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ATBuddy
11-14-2009, 00:25
Which do you enjoy recreating in more? Which one do you feel like your more out in the wild away from crowds?

Feral Bill
11-14-2009, 00:36
The national forests near me have good oportunities, few crowds, and little in annoying controls.

Crazy Larry #1
11-14-2009, 00:52
National Forests....

Lone Wolf
11-14-2009, 00:58
national forests for sure cuz in my rainbow days it was cool. lotsa drugs and stuff, we used to trash the places and the good hippies would clean up after us

Sly
11-14-2009, 03:56
National Forest are cool but they're not half as spectacular as National Parks. Plus, you don't have to worry about getting shot by a hunter in a Park. ;)

ATBuddy
11-14-2009, 10:58
National Forest are cool but they're not half as spectacular as National Parks. Plus, you don't have to worry about getting shot by a hunter in a Park. ;)

There are national parks that allow hunting.

Red Hat
11-14-2009, 12:19
this is such an obvious poll that it is funny! Of course National Forests get you away from the crowds more than National Parks... but both have their usefulness. I enjoy them both.

Fiddleback
11-14-2009, 12:39
Whenever I did NF's or NP's I found there was no such thing as 'crowds' an hour's hike from the parking lot.:) That particularly applied in the VA/MD/WV area in the early 80's when one of my motivations for backpacking was to get away...especially from people. Maybe it's changed but backpacking popularity is down from then and I'd be surprised that one finds crowds in the backcountry. You guys can correct me.:D Certainly you can plan a trip for 'isolation' if that's what you're looking for.

As for NP or NF I really have no preference...it all depends on the trails themselves and where they lead... The past couple years have been a mix but mostly wilderness areas. The main 'rule' differences I find are the NP prohibition of dogs (which no longer accompany me) and NP specified camp sites.

I didn't realize some NPs allow hunting...which ones? The NP hunting here in my area is called, "poaching."

FB

ATBuddy
11-14-2009, 13:51
Whenever I did NF's or NP's I found there was no such thing as 'crowds' an hour's hike from the parking lot.:) That particularly applied in the VA/MD/WV area in the early 80's when one of my motivations for backpacking was to get away...especially from people. Maybe it's changed but backpacking popularity is down from then and I'd be surprised that one finds crowds in the backcountry. You guys can correct me.:D Certainly you can plan a trip for 'isolation' if that's what you're looking for.

As for NP or NF I really have no preference...it all depends on the trails themselves and where they lead... The past couple years have been a mix but mostly wilderness areas. The main 'rule' differences I find are the NP prohibition of dogs (which no longer accompany me) and NP specified camp sites.

I didn't realize some NPs allow hunting...which ones? The NP hunting here in my area is called, "poaching."

FB

Denali National Park and Preserve you can hunt. If it has the word Preserve in the name, you can hunt there.

mudhead
11-14-2009, 14:41
National Forest are cool but they're not half as spectacular as National Parks. Plus, you don't have to worry about getting shot by a hunter in a Park. ;)

Agree. But, I will go for NF anyday x 10. Depending on hunting.:)

weary
11-14-2009, 15:00
National Parks have more crowds than National Forests because they have more tourist attractions that you can drive to -- like Old Faithful at Yellowstone, Thunderhole in Acadia.

Crowded trails are rare in both National Parks and National Forests in my experience. Though there are exceptions. Tuckerman's in the White Mountain National Forest is busier than any National Park Trail that I've seen -- but my national experience is very limited.

I've yet to see a crowded trail in Acadia National Park in Maine that was more than a half mile from the trailhead. The same was true on my few visits to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Georgia. And also true when I've explored Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon.

We met almost no one on an eight mile walk to the Colorado River via the South Kaibab Trail one August. After a couple of days exploring the Indian ruins around Phantom Ranch, we ascended via Bright Angel, which was a bit busier, but not much.

Weary

Gray Blazer
11-14-2009, 15:06
national forests for sure cuz in my rainbow days it was cool. lotsa drugs and stuff, we used to trash the places and the good hippies would clean up after us

Now that's funny right there!:D

Sly
11-14-2009, 16:14
There are national parks that allow hunting.

Not to the general public, only to guys assigned to eradicate animals such as feral pigs in the Smokies.

Sly
11-14-2009, 16:15
this is such an obvious poll that it is funny! Of course National Forests get you away from the crowds more than National Parks... but both have their usefulness. I enjoy them both.

Like the White Mountain National Forest? No crowds there. :rolleyes: If you get out into the backcountry in NP's you seldom see anyone.

Sly
11-14-2009, 16:19
Denali National Park and Preserve you can hunt. If it has the word Preserve in the name, you can hunt there.

In the Preserve section, not in the area known as the NP.

Feral Bill
11-14-2009, 16:33
Denali National Park and Preserve you can hunt. If it has the word Preserve in the name, you can hunt there.

True only outside the core of the park. No hunting in the original park boundaries. This is a rare exception in the park system.

Jack Tarlin
11-14-2009, 17:04
On the A.T. anyway, I'd have to say National Forests.

Fewer people; fewer rules and regulations; less interaction with automobiles and roads; best of all, fewer restrictions and specifications on where one can camp/overnight.

Cookerhiker
11-14-2009, 17:19
I like em both. Generally in the East, the National Forests are preferable because you can see wonderful sights and experience nature from the Eastern deciduous forest without the crowds. Good example: Shenandoah NP has lot of people expecially during Fall weekends, summer, and nice Spring weekends but a short distance away (and a world apart peoplewise) lies George Washington National Forest (http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/) with lots of good hiking and views. And Monongahela National Forest (http://fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPwhQ oY6IeDdGCqCPOBqwDLG-AAjgb6fh75uan6BdnZaY6OiooA1tkqlQ!!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfMjAwMDAwMDBBODBPSEhWTjBNMD AwMDAwMDA!/?ss=110921&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=FSE_003853&navid=091000000000000&pnavid=null&position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&ttype=main&pname=Monongahela%20National%20Forest-%20Home/) is even better. Also, some national forests are the only protection for vast tracts like White Mountains.

As multiple use agencies, national forests are more vulnerable to exploitation to logging, mining, drilling etc. so us recreational and nature users must be vigilent when forest plans are issued and revised.

But I certainly wouldn't bad-mouth National Parks. There are some natural wonders which are housed only in NPs like Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone, Mt. Rainier, Zion, Denali, Crater Lake. And even those well-visited parks still have relative solitude in the back country. And then there are those less-visited National Parks like Big South Fork, Great Baisin, Voyageurs, Lassen. For me, it's not an either/or question; they both have their advantages.

mudhead
11-14-2009, 18:00
I've yet to see a crowded trail in Acadia National Park in Maine that was more than a half mile from the trailhead.

Weary

Either we need to take a walk, or define crowded.:)

You are correct that getting away from the trailhead helps, but it isn't big enough here to spread people out like in the West.

ATBuddy
11-14-2009, 18:05
In the Preserve section, not in the area known as the NP.

Its still a national park. National Park Rangers enforce the laws in the preserve.

Slo-go'en
11-14-2009, 18:09
Give me the land of many abuses any day. NP's drive me nuts!

Shutterbug
11-14-2009, 18:10
Which do you enjoy recreating in more? Which one do you feel like your more out in the wild away from crowds?

I am blessed to be near two great National Parks -- Mt. Rainier and Olympic. No hunting is allowed in the National Parks. I think it is fair to turn the National Forest over to the hunters and confine my hiking to the National Parks during hunting season.

Sly
11-14-2009, 18:27
Its still a national park. National Park Rangers enforce the laws in the preserve.

Yeah, several Parks and Preserves in AK allow hunting. Point taken. :rolleyes:

weary
11-14-2009, 18:56
Either we need to take a walk, or define crowded.:)

You are correct that getting away from the trailhead helps, but it isn't big enough here to spread people out like in the West.
Well, you live there and see the park much more than I do. I'm a once or twice a year visitor. I'm a slow walker these days. I have that hard to cure affliction known as old. But very few people pass me either coming or going once I get a bit away from the roads.

However, I also consider getting people outside and onto the trails a benefit, not a detraction. I spend much of my time these days encouraging folks to use the 31 miles of trails that we have in Phippsburg. I maintain trails, provide maps, and edit newsletters promoting the joy of walking.

Hardly any of the 2,000 Phippsburg residents live more than a couple of miles from some trail that I've had a hand in maintaining, mapping, raising money for, or publicizing. With luck someone will enjoy a trail so much that they will take over when that time comes.

Weary

mudhead
11-14-2009, 19:18
However, I also consider getting people outside and onto the trails a benefit, not a detraction.

Weary

Better than milling about downtown in the T-shirt shops.

Good spot for oldsters. Jordan Pondhouse overflow parking. Winter access. If clear ground walk along the gravel path on the east side of the pond. Pretty as it gets around here. Bunch of ways to get back. Going uphill to the loop road and back is probably prettiest.

The Solemates
11-14-2009, 19:24
any land set aside for preservation and non-development is good in my opinion.

woodsy
11-14-2009, 19:26
national forests for sure cuz in my rainbow days it was cool, we used to trash the places and the good hippies would clean up after us
Goes to show what arse wipes some people really are.

Gray Blazer
11-14-2009, 20:16
Goes to show what arse wipes some people really are.
I can't believe you said that.

Blissful
11-14-2009, 20:28
After our trip out west, both are beautiful and with their own special qualities. For NP it really depends on when you go. When we went in June out West, there was hardly anyone around.

ATBuddy
11-14-2009, 20:34
True only outside the core of the park. No hunting in the original park boundaries. This is a rare exception in the park system.

Actually its not the only NP you can hunt in.

sbhikes
11-15-2009, 00:35
National Parks are more conservation-oriented and national forests are more extractive-oriented. As for which ones I prefer to hike/backpack in, it makes only a little difference if there's logging or oil rigs or something like that. But I would rather there be more parks because I like conservation more than resource extraction.

JF2CBR
11-15-2009, 00:58
Agree x 2 that any lands set aside for rec. use are a huge benefit.

Also agree trashing said lands = scumbag - stay off land if you don't respect it.

Few morons can ruin opportunities for many respectful users.

weary
11-15-2009, 11:49
Good spot for oldsters. Jordan Pondhouse overflow parking. Winter access. If clear ground walk along the gravel path on the east side of the pond. Pretty as it gets around here. Bunch of ways to get back. Going uphill to the loop road and back is probably prettiest.
I've walked the gravel path along Jordan Pond two or three times. But I'm not THAT old. I can still get (slowly) to most Acadia summits. I still dream of getting to the top of Katahdin once more. Last summer was the plan. But instead I found myself partnering with The Nature Conservancy building and improving seven miles of trails that traverse TNC and land trust lands.

But such is life, which I still think is better than the alternative.

Weary

Tipi Walter
11-15-2009, 12:39
Let's see, National Forests and National Parks. Both are good, how about State Parks, in small town cemetaries, behind churches, in treelines off the Interstate, off the side of small rural roads, behind a motel, under a parked 18 wheeler near an airport, next to Lake Michigan in 0F, behind a Yoga Retreat in California, behind a Yoga Retreat in Virginia, in a bedroll on numerous cold decks at the homes of friends, near a university campus behind the dorms, or anywhere there's some trees or brush?

I haven't tried "under a bush by the courthouse" yet, but I had some homeless friends who experimented with this.

skinewmexico
11-15-2009, 12:46
You visist a National Park, you can be recreational in a National Forest.

mudhead
11-15-2009, 13:07
I've walked the gravel path along Jordan Pond two or three times. But I'm not THAT old. I can still get (slowly) to most Acadia summits. I still dream of getting to the top of Katahdin once more.
Weary

No offense intended. Sometimes you make it sound like you are using one of those 4 leg canes.:)

That tourist path is pretty, eh?

Cabin Fever
11-15-2009, 13:10
...And then there are those less-visited National Parks like Big South Fork, Great Baisin, Voyageurs, Lassen. ...

Big South Fork is the best alternative to the Smokies in the south, hands down.

weary
11-15-2009, 13:39
....Sometimes you make it sound like you are using one of those 4 leg canes.:) ....
Not yet. I still use my single, homemade walking stick in the woods. It's a refinement of one I used on the trail in 1993, i.e. with a professional handle and strap from Komperdell(?)

Weary

Bearpaw
11-15-2009, 13:39
Big South Fork is the best alternative to the Smokies in the south, hands down.

I've enjoyed plenty of miles in BSF, but the number of ATV's and 4WD vehicles make me pick Savage Gulf State Natural Area first. The number of great views and waterfalls in Savage Gulf are hard to find in such a small area. Permits are super easy to get. Self-registration at all trailhead for a free permit, unlike the new $5 permits required at a visitor center for BSF.

Cookerhiker
11-15-2009, 14:05
Big South Fork is the best alternative to the Smokies in the south, hands down.

Having only recently to Lexington 5 months ago from the Mid-Atlantic, I'm still acquiring a gradual degree of familiarity with the Southern Appalachians. While BSF certainly has its advantages over the Smokies as a NP with nice backcountry without a fraction of the crowds, I would not characterize it as a complete alternate to the Smokies because of one major factor: mountains. BSF has some vigorous ups and downs but they're short; there's nothing approaching the Smokies' 4-6,000' mountains and all the biodiversity therein.

So as a mountainous alternate to GSMNP, how about the surrounding National Forests e.g. Nantahala, Pisgah w. Shining Rock, others.

sbhikes
11-16-2009, 11:08
Let's see, National Forests and National Parks. Both are good, how about State Parks, in small town cemetaries, behind churches, in treelines off the Interstate, off the side of small rural roads, behind a motel, under a parked 18 wheeler near an airport, next to Lake Michigan in 0F, behind a Yoga Retreat in California, behind a Yoga Retreat in Virginia, in a bedroll on numerous cold decks at the homes of friends, near a university campus behind the dorms, or anywhere there's some trees or brush?

I haven't tried "under a bush by the courthouse" yet, but I had some homeless friends who experimented with this.

Ha ha. I was walking home after hiking yesterday and was trying to imagine what-if scenarios. Like what if I had to live in my car? It looks like I could park there and set up my sleeping bag behind that rock. Hey, that would be fun!

Gray Blazer
11-16-2009, 12:59
I want to see someone stealth camp in the sinkhole at Devil's Millhopper State Park in Gainesville, FL.

Spirit Walker
11-16-2009, 13:15
National Parks become NPs because they have unique spectacular features that are worth preserving permanently. We have visited most of the NPs in the lower 48, a few in Alaska and a dozen or so in Canada. Each was worth the visit. When there is hiking, we've gone hiking. In many of them we've gone backpacking. Each was worth the time spent there. Yes, they can be crowded, but those unique features make them worthwhile.

We have also visited numerous national monuments for the same reason. There is always something unique about them that makes them worth a visit.

National forests can have great hiking, but they are generally not as spectacular as the national parks. They are also more likely to be open to motorbikes and ATVs. Wilderness areas aren't open to vehicles, but they seem to be at least as crowded as national parks, without the regulation to limit numbers. (Try visiting the Winds or the Beartooths in August!) OTOH, when I want to just pick up and go, I'm more likely to go to national forest simply because there is more national forest land than national park land. And it's nice not to have to deal with the regulations.

mudhead
11-16-2009, 13:25
Well said. The NF in TX and FL didn't really rock my world, but it was worth looking at on the way to something else.

The only place I have purposely avoided was Trinity Site. Only a fool would go there.:sun