remote place away from prying eyes and set up my Hubba.  No lights, no fires, no trace other than a strange dry square where the ten sat in the morning.  Maybe hiking with Poppy will give me more courage about knocking on the doors of strangers and asking for a site.

My multi-mile walk off the trail to John Bryan resulted in a steath site because I was camper #101 in a 100 site camp ground. 
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Captain Blue
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 09:33:38 PM »

The answer to your question depends on what trail you are talking about.

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When is it ok to pitch a tent along or near a trail?

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if I can still just go to any old park system, walk to a creek, and pitch a tent?

Most parks and forests do not permit dispersed camping. But some do. Where dispersed camping is permitted it is generally not legal to camp near a trail or water source. Most places require you to be xxx feet from a trail, lake or stream.

"Pack It In - Pack It Out" is still practiced but it has been replaced/expanded by Leave No Trace principles. Check out lnt.org. While LNT is not the "law" it widely accepted. Most people do their best with LNT but aren't perfect.
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rastaredneck
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2011, 07:05:03 PM »

I feel that I must add my 2 cents on this subject. I know some of you may disagree, but here it goes...#1. Pack it in pack it out!! Right on!! #2. Only God "owns" the land. I don't care if you are the government, or if your great- grampa killed all the indians and built a home and passed it down to you...Only God "owns" the land.

I am not suggesting that anyone get a big group together and throw a party in the woods like a rainbow gathering or something. I simply mean that I think its a bunch of BS when a state or a country or even a person gets bent out of shape when a backpacker sets up a tent to get some rest while on the trail. What else are we supposed to do?

I recently read an article about how bad "stealth" camping was and it kinda made me think. But I still believe what I stated above. No deed or fence gives you "ownership" of something that God has dominion over. They may be able to bury you there, but you ain't taking it with you, are ya? Tongue
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BTA Geek
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 07:34:48 AM »

I could get into a nice debate about land ownership, but that is for a different time.

In regards to 'stealth' camping, in talking with long distance hikers I know, and in most of the journals I have read, true stealth camping was seldom needed.  A knock on someone's door, and explanation, and a request to set up a tent in a remote section of property were generally all that was required.  They were seldom refused, and if so, they went to the next property.  It's just a nice thing called respect.

Of course, when permission is granted, use LNT practices, so the next person knocking at the door will be welcomed.

And remember - you may think it is all God's land, but the residents and the local sheriff may disagree!!!
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rastaredneck
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2011, 06:36:44 PM »

 Grin I knew someone was gonna mention the cops...you are right though, they wouldn't agree and like I said its just my opinion. But seriously, you never truly "own" land.
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MacCherokee
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2012, 08:39:29 AM »

I wonder if some land owners along the trail would allow a designated camping area on their lands. As long as everyone is respectful there should be no issues, right?
I wish I were closer to the trail, I would build a shelter...
but, I am 20 miles away. If anyone wants to hike 20 miles off of the burton section for a campsite let me know Wink
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BTA Geek
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2012, 07:48:52 PM »

Several private landowners do permit camping on a part of their land.  Some are mentioned in the section maps, while others prefer less 'advertising'.  Those are on a list available from info@buckeyetrail.org.

If you find a willing landowner in your hikes, by all means ask if they would mind being 'on the list' then let us know!  (Email computers@buckeyetrail.org and I will make sure the right people know).
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