Clarifications from ATC please regarding How strictly is no camping enforced? (NJ/NY
Okay, so now I'm totally confused. Where is camping restricted in NY/NJ. I see on page 151 of the ATC guide what people are talking about in the post "How strictly is no camping enforced? (NJ/NY)" but that seems to refer to DWG only, correct? Is NY/NJ like the Smokies regarding/camping shelters? I've looked through the ATC guide (and others) and don't have a feel for what/where is restricted.
As far as I know, camping is restricted on privately owned land in these areas (i.e. where it's clearly posted that you CANNOT overnight). There are some other places, like DWG, or Sunrise Mountain, Bear Mt., etc., where camping is not allowed, and these places are also posted. But otherwise, I think you can camp in other locations if you wish. Maybe some member of the NY/NJ Trail Conference can give more information here, and if I'm wrong, I'll happily say so.
The DWG has a provision if you are a thru hiker that you may camp outside of the designated sites with certain restrictions. their definition of a thru hiker is anyone out for more than two consecutive days. This rule only applies to the area of the NRA. Other than that it is restricted. I can say for sure how they enforce in Nj or in NY west o e the hudson. I know over by me it is more a case of LNT but I also have the shelters over by me. You should be able to make the shelters in my area with little effort.
Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin
Yes, I would like the ATC or the NYNJ Trail Conference to clarify this. As Tinman researched on the other thread, the latest Guidebook makes it clear that camping away from shelters/designated campsites is largely forbidden in both states except for the DWGNRA exceptions as noted. The NYNJ Trail Conference website affirms this. But as I said in the other thread, the Companion - while noting camping prohibitions in NJ & CT - infers that camping is allowed anywhere in NY (fires are another matter). Like Jack said, I was under the impression that camping was prohibited on Bear Mountain, but what about the rest of Harriman Park and the rest of NY?
If you truly stealth camp then you are Leave NO Trace and probably will not have a problem no matter what you do.
Is there a problem getting to the designated areas that I do not see?
I know that in Harriman State Park camping is only allowed near the shelters, most of which are not on the A.T. I also know, for a fact, that people camp in other parts of the park, and I've never heard of anyone getting in trouble.
Originally Posted by Cookerhiker
Here's what the NY/NJ A.T. guide book says........
from the sixteenth edition of the NY-NJ AppalachianTrail Guide, dated 2007.
"The Appalachian Trail in New York and New Jersey is a surprisingly wild place, considering its proximity to the most densely populated areas in
America. Even so, the Trail's popularity and the narrowness of the A.T. corridor in both states mean that camping is permitted only at designated shelter areas and campsites. The only exception is the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (parts of New Jersey sections Five and Six), where long-distance hikers may find their own campsites along the Trail provided they choose a site that is at least a half mile from developed access roads or boundaries of the national recreation area. Such campsites must be no more than 100 feet from the trail."
I then went to the National Park Service web site for the Deleware Water Gap National Recreation Area and clicked on the link that said "Camping here & nearby" which took me to a page where I could click on "Backpacking on the Appalachian Trail" which got me "Page Not Found
I'm sorry that page could not be found, but you may want to try the NPS homepage here http://www.nps.gov. "
I take credit for all typos and spelling mistakes.
Thanks for the info. I guess I should restate my question: Is a person required to stay in a shelter-as in the Smokies. And yes I know you can stealth camp, climb the gates, ignore the rules etc. I'm just trying to find out what the rules are. Thanks
I Gotta Get out of Here!!
No you are not, as long as you are camping for more than two consecutive nights on the trail. If you are only going on an in and out trip (overnight) you have to stay at a designated campsite. THere are signs explaining this at all of the trail heads and road crossings along the way in NJ.
The quote from the guidebook in LIhikers post is accurate as far as where it's okay to camp per "the rules."
On the AT in NJ, camping is only allowed at designated sites, which are the Backpacker Campsite and the 7 shelters, except where the Trail goes through the Delware Water Gap NRA. In the NRA, there are no designated sites, but dispersed camping is allowed with some restrictions: not within 1/2 mile of a road, not between 1/2 mile south of Blue Mountain Lakes Road and the junction of the AT and the Buttermilk Falls Trail (a total of about 4 miles) and should be within 100 feet of the trail.
In NY, camping is also restricted to the 11 designated shelters or campsites, and dispersed camping isn't allowed anywhere. The info on page 159 of the Companion is incomplete and should probably mention that camping is restricted to designated sites only.
There are a few other places to camp that are mentioned in guides, maps or Companion but that are off the Trail or not part of the AT managment system, places like the Mohican Outdoor Center in NJ or Graymoor Friary and Fahnstock SP in NY.
One of the posters in this thread mentioned private land. I'd have to research it a little more, but I don't believe that any of the remaining 1% of the Trail that isn't on land in public ownership is in either state. That being said, a good bit of it in both states is in a very narrow corridor of land purchased soley to put the Trail on and is often extremely close to private property, making camping in those stretches problematic for trail managers at times.
I hope this helps clarify things a bit.
ATC Mid-Atlantic Regional Office
Boiling Springs, PA
Bob, thanks for clarifying all of this. In noticing that the rules are stated in the passive voice, I have one question concerning the prohibition of camping for the parts of NY outside Harriman Park (mostly east of the Hudson): who are the rulemakers? Is it NPS, NY State, ATC, NYNJTC? I ask this because there must be a reason that this prohibition was not listed in the Companion and frankly, I wonder if the Guidebook is accurate. I have an older version of the Guidebook which contains no such prohibition. So what changed and when and by whom?
Hope you're doing well. Where are you at the present?
Do you have any insights regarding such statements as "In NY, camping is also restricted to the 11 designated shelters or campsites..." Does this mean, as in the Smokies, that you MUST stay IN the shelter unless it is full? Don't mean to make a big deal of this - what is is. Just wondering what I have to look forward to.
Thanks, have enjoyed your pics
Originally Posted by ofthearth
No, you do not have to stay in the shelter. You can tent at the shelters, even if they are empty. They just don't want you tenting in the woods between shelters.
Hey OfTheEarth - I did a biking overnight on the Great Allegheny Passage and am heading to Shenandoah NP Monday for a few days to work on my section and dispense some trail magic to NOBOs.
Originally Posted by ofthearth
The simple answer to your question is "no" but my interest in this subject stems from my hike east of the Hudson in NY in Nov. 05 when I tented 3 consecutive nights all between shelters apparently against the "rules." I have an earlier edition of the NY-NJ Guidebook which didn't prohibit camping and as I pointed out in this thread, neither does the Companion.
I hiked the same stretch in June '04 and timed it right by staying at Graymoor, RPH, and Telephone Pioneers but the shelter spacing didn't work in November when slippery leaves slowed us down.
Besides wanting to know if I was "illegal," I'm curious how this prohibition came about and who made it hence my questions to BobS above. His answer quoted the current Guidebook but used the passive voice. My simple questions are "who" did the prohibiting and when?
Mostly State Parks. Sterling Forest (just north of Wildcat Shelter) was a private 18,000 acre tract until about 6 years ago. No camping was allowed between Wildcat Shelter and Fingerboard Shelter more than 14 miles north. That's one of the longer stretches on the AT between shelters - excepting the Cumberland Valley. When the land was acquired, it was decided that Sterling Forest would not be a place where camping is permitted. Primarily because of concerns about impacts, and because of the sensitive ecological areas found in the park (ex: Cedar Pond's bogs). It is a day use area, although a large one at nearly18K acres.
Originally Posted by Cookerhiker
Harriman State Park - where Fingerboard is located - is just over an hour from one of the biggest cities in the US. It receives more visitors annually than Yellowstone. Camping has always been restricted to designated areas - in order to manage the park.
I can't really speak to the parks east of the Hudson, because I spent most of my life across the river. But when it comes to camping in Fahnestock State Park, any restrictions will be a result of State policy. Not federal or local policy.
I knew about Harriman Park. I was more interested about east of the Hudson of which Fahnstock is only a small part. There are substantially less hikers on that part of the Trail. Having hiked through there twice within a 5 month period, I don't see the ecological harm in LNT camping - perhaps prohibit camping within x distance of Canopus and Nuclear Lakes.
Originally Posted by MOWGLI
A couple of possible concerns;
Originally Posted by Cookerhiker
- corridor width
- concerns about private property
- need for law enforcement
- concern about rare and threatened species
State Park agencies feel a need to have patrols and law enforcement when you permit camping. With NYC being so close, if camping was permitted outside of designated areas, you'd have all sorts of folks in the woods camping out. The state doersn't have the resources to patrol, and neiither does the ATC. In the sparsely populated SE and NE, that's not as much of a concern. Especially since there are many other options for camping on adjacent public lands.
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