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Thread: Tenting in Seward Mnt Area (30 mile loop)

  1. #1
    Senior Member miehoff's Avatar
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    Tenting in Seward Mnt Area (30 mile loop)

    I am thinking of doing a loop around the Seward Mountains in a few weeks and I would rather not sleep in lean-tos. What are the options for tenting in that area? Can I just tent outside of a lean-to?

    Thanks.
    Miehoff

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    It seems as though the rules (and enforcements) vary, but I would avoid tenting within 150 feet of a trail, water, road, or leanto, to be on the safe side.
    Tom Rankin
    Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President Catskill 3500 Club
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    Trail maintainer for the Dry Brook Ridge trail from Mill Brook Road to just past the Lean-to

  3. #3
    Senior Member Trail Boss's Avatar
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    Short answer to your question is: No.

    Here's one of the best summaries of the DEC regulations and guidelines for the High Peaks Wilderness Area (HPWA).

    http://www.adkforum.com/showpost.php...24&postcount=1


    The eastern half of the HPWA has more stringent regulations than the western half (where you plan to hike). For example, in the eastern half campfires are forbidden, bear canisters are mandatory, dogs must be on leash, etc.

    For camping, you can camp at free, first-come-first-served, DEC designated campsites (marked with a yellow "Camp Here" disk) or primitive-camp a minimum of 150 feet from roads, trails, sources of water, and structures like lean-tos and DEC Outposts. In addition, you're not permitted to camp above 3500 feet unless it's at a designated campsite (all the designated campsites in the western HPWA are below 3500 feet).

    Designated campsites near the Seward Range:
    Along Calkins Brook Truck Trail.
    East of Blueberry Lean-to.

    The woods along the Blueberry Trail, Calkins Brook Truck Trail, and Ward Brook Truck Trail, are fairly open and flat. You shouldn't have a problem finding suitable terrain for primitive-camping (that is at least 150 feet from the trail, water, etc). The land across the trail from the Ward Brook Lean-to is a good tenting spot (and not the illegal sites behind the lean-to that are all too close).

    On the other hand, if I was going to circumnavigate the Sewards, I'd opt for camping in the lean-tos along the Cold River. That area sees little traffic and you'll probably get a lean-to all to yourself. They also have handy firepits.
    Last edited by Trail Boss; 10-09-2017 at 11:10 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bignslow's Avatar
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    Based on my interpretation of the regulations, at large camping is allowed in the western high peaks (and in the eastern high peaks outside of the Marcy Dam/Flowed Lands corridor) based on the following:
    http://www.dec.ny.gov/regs/2493.html
    which links through to here
    https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Docum...a=(sc.Default)

    6 CRR-NY 190.13(d) Camping restrictions.
    In the High Peaks Wilderness Area, no person shall:
    (1) erect or use any tent platform or camp structure other than tents, tarps, lean-tos, or those composed of snow;
    (2) camp at any location above 4,000 feet in elevation;
    (3) camp at locations which are greater than 3,500 feet in elevation but equal to or less than 4,000 feet in elevation except at a primitive tent site; or
    (4) erect a tent in a primitive tent site at a distance greater than 15 feet from the official department sign or disk.

    The rule that you need to camp at a designated site is in section:
    6 CRR-NY 190.13(f)(5) In the South Meadows-Flowed Lands Corridor, no person shall camp except at a primitive tent site, provided that this section shall not be effective until such time as the department completes its designation of such campsites within such corridor, and provided further that until such time as the department completes such designation no person shall fail to comply with the camping instructions contained on any sign posted by the department.
    Warning: BigNSlow may not actually be all that slow

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    To answer the specific question about tenting next to a lean-to, the official answer is "no"; but you'd never realize that from the way the current regulations are written. At the DEC's request, the ADK High Peaks guide and map now include a specific statement to that effect. The reason, admittedly hard to interpret from the regulations, is that there is no "Camp Here" disk on the lean-to. I have heard of the prohibition being enforced occasionally, but the chance of its being enforced at one of the Cold River lean-tos is about nil.

    The reason for the prohibition is apparently to try and keep the compacted area around a lean-to form increasing any more than necessary. Otherwise, have a great trip through some rarely-visited terrain. And I assume that you will be on the west side of the Cold River on the N-P Trail. The east side horse trails are badly overgrown despite a major effort last spring to fly a crew in to start on the effort. The current "minimum maintenance" designation on the ADK's High Peaks map is totally justified.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Trail Boss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bignslow View Post
    The rule that you need to camp at a designated site is in section:
    6 CRR-NY 190.13(f)(5) In the South Meadows-Flowed Lands Corridor, no person shall camp except at a primitive tent site, provided that this section shall not be effective until such time as the department completes its designation of such campsites within such corridor, and provided further that until such time as the department completes such designation no person shall fail to comply with the camping instructions contained on any sign posted by the department.
    That regulation, by its own admission, does not apply. "... this section shall not be effective until such time as the department completes its designation of such campsites ..." They never completed it so it doesn't apply; you can legally primitive-camp in the South Meadows-Flowed Lands Corridor. BTW, that regulation has been worded that way for many years.

    Speaking of "for many years", there's a DEC regulation stating you must fill out and display a "trip ticket" ("self-issuing permit"). Those things were discontinued about 15 years ago.

    That's why I linked to this curated list because it skips a few moldy old regs that only serve to confuse visitors to the High Peaks. We consolidated and categorized the regulations so people don't have to search through umpteen DEC and Westlaw pages.
    Last edited by Trail Boss; 10-11-2017 at 10:23 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member miehoff's Avatar
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    Great info everyone. Thank you.
    I will be using the NP Trail through Cold River, yes.
    Miehoff

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    Senior Member Rick's Avatar
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    Ditto on what Tony said - It couldn't be said better. I used to lead a trip on the Cold River Triangle with the Rochester ADK back when I managed a couple of LTs on the Ward Brook TT. Assuming you are going in on Calkins Creek TT to NPT and back out WBTT? In over a dozen trips through there, I do not ever recall seeing anyone except a few times at the Cold River LTs closet to Calkins Creek TT, at DH a few times and then as i get closer to Blueberry LT. I usually headed in there in early spring or late Sep/Early Oct and there is no one around - Which makes it just perfect.
    Rick

  9. #9
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    I know someone who just got a ticket for tenting next to a lean-to in Catskills. From what I heard the ticket supposedly says that it's for tenting within 150 of the trail. Apparently, people who set up a tent inside of a lean-to also were ticketed, and so were those who set up tents too close to an almost dry stream bed. It is up to $250 fine with actual amount set by a judge.

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