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Thread: Gale River Road Campsite Vandalized

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Gale River Road Campsite Vandalized

    With growing frustration and anger on the up swing just a heads up. It was reported on FB that while out hiking a women reported to all local authorities that her campsite had been vandalized. Items were stolen and destroyed including her tent which was shredded and left on the ground. Very disturbing. She also did mention that the local authorities were taking it very seriously and were on the situation.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    So, not a bear?
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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    Thanks for posting this Tim. No I don't think this was a bear. interesting thing is that this happened during the day so she must have been being watched. Very strong Women for sure and a great attitude considering the situation. Kudos also to the folks that reached out!
    Last edited by skiguy; 06-10-2020 at 12:41 PM.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Sadly this type of damage in the past have been tied to recent high school graduates. On several occasions the stolen property has ended up in ditch once the perps realize what they have done. These camp sites are well distributed long the road and its pretty quiet during the day. Many traditional summer jobs in the area were impacted by Covid so there may be more folks with time on their hands. The folks who did this probably do not realize that a couple of game cams at the ends of the road will pick up their plates quite well once local law enforcement decide to get involved (which normally takes several incidents0.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Is this just "routine" vandalism/mischief or is it anti- out of state sentiment with COVID? Seen references to other less dramatic incidents the past few months like keying cars with out of state plates, etc. Just curious. I don't see an address on this person's Facebook profile. I've yet to head up to the Whites since this all started but I will be soon and would like to have a sense of what I'm in for if there is still resentment among locals.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member dailey7779's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Is this just "routine" vandalism/mischief or is it anti- out of state sentiment with COVID? Seen references to other less dramatic incidents the past few months like keying cars with out of state plates, etc. Just curious. I don't see an address on this person's Facebook profile. I've yet to head up to the Whites since this all started but I will be soon and would like to have a sense of what I'm in for if there is still resentment among locals.
    She's a local (will not say where for privacy) who was camping between weekend hike/runs int he Whites.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Is this just "routine" vandalism/mischief or is it anti- out of state sentiment with COVID? Seen references to other less dramatic incidents the past few months like keying cars with out of state plates, etc. Just curious. I don't see an address on this person's Facebook profile. I've yet to head up to the Whites since this all started but I will be soon and would like to have a sense of what I'm in for if there is still resentment among locals.
    Only time will tell. I think peakbagger made some good points. Usually these types of incidents occur in clumps and are usually linked to a group rather than random individuals. As I said in the OP their is a lot of held over frustration and anger from the last few months for various reasons. My guess is that with a lot of folks having been cooped up and now things loosing up it's analogous to a can of soda that has been shook up and someone just cracked the top. Hopefully it is an isolated incident.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I was never a fan of this style of camping for this very reason. This is not Covid related imo. This has happened before and while its not common, it's not unheard of. I would rather stay in a private or Forest Service campground, the added layer of security is well worth it to me. I was pretty much hiking during the pandemic and while I did hear of resentment towards out of stater's, I didn't feel like it was that prevalent. Things are really starting to open up and I suspect normalcy is not far behind. Daytrip, I wouldn't worry to much, but I wouldn't camp in these types of setting either for now, if I was you. Better safe then sorry. Just my 2 cents.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    I was never a fan of this style of camping for this very reason. This is not Covid related imo. This has happened before and while its not common, it's not unheard of. I would rather stay in a private or Forest Service campground, the added layer of security is well worth it to me. I was pretty much hiking during the pandemic and while I did hear of resentment towards out of stater's, I didn't feel like it was that prevalent. Things are really starting to open up and I suspect normalcy is not far behind. Daytrip, I wouldn't worry to much, but I wouldn't camp in these types of setting either for now, if I was you. Better safe then sorry. Just my 2 cents.
    I agree. Not to profile as I’m sure plenty of nice folks camp in this area. Although the few times I have camped their I have felt a certain element that I could see leading to incident like this.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    I was never a fan of this style of camping for this very reason. This is not Covid related imo. This has happened before and while its not common, it's not unheard of. I would rather stay in a private or Forest Service campground, the added layer of security is well worth it to me. I was pretty much hiking during the pandemic and while I did hear of resentment towards out of stater's, I didn't feel like it was that prevalent. Things are really starting to open up and I suspect normalcy is not far behind. Daytrip, I wouldn't worry to much, but I wouldn't camp in these types of setting either for now, if I was you. Better safe then sorry. Just my 2 cents.
    I would never camp in sites like that. The few times I've been through these spots it was a total shit show in my opinion: huge groups, noise, some really trashy looking set ups, etc. My experience is limited in these spots for sure but it was enough for me to scratch off the list. I too prefer an "official site" with a host, etc.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dailey7779 View Post
    She's a local (will not say where for privacy) who was camping between weekend hike/runs int he Whites.
    Good to know. Thanks. I think it definitely falls into the random nonsense category then and hopefully was just an isolated incident.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    I have never heard of a good source of statistics available to the public on crimes in the WMNF. There are multiple overlapping jurisdictions and it usually it takes a string of property crimes for the various agencies to finally decide who is going to expend resources to deal with it. The loss of local news coverage is also an issue. Many of the local subscription/paid circulation papers are gone with a few advertising based freebies left. They do have news staff but the staff are mostly assigned to local interest events that draw "eyeballs" to the paper. Unless its a major event with a chance for regional or national interest its doesn't get in the paper. The primary advertisers are tourist businesses and they do not want to draw attention to things like car break ins and thefts from tourists aren't local news and doesn't get reported. There is obviously social media but its highly variable if a report makes it into circulation.

    I guess if there were a lot of break ins a site like TrailsNH or Jeremy's site could add a category for car break ins but my perception is its not bad enough currently to warrant it.

    My general perception is that car thefts are way down compared to its peak but there are still thefts of opportunity. If someone is out to steal things, its smash and grab (assuming the doors are even locked), the goal is to get cash and easy to get rid of valuables quickly. I am quite surprised that the opioid epidemic didnt bring in a wave of property theft although there was a couple that were busted last year working the popular lots on the Kanc that were alleged to be supporting a habit of some sort. In general I see a lot less broken window glass in parking lots then 20 years ago (but I still see it on occasion).

    My perception is that there is some attempt to weed out out of the area transients that have on occasion been the source of car breakins. In the past I think the local communities basically pushed them out of the local towns boundaries onto back roads and onto the national forest lands many of which are unorganized territories. Coos and Grafton counties both have sheriffs departments but they tend to act as support to the courts and civil matters and avoid actual policing. Talk to anyone who has had their car broken into in Success or in the national forest and the big challenge is finding an agency to respond. The expansion of 911 seems to have put in place better coordination between the agencies. There was one large case tied with a transient that lived out of his car in the Great Gulf area that worked cars along Rt 16 and Dolly Copp road and a much larger problem with a transient that lived on a mix private and public lands off the end of Rocky Branch road and the end of Town Hall road (Slippery Brook and East Branch fire roads) in Bartlett that worked lots in a fairly wide area of the National Forest. Some may consider this harassing the homeless but it seems to have worked to reduce property crimes at hiker lots.

    A general observation is that the unorganized sites with the worst reps tend to be on the south end of the old Cherry Mountain Road, there are some larger sites that have tended to get a party crowd. The sites along the North Twin, Gale River and Garfield roads seem to have a better rep but its low priority for the WMNF so the sites can and do build up trash and the surrounding woods are always littered with toilet paper. I have also seen spots where campers have run a hose into the woods and dumped their waste tanks. There are few unofficial spots on the north end of Jefferson Notch road that seem to be quiet although in recent years there have been a few new sites opened up off the paved section near the three bridges. These are not signed as camping areas but inappropriate spots are signed no camping on the southern end. There is also the hidden site off the road where a snowmobile trail heads over to Cherry Mountain road. The other organized boondocking area is on RT 113 north of Evan Notch and I notice the road to it has been signed consistently with a warning about the maximum number of days a vehicle can be parked. Head over to the far eastern WMNF off of RT 113 and there is little enforcement and lots of places to park without being bothered. They are quite a drive from southern New England and do not get much use. Note most but not all roads in the WMNF are covered by the 1/4 miles RUA rules that restrict camping to designated spots just pulling off the road is not acceptable. Appalachia abuts state owned land and on occasion folks will camp in the strip of land between the low and the railroad track. Its a noisy spot with traffic on RT2, there are several state troopers who live in the Berlin Gorham area and the barracks is in Twin Mtn so they drive by the lot and also drive through it on their way by.

    This year I am seeing far more camper vans with out of state plates with the windows blacked out parking overnight in hiker lots, I expect at some point there may be crackdown as the lots get busier.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-10-2020 at 06:22 PM.

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    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    I was never a fan of this style of camping for this very reason. This is not Covid related imo. This has happened before and while its not common, it's not unheard of. I would rather stay in a private or Forest Service campground, the added layer of security is well worth it to me. I was pretty much hiking during the pandemic and while I did hear of resentment towards out of stater's, I didn't feel like it was that prevalent. Things are really starting to open up and I suspect normalcy is not far behind. Daytrip, I wouldn't worry to much, but I wouldn't camp in these types of setting either for now, if I was you. Better safe then sorry. Just my 2 cents.
    We shouldn't kid ourselves—we are almost surely a couple of years away from normalcy. I'm in an industry that will see the vast majority of it's business lost for at least the next year, unless there is an extraordinary paradigm shift. I sing in a community chorus, and I can say with greater than 90% certainty that we will not perform in the next year. I love to ski; we will be lucky if ski areas open this next season. If they do, use of base lodges will be severely restricted. I know it's a downer—I'm actually an optimist, in general—but there's a difference between being optimistic and unrealistic.

    In regard to camping on the Gale River Road and similar sites, they can be hard to come by and sometimes there is some litter left from previous tenants and I once got snowmobile spikes in two different tires, but otherwise I've had good experiences.

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    I camped on GRLR 2 weeks ago without incident. Most traffic through there was van life millenials. The previous occupants left a bed of hot coals and some beers. So thoughtful!

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