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Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers?
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Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Re: Re: Re: Re: Government shutdowns ? on 04/08/2011 13:10:10 MDT Print View

"In some areas there is a lot of federal land (USFS & BLM) if you are lucky enough to be close. A lot of people don't even think about BLM land. But finding the gems does take some research. The USFS usually does "advertise" dispersed camping opportunities. Along with backpacking, I do a lot of camping with my wife in our tent trailer. Even close to large cities in Southern California, there are "dispersed" camping areas that are not well known. Camping is allowed for up to 14 days and is free. I have attached a few pictures of some. Notice that there is not one else in these areas. These were all on holiday weekends."

Sadly I was headed through southeastern NC... the part where the Mountains-to-Sea trail goes through and you can't camp anywhere along it without paying. Not quite the same atmosphere as SoCal, sadly. There was a LOT of state and county land everywhere but it was all posted against camping of any sort, except occasionally allowing for camping "with a permit from x ranger station obtained x days in advance with a fee of x per night."

I ended up camping in them anyways. I was on a bicycle tour, and the daily "cue sheets" from the East Coast Greenway association had a tendency to put you in the middle of nowhere for several nights in a row. That said, I really did appreciate the solitary enjoyment of some beautiful forests, but I could have done without feeling like I was going to look over my shoulder to see a park ranger coming to arrest me as I pitched my tarp.

I guess I'm just jealous of the stories my dad tells of the days you could wing an off-the-cuff bicycle tour just about anywhere in the country and camp in any old forest or random stranger's yards and not feel vulnerable to persecution. It's a more regulated/paranoid nation these days, I suppose.

Amen on NY state, I'm looking forward to camping almost wherever I want this summer. After I move out next week (coming back from the south early complicated things) I probably won't even get a place to stay until it gets around to being fall. I've done that a few summers already and it's a great feeling.

Craig Burton

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Government shutdowns ? on 04/08/2011 16:17:37 MDT Print View

Eric - there are a few forest roads along the MST that allow dispersed hiking, they just aren't very well-known and can be difficult to get to. The dispersed hiking area promoted the most is just down the road from Black Mountain Campground - I guess it kind of works as a free overflow for tent campers.

Anyway, I received an interesting email from trail maintenance list that I'm on in regards to GSMNP. I'm sure this pretty much applies to all national parks, so I will share in verbatim:

"If congress fails to settle the budget issues by Friday night the government will shut down. If that happens the Park would get the word sometime Saturday morning and would then shut down the Park. The “word” has to come down through channels including the OMB so it may not be fast.

The Park has asked us to notify all our volunteers that even if they can access the park during a shutdown, they are not encouraging folks to use the park during that time.

This is for two reasons (1) In the event that someone is hurt, the Park will have greatly diminished ability to respond with SAR and EMS (2) Once the government shuts down, VIP agreements become void. Thus, if someone is working in the park during the shutdown and gets hurt, he or she will not be covered under workman's comp.

Recreational hikers should also be aware of the situation. Most gates will be locked, including the one at the Greenbrier Range Residence. But it may take some time to get the gates locked. If you were already hiking in Porters Creek when the gate were locked at the Ranger station you would be trapped in. Emergency gate openings for trapped vehicles would be handled as best they could.

You can monitor the national news tonight and get a feel for what to expect, but if congress settles things it may not be until midnight, as you undoubtedly know."

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Government shutdowns ? on 04/08/2011 17:00:27 MDT Print View

Yes, there's a bit more freedom to camp in the western part of NC, but once you get over around Raleigh and south (where I was) it's pretty nonexistent.

I'd love to head out there sometime when I get a chance.

Craig Burton

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Government shutdowns ? on 04/08/2011 17:59:42 MDT Print View

Ahh - somehow I read that as southwestern NC! I'm pretty certain that dispersed camping is most likely non-existent out towards the coast.

I agree, that in general, there is just not enough public land out east. Sometimes I feel like a prisoner surrounded by concrete and private land.

While it's never too exciting to take adventures to the eastern part of the continent, when you do target western NC, the place to go is the Linville Gorge Wilderness. It's not great for backpacking, but for setting up a roadside camp and enjoying a day of brutal and stunning terrain it can be tough to beat.

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Woohoo! No shut down! on 04/08/2011 22:03:41 MDT Print View

They have my wife's passport renewal and we go out of the country next week! Hooray for compromise. :)

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Woohoo! No shut down! on 04/08/2011 23:30:44 MDT Print View

...and I get to fully experience Zion and Bryce!!!!