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  1. #1
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    Default The Garden Center - Pawling, NY

    Thanks to some moron or morons, The Garden Center is no longer allowing hikers to camp overnight due to an "incident" that required the police to be summoned. Here again we have the actions of a few individuals impacting the experience and plans of thousands. As if it hasn't been said often enough - we are guests and need to behave like guests when welcomed into someone's home, business, and community.

  2. #2
    Aspiring Thru-Hiker g00gle's Avatar
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    As someone still looking forward to the trail I can say this is not only sucks but it also raises the bar on the impression that myself and other future hikers will have to strive to leave behind us.

    Even though I started a thread that addressed concerns just like this, I was told repeatedly that these things weren't actually happening and that I needed to get outside more instead of imagining that things like this were happening. Hmmmm... I got outside and stopped worrying, yet these things still seem to be happening. Perhaps I'm just imagining that this, too, has happened.

    Back to reality, this event underscores the need for future hikers to be ever more vigilant with their deeds and their words (both on the trail, and a million miles off to either side of it.)

  3. #3
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    This is really a shame, those folks have always been so hospitable and kind. Darn.

    Jane

  4. #4

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    I was there in June. Didn't camp but had a great rest stop. Great place and great people.

    Hate to hear that a few self-centered a-holes ruin it for everyone else, here and at many other places along the AT.

    I'm guessing alcohol might have been involved?
    [I]ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit....[/I]. Numbers 35

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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
    I'm guessing alcohol might have been involved?
    Probably, isn't it always? But it would be interesting to know the details of said "incident".

    As for all future hikers behaving nicely? Sad to say -- not likely.
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  6. #6
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    Didn't know they offer that option, just a place to sit, rest, wait for the train, and buy some soda and chips (and plants if you wish), I don't recall a overnight tent site offered in the 2013 awol. But the town of Pawling does offer 1 night in the park, or at least I assume they do.

  7. #7

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    Nice friendly folks at the Native Plant Gardens in Pawling NY. Chillaxed with Pete, the owner and designer, and Cassandra(I think that was her name) talking shop for two hrs on a AT thru. He does landscape design, contracting, construction and maintenance. I must have picked their brains for most of those two hrs with them answering all my native plant questions including informing me of what native plants I would find along the AT and surrounding areas. I may have bought a northeastern native plant pocket sized book from them with shweet glossy plant thumbnails.

    Sad to hear something happened. They had a grassy spot along the back side of the Gardens near a post and rail area where they let hikers camp. I can't imagine what occurred that led to an "incident" with hikers. They were easy going people but it was a place of biz.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    But the town of Pawling does offer 1 night in the park, or at least I assume they do.
    Yep, but it is miles away while the Garden Center is literally on the trail as it goes along the road a short ways.
    [I]ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit....[/I]. Numbers 35

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  9. #9
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    This kind of decision usually takes a while to build up. Most likely too many jerks for too long a time, and then the final straw.
    Maybe we should warn hostels, and such people, of the jerks coming in behind us so they can take appropriate action. I wish there was something we could do about this problem.

  10. #10

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    While the Garden Center did allow camping in their yard, I've read you don't get much sleep there because it sits between a busy highway and Rail Road tracks. So I guess, just as well.
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  11. #11
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    While the Garden Center did allow camping in their yard, I've read you don't get much sleep there because it sits between a busy highway and Rail Road tracks. So I guess, just as well.
    That's the same thing I was thinking. I would never want to camp that close to a major road like Rte 22. The gardener center is also only a few miles North of Telephone pioneers shelter and a few miles South of Wiley shelter (which is also located much too close to a road for my liking). While I'm very disappointed to hear that hikers were acting like jerks and causing trouble for the locals, the loss of that camping option won't really be a problem.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    Didn't know they offer that option, just a place to sit, rest, wait for the train, and buy some soda and chips (and plants if you wish), I don't recall a overnight tent site offered in the 2013 awol. But the town of Pawling does offer 1 night in the park, or at least I assume they do.
    It's a little bit of a walk on a two lane road but shouldn't be a BIG deal for hikers. There are showers, established free private campsites, and a swimming lake with a seasonal limited hr lakeside snack bar. The one night I stayed there I must have talked with the town constable for at least an hr when he came by to check me out under the expansive picnic shelter where I had lit a small fire in the stone fireplace on a brisk rainy night. A really nice LEO. I like the town. Always remember that BIG oak tree walking out of town too.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    While the Garden Center did allow camping in their yard, I've read you don't get much sleep there because it sits between a busy highway and Rail Road tracks. So I guess, just as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    That's the same thing I was thinking. I would never want to camp that close to a major road like Rte 22. The gardener center is also only a few miles North of Telephone pioneers shelter and a few miles South of Wiley shelter (which is also located much too close to a road for my liking). While I'm very disappointed to hear that hikers were acting like jerks and causing trouble for the locals, the loss of that camping option won't really be a problem.
    Well, yes the Garden Center camping area, really just a spots on a grassy maintained area, was very near rather busy RR tracks but I don't see it merely as a loss of a noisy camping site. There could be more to it than that - further strained relationships between a biz/trail town and the trail community - which is certainly not needed. There is a loss of some measure of goodwill!

  14. #14
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    Pawling was an extremely friendly town. Two of us were hitching in when a young man, going the opposite direction, turned around to offer us a ride. Drove us into town, but did not know where the park listed in the guide book was. Drove around town to several businesses asking, and no one knew of the park listed. Eventually, he stopped at the local cab office, and they could tell him which park it was. Apparently the locals have a different name for it other than the official name that is listed in the guide. He drove us to the park and dropped us off.

    There were no indications where to camp, but another local woman with a couple of small kids who was just leaving the park said that, as far as she knew, you could camp wherever you felt like, pointed out there was a second pavilion up on the hill that some folks camped around, or the one by the lake. Said she had seen hikers camping near both of them. We chose the latter.

    About an hour after we set up, the park "ranger" walked up and started asking about our hike. Very friendly. We asked if we were ok where we were, and he said sure, camp wherever you like. Told him we may like to stay two nights, he said no problem, hikers often take a rest day. Said they only have the one night rule so that they can move folks on if they decide to take advantage of the town's hospitality. Apparently, they've met some of the trouble making hikers in the past. We asked him if our gear would be safe while we went into town, he said just put things away inside our tents and not laying around loose. Said in the many years that he had lived and worked in town, he had never heard of anyone's gear coming up missing, even though the park was open to the public.

    Later in the evening, when we went into town for dinner, we came across our driver from earlier in the afternoon. He introduced us to several other locals he was hanging with. All very friendly.

    I can highly recommend the Pawling City park. That said, very sorry to hear about the Garden Center, it is much more convenient if all you desire was a legal place to sleep for the night.
    Last edited by Lyle; 08-15-2015 at 21:16.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    While the Garden Center did allow camping in their yard, I've read you don't get much sleep there because it sits between a busy highway and Rail Road tracks. So I guess, just as well.
    Not sure how much this train line would keep a person awake, trains are about 1 every 2 hours each way, less frequent service at night and a dead time in the wee hours of the morning. I don't believe there is a whistle blowing road crossing in that area either. These are rather high speed trains too, so gone in a flash.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Well, yes the Garden Center camping area, really just a spots on a grassy maintained area, was very near rather busy RR tracks but I don't see it merely as a loss of a noisy camping site. There could be more to it than that - further strained relationships between a biz/trail town and the trail community - which is certainly not needed. There is a loss of some measure of goodwill!
    +1 This is part of the slow erosion. We really don't need that particular brick in the wall, there are many others. We really don't have to have a nut for that bolt on the airplane wing, there are others. We don't need a camping area near a railroad track for convenience, there are other options.

    Erosion takes place on a trail with just a bit of water, if not addressed, can become a gully. Same holds true for hiker behavior. In this instance the AT lost a valuable partner who allowed use of their property. Regardless of it being only a small area next to train tracks, the fact remains it's now gone along with a willing partner. The problem exists with other private property owners who allow (some of them at the very margins of allowance now) the trail to go through their land.

    When we see something we should say something, the only real mechanism we have to deal with this kind of juvenile crap is by self policing. Since parents neglected to teach their progeny or the progeny lacked intelligence to learn, it now becomes a problem for the Village to remediate. We are the Village. What happens when the next illiterate makes a campfire in CT on the Riga Plateau if no one says anything and thats the night the property owners are taking a look to see if their forests are safe from fire? It could spell the end of the AT corridor through Northwestern CT as has been threatened.

    The value of a Police Blotter in a local paper is the deterrence factor it holds for locals not to appear on that public listing. It provides some measure of deterrence to have names associated with poor behavior as this apparently was with police involved at a camping area that subsequently closed as a result.

  17. #17
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    This is sad. Stayed there in 2010. Asked Pete the owner for permission and he was very friendly and even offered me a shower which I declined. The place use to have a big AT sign out front. The biggest problem is camping there is the noise from the train going by every couple of hours and the highway on the other. The bonus was eating breakfast at Tony's deli down the road. Tony even had one of his employees drive us back to the trail head.

    Bad behavior on the trail is nothing new. In 1976 we hiked on and off with the GA boys, three kids straight out of high school with absolutely no experience. They spent more time in town than on the trail and subsequently ran out of money by Vermont. (we were SOBO). They were ahead of us going into the Whites. When we got to Gorham we tried staying at a rooming house run by an elderly woman. At first she was not going to let us stay because of the antics of the GA boys. She relented and watched us like a hawk. The GA boys had gotten kicked out of other places along the trail. My experience over the years is that there are people like the GA boys who have no backpacking experience who are just on the trail for a good time and an escape. The problem is that with increasing numbers of hikers the proportion of hikers like the GA boys has also increased.
    More walking, less talking.

  18. #18

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    As others in this thread have mentioned, the Idiots ruin it for everyone else. And I will be the first (or maybe second) in line to say that relationships with local people is crucial to the success (and yes, survival) of the Trail. Next to protected corridor lands, locals are the next most important Trail resource, and need to be preserved just like the landscape. Hopefully, someone in the area will visit the owners and try and make peace.

    Now, putting on my grumpy hat for a minute, why does anyone care if there is a camping option at Rt 22? For gosh sake's there are overnight sites less than 5 miles in either direction, and on relatively easy trail. IIRC, doesn't at least one have a pump for water, too? It's the AT dammit, not a walk in the park. By accommodating people who can't be bothered to suck it up and hike on, or make even the most basic planning effort, we're just weakening the entire Trail gene pool. The trail neighbors are worth protecting, they will be there for years--hikers will be gone tomorrow.

    Cosmo

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    ... At first she was not going to let us stay because of the antics of the GA boys. She relented and watched us like a hawk. The GA boys had gotten kicked out of other places along the trail. ... The problem is that with increasing numbers of hikers the proportion of hikers like the GA boys has also increased.
    A good reason for other AT hikers not only to be respectful and to feel appreciative, but to express that gratitude to service providers. A genuine, kind "Thank you" is cheap but sometimes worth millions, especially to such little old ladies, et al, who don't have to put up with dirty, smelly AT hikers (even good ones).
    [I]ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit....[/I]. Numbers 35

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Primo View Post
    Thanks to some moron or morons, The Garden Center is no longer allowing hikers to camp overnight due to an "incident" that required the police to be summoned. Here again we have the actions of a few individuals impacting the experience and plans of thousands. As if it hasn't been said often enough - we are guests and need to behave like guests when welcomed into someone's home, business, and community.
    And this is why peer pressure should be ratcheted up on offenders. These events represent a cyclical discussion. It is everywhere. There is no room for such actions on the trail... anywhere. I have said it elsewhere, we are not the ones with training wheels on. We know how to do it right. When it is done wrong, it is a willful action. Such premeditation needs to be removed or we will be removed from much of the trail. It is a simple dynamic. The free spirits need to start grasping this. I chose that word carefully. We are not free to do as we please anywhere we choose. It is not ours to consume. We have been allowed by others to admire and enjoy it and use with care. Those that know better need to be a more vocal advocate for the nice people who are teetering on taking such actions in the future. That means actively educating these types of morons and making them feel as unwelcome as we are becoming in the eyes of those that still tolerate us. That means siding with the authorities, stewards, and owners. They do not have to be perfect. It is theirs. We have to be as perfect as we can be. We are at their mercy. It is not ours. Simple choice. Oppose the trouble makers always or lose more and more spots just like this.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

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