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Thread: camping spot near Zealand Hut

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    I don't believe real backpackers are abusing these sites, and so publicizing them is no big deal. My understanding is that the FS's petty revenge "revegetation" strategy has pretty much been abandoned.

    The problem is that as the paths beaten into them are becoming more obvious, less experienced/educated/civilized hikers are taking advantage of the privacy afforded and using the sites as toilets. Instead of just crapping right off the trails as usual, they're going into the sites and depositing right in the middle, always that perfect flat spot where you wanted to set down your sleeping bag. I'm particularly noticing it on the old logging/tote roads; you take about 20-30 steps in and there it is, neatly centered, with white decoration.

    I've always thought that brushing in the paths to these sites was kind of silly but I've come to appreciate the wisdom
    Years ago I ran into some trail maintainers who claimed they intentionally left "deposits" in areas that were being rehabilitated and posted no camping. They would intentionally plant rocks in the middle of the flat spaces and over nighters would move them it them if they could, so the "deposit" method was done out of frustration. We happened to be near Ethan Pond Shelter so maybe the tradition continues.

    Then again nothing is as disgusting as the the "designated toilet areas" in the smokies at some of the AT shelters. Think acres of "lilies"

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Years ago I ran into some trail maintainers who claimed they intentionally left "deposits" in areas that were being rehabilitated and posted no camping
    Could be. But I doubt they'd leave the white flourish. My most recent experience was coming down on Bondcliff about three weeks or so ago. Two old roads within a few hundred yards of each other; the higher was not signed in any way and had a prodigious pile obviously from a well-fed barbarian, coincidentally about 200 feet in from the trail at a perfect flat spot. The lower road WAS signed no camping and was crapless. Just a random data point.

  3. #18
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Years ago I ran into some trail maintainers who claimed they intentionally left "deposits" in areas that were being rehabilitated and posted no camping. They would intentionally plant rocks in the middle of the flat spaces and over nighters would move them it them if they could, so the "deposit" method was done out of frustration.
    I'd be curious how those trail maintainers rationalized their purported act. This feels like stories of people poisoning dogs. To be clear, the main parallel is that those are both really stupid ideas. In my years of back country camping I've never run into a pile of pooh in a good campsite, but I rarely camp along popular day hike routes.

    Given the site in question's proximity to the Zealand Falls hut (and it's free, clean toilets), I suspect is receives less illegal dumping. As for the general risk of posting sites online, I suspect that if someone is thoughtful enough to plan ahead and read through forums to try and find stealth sites, they are more likely to poop properly than someone who does no planning. I'm with Will in thinking that a good chunk of the bad poopers are day hikers, perhaps ones that thought they could hold it, then scurried off trail when the situation became critically urgent. Of course, those are guesses based on assumptions.
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  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    I don't believe real backpackers are abusing these sites, and so publicizing them is no big deal. My understanding is that the FS's petty revenge "revegetation" strategy has pretty much been abandoned.
    Last year I had rangers post the site I was staying at in the Wild River as I was packing up camp.

  5. #20
    Junior Member cathyf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    Last year I had rangers post the site I was staying at in the Wild River as I was packing up camp.
    Wow - I'm surprised at the discussion that my request for backcountry site info generated. I want to report that I ended up staying off the Ethan Pond trail because it sounded easier to find and it was getting dark by the time I got to the A-Z trail. I'm happy to report that I did find the other site on the way out. Both sites were in pretty good shape, only a couple of other campers at Ethan Pond... I was especially concerned because it was not poo that was the problem, but fires. NOAA had issued a special hazardous weather alert because of high winds and dry conditions for Friday, with fires being the main concern. I took it upon myself to make sure that the guys nearest me knew about the alert(they didn't) and inform them of the Dilly fire. They weren't from around here and I told how dry it's been and that having a fire was risky. They didn't put it out right away but didn't let it get much bigger...and promised to make sure it was out at the end of evening. I still didn't sleep that well that night knowing that these yahoos had fires at all given the wind. I was glad I was there to at least warn them. Maybe that site is too obvious if it attracts people with such disregard for safety.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cathyf View Post
    Wow - I'm surprised at the discussion that my request for backcountry site info generated. I want to report that I ended up staying off the Ethan Pond trail because it sounded easier to find and it was getting dark by the time I got to the A-Z trail. I'm happy to report that I did find the other site on the way out. Both sites were in pretty good shape, only a couple of other campers at Ethan Pond... I was especially concerned because it was not poo that was the problem, but fires. NOAA had issued a special hazardous weather alert because of high winds and dry conditions for Friday, with fires being the main concern. I took it upon myself to make sure that the guys nearest me knew about the alert(they didn't) and inform them of the Dilly fire. They weren't from around here and I told how dry it's been and that having a fire was risky. They didn't put it out right away but didn't let it get much bigger...and promised to make sure it was out at the end of evening. I still didn't sleep that well that night knowing that these yahoos had fires at all given the wind. I was glad I was there to at least warn them. Maybe that site is too obvious if it attracts people with such disregard for safety.
    Did they know about the Kinsman Ridge fire thats been burning for three weeks? If I recall, its not too far from where you were, correct? We didnt see it from Franconia Ridge Saturday morning, but by noon, we could see the smoke blowing ffom behind Cannon Mountain.

  7. #22
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    Did they know about the Kinsman Ridge fire thats been burning for three weeks? If I recall, its not too far from where you were, correct? We didnt see it from Franconia Ridge Saturday morning, but by noon, we could see the smoke blowing ffom behind Cannon Mountain.
    Cathy references the 'Dilly fire', which is on the southern end of Kinsman Ridge. Ethan Pond is a few ridges NE of there - probably 20 miles as the crow flies.
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  8. #23
    Junior Member cathyf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJsName View Post
    Cathy references the 'Dilly fire', which is on the southern end of Kinsman Ridge. Ethan Pond is a few ridges NE of there - probably 20 miles as the crow flies.
    That's correct, TJsName.

  9. #24
    Senior Member miehoff's Avatar
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    These legal or illegal site locations should be done via PM and not on the forum pages. Let's keep these hidden places hidden? Eh? Makes sense to me.
    Miehoff

  10. #25
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    Some of the spots in this area are legal and some are not. A hiker just needs to know the rules and decide if they want to follow them. PMing a so called "stealth" spot doesnt change the legality of a spot, its just encouraging someone else to break the rules.

    Read the rules https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...rdb5363715.pdf

    The two controlling rules are the 1/4 mile rule which would be 1/4 mile radius from the Hut. The FS does mark those boundaries pretty well on all trails in the area. The other controlling rule is 200 foot rule from trails for wilderness areas. This gets tricky as the Wilderness boundary is most likely not the centerline of Twinway and the Ethan Pond trails. The boundary is generally some short distance from the centerline of trails to allow some buffer around the trails to allow maintenance. The 1/4 mile rule pretty well locks out any legal camping between the hut and the Ethan Pond trail and some short distance north and south of the junction with the Twinway and Zealand trails which pretty well excludes any camping up to the junction with the A to Z trail (and the area around Zealand Pond). There are many illegal sites within the 1/4 mile radius and different hut crews appear to have differing interpretations on what is legal. Unfortunately they dont have any authority to waive the rules, only the FS has the authority so any suggestions the AMC crew makes has no standing.

    There are legal sites a short distance down Ethan Pond trail once the 1/4 mile marker is passed and many just off the A/Z trail. This get even more tricky as the official FS maps show the wilderness boundaries far closer to the trails than that shown on the circled map insert prior in the thread. Since the wilderness boundary is somewhere west of the trail a camper can camp directly on west side of the trail or at worst 200 feet in the woods to the west. To the east side of the trail, there is no minimum buffer. There are several patches of open woods in this area. The other somewhat popular spot is on the Zeacliff trail down near Whitewall Brook (past the boulder fields). This is definitely Wilderness area so the 200 foot rule applies. There are some obviously used areas that are within the 200 foot limit but plenty of spots outside the limit.

    PMing is the not the big issue in this area as much as the adoption of several electronic aps by AT thruhikers which have formalized what were formerly "stealth" sites. I have not looked at recent versions but the prior versions I have seen listed numerous potential campsites with no regard to FS regs. Hikers assume that if these spots are listed in the AP they are legal.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 10-27-2017 at 06:04 AM.

  11. #26
    Senior Member MikePS's Avatar
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    climbed up to Zeacliff today, tenters right in the wooded area near the cliff, would be surprised if this is recommended?

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikePS View Post
    climbed up to Zeacliff today, tenters right in the wooded area near the cliff, would be surprised if this is recommended?

    Ha. I know those people. That spot is pretty well known.

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