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Thread: Sleeping in cars allowed at Lafayette Place?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sherby's Avatar
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    Sleeping in cars allowed at Lafayette Place?

    Hi,

    Just saw someone reporting on a FB group that there is a sign saying you can sleep in your car at Lafeyette Place, is this a exception because it's a state park and not a WMNF parking? (The OP might just be wrong).

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    I seriously doubt that. I think the "take a picture or it never happened approach" should be applied to the posting. My guess is it would be the opposite given that its adjacent to a paid state campground. There are paid staff for the campground so pretty easy to manage. There are a few paid spots on the north end of Echo Lake but I think the Tram lot is posted no camping.

    This RSA seems to cover it

    https://www.boondockersbible.com/doc...blic-property/
    Last edited by peakbagger; 07-06-2022 at 11:15 AM.

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    Senior Member Sherby's Avatar
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    I was surprised, but OP added that they saw at least 4 other cars with people sleeping in, I know it doesn't really meaning anything, but it was enough to investigate further.

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    I drive by once a week, if I have time I can check it out.

    Note during the Covid summers and this year there are many folks with fairly new camper vans (frequently the 100K plus Mercedes Sprinter chassis based models) camping overnight at hiker lots on both state and WMNF lands.Tthe 1/4 mile rule rules out camping at WMNF lots but expect enforcement priority was ultra low on the priority list by both federal and state law enforcement.

    Reportedly the BLM and other Federal land managers out west have a lot more issue with homeless folks trying to camp for extended periods on federal land. In general camping at undesignated sites is legal but only for 14 days in a month. After that the campers need to be moved at least 25 miles to another site.

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherby View Post
    I was surprised, but OP added that they saw at least 4 other cars with people sleeping in, I know it doesn't really meaning anything, but it was enough to investigate further.
    Numerous people, in different FB groups say it's OK to camp at trail-heads. I generally get to trail-heads early. I've on a few occasions, seen people getting out of their vehicles that it was obvious they'd spent the night. It's probably pretty easy to get a away with since the USFS doesn't have the resources to patrol the hundreds of trail-heads in the Whites. I wonder if it's done at all.
    Joe

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    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    I've slept at many of the trailheads in the Whites over the last few years and never had any issues. I've heard of people get roused but as JustJoe said, there's no way for them to monitor them all. As far as Lafayette Place goes, I doubt it's legal but I also doubt you'd get in trouble.

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    I know a few people who have been cited for it. All were at lots close to district headquarters.

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    Senior Member Sherby's Avatar
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    We've all heard stories of law enforcement emptying out Lincoln Woods at night and such, but here we are looking into a hypothetical new situation at Lafayette Place (or just someone making stuff up or not being able to read English correctly, FB OP is from QC).

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustJoe View Post
    Numerous people, in different FB groups say it's OK to camp at trail-heads. I generally get to trail-heads early. I've on a few occasions, seen people getting out of their vehicles that it was obvious they'd spent the night. It's probably pretty easy to get a away with since the USFS doesn't have the resources to patrol the hundreds of trail-heads in the Whites. I wonder if it's done at all.
    Nothing personal but Numerous people, in different FB groups say it's OK to camp at trail-heads is not much of a legal justification

    Generally, a violation like this rarely gets enforced unless there is an "incident". Over the years when there are rash of car breakins with increased visibility of parking lots, I think overnight camping in the lots had been discouraged to make them easier to patrol. Overnight camping in the Appalachia lot was discouraged for several years by state police who tended to swing into the lot on their night rounds when it was a target for frequent break-ins. John Scarinza, now retired was a Randolph resident and state trooper and no doubt kept an eye out. No doubt Gordon Lowe, the local constable might also have been involved. I think the perception is that someone camping in a shiny new $200K Sprinter is going to be treated better than the occupants of a 30 year old camper on its last legs.

    The WMNF on occasion would pay local towns for services on WMNF lands within town boundaries. I think Gorham did it for a while and Coos County Sheriff used to patrol Pinkham B road and Barnes Field (not sure if they still do). Of late I have noticed that the WMNF seems to have abandoned managing overnight camping along the north end of Jefferson Notch Road with numerous sites appearing along the road. They are not official designated primitive camping spots like on Haystack road they are just unenforced spots people use.

    Note unless the WMNF has changed the locks they use, many of the gated off areas in the WMNF used standardized Master brand combination locks that could be easily opened with a pick "tool" made out of thin piece of metal or just opened in about 15 minutes by manipulating the dials (see You Tube Lock Picking Lawyer videos). I have seen a few people camping behind these closed gates over the years. I dont expect its a big issue with the WMNF employees unless the folks camping are leaving trash or human waste, but in one case I encountered a camper that had been there for a while with a pretty good pile of trash and toilet consisting of a toilet seat balanced on a couple of saplings nailed to a tree with pile of crap and toilet paper on top of the ground under the seat. That road has grown in a lot so that it would be far more obvious today but there is large spot used by long term campers not very far away that is not gated.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 07-06-2022 at 01:26 PM.

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Nothing personal but Numerous people, in different FB groups say it's OK to camp at trail-heads is not much of a legal justification
    I didn't want to ramble so my point my have been lost. I absolutely do not condone this. My FB reference was to the point, that you can't convince the people that say they do they do this with no problems, that they are basically breaking the law. And that just because they are getting away with it, doesn't make it OK. Part of this FB issue can't be fixed by the Admins of the different groups. Provided they even know the rules. If someone posts they do this, that post should be deleted. Yesterday there was a post from a guy who camped on the beach at Fourth Iron Campground. Not only is it posted that the campground is closed till further notice, so is the beach do to a bear problem. And there's no camping on the beach regardless. This person knew that. And not to mention, I'm pretty sure it's less than 1/4 from Rt. 302. His report should never been allowed to be posted. Because of the sheer #'s on FB, now they'll be people illegally camping there.

    That's all I have to say about that.
    Joe

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    No camping signs prominently posted in both parking lots. The Lafayette place side has two no camping signs. (one came out blurred so I did not post it)

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    Of course there is no definition of camping posted so someone getting cited could try to argue the definition. It is also not posted in numerous languages so some non native speaker might argue they did not know as they could not read the sign.

    So I declare the thread title bogus unless there is additional backup to support it
    Last edited by peakbagger; 07-12-2022 at 04:41 PM.

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    Senior Member BISCUT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    No camping signs prominently posted in both parking lots. The Lafayette place side has two no camping signs. (one came out blurred so I did not post it)

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    Of course there is no definition of camping posted so someone getting cited could try to argue the definition. It is also not posted in numerous languages so some non native speaker might argue they did not know as they could not read the sign.

    So I declare the thread title bogus unless there is additional backup to support it

    The definition of "camping" is critical. I can understand the no camping rule due to others' past transgressions. While I don't completely agree I do get it. On the other hand I drive 5-6 hours and simply want to sleep in my truck for an early 5am start. I am not partaking in anything but quietly sleeping away. Seems a little harsh. If my parking permit allows me to park overnight I don't believe I should be automatically excluded from being inside my vehicle with my eyes shut with a blanket and pillow. IMHO reasonableness should be the deciding factor. If I were treating the lot like a Patriots game tailgating then that is a different matter. Or littering, being loud, etc.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Sherby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    No camping signs prominently posted in both parking lots. The Lafayette place side has two no camping signs. (one came out blurred so I did not post it)

    Of course there is no definition of camping posted so someone getting cited could try to argue the definition. It is also not posted in numerous languages so some non native speaker might argue they did not know as they could not read the sign.

    So I declare the thread title bogus unless there is additional backup to support it
    Thank you.

  14. #14
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    No camping signs prominently posted in both parking lots. The Lafayette place side has two no camping signs. (one came out blurred so I did not post it)

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    Of course there is no definition of camping posted so someone getting cited could try to argue the definition. It is also not posted in numerous languages so some non native speaker might argue they did not know as they could not read the sign.

    So I declare the thread title bogus unless there is additional backup to support it
    I don't agree with this line of reasoning. An individual claiming ignorance in this hypothetical situation would really be just ignorant in itself by trying to argue the point when it really is pretty clear what the rule is. Especially the part about a language barrier. I have traveled, climbed and camp all over the world where the common language is not English. It is the individual's responsibility to do their homework to obtain permitting and understanding the rules whether it be in the United States or elsewhere. As far as the definition of camping itself it's pretty clear what it is. Being inside a vehicle does not exclude someone from not technically being camped. Yes, you're not directly on the ground but you are planted for a period of time sleeping and eating. Car Camping is a commonly used term, and we all know what that is. Again, claiming ignorance would just be just some sort of guise. With that said I agree the issue is enforcement. No way are all the trailheads going to be patrolled but the possibility of the more popular trailheads being patrolled is more likely. The trailhead in question from the OP would qualify considering it is along a major State Highway in a very popular area.
    Last edited by skiguy; 07-13-2022 at 02:29 PM.
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    I've slept in a tent at the Lafayette Place campground a couple of years ago, but I could have slept in my car.

    https://newhampshirestateparks.reser...&parkId=270044

    One legal option is to park at the Skoocumchuck trailhead and hike 1/4 miles into the woods, then sleep there.
    Last edited by jfb; 07-13-2022 at 02:36 PM.

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