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  1. #1

    Default Removing pink tape from trees?

    What's the etiquette of doing or not doing this?

    I went on a hike yesterday and saw over a dozen different tree branches with pink plastic tape marking who knows what. Part of me wanted to remove them and part of me wanted to leave it because who knows what it indicates. I could tell some of it marked a random turn off point because I could see more tape down into the woods off trail.

    So what would you do? Leave it? Take it down? Does it matter if you're in a wilderness area vs a national forest?

  2. #2

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    Leave it. It could be a Forest Service marking, historic, rare, trees to be preserved and not to be touched, etc. Or, it could mean that this one is to be chopped down because it has some kind of communicable tree disease. Either way, it's not really your place to decide. If you think you're rescuing that tree, you'll likely be doing the opposite.

  3. #3

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    +1 Leave it

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    +2 Leave it. Our trail crew boss would walk a trail under future maintenance and mark work areas such as new drainage or waterbars and the like. He would usually number the flagging so that we could refer to his/her notes as we worked our way up the trail. We also use to use flagging when we were doing AT boundary swath work to show where we left off in the evening to eliminate searching the next morning. Leave it alone please.
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    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    I agree with Old Hillwalker. Could be marking for the upcoming trail maintenance season. Flagging is often used to mark locations of trail structures like steps, water bars, dips, and future trail relocation.
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    Too confuddling don’t take

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    Leave it! But take trash on the footpath, at shelters, etc.
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

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    Another leave it from me. I've seen a lot of forest service folks use pink marker tape to mark short sections of trail they plan on repairing or relocating. I also agree with Rain Man, pack out actual trash if/when you can. Every little bit helps.
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    A proper quick, brave, steady, ready gentleman! ocourse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrogLevel View Post
    What's the etiquette of doing or not doing this?

    I went on a hike yesterday and saw over a dozen different tree branches with pink plastic tape marking who knows what. Part of me wanted to remove them and part of me wanted to leave it because who knows what it indicates. I could tell some of it marked a random turn off point because I could see more tape down into the woods off trail.

    So what would you do? Leave it? Take it down? Does it matter if you're in a wilderness area vs a national forest?
    It's litter. Remove it if you like. I do it often.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocourse View Post
    It's litter. Remove it if you like. I do it often.
    No, it's usually not. As previous posters have said, most often it's markers for trail work.

    Do like Rain Man - leave the tape, take the trash.

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    Default Removing pink tape from trees?

    Leave it. I work with a volunteer organization that does restoration work on both federal and state lands...we mark sections a week or so in advance of bringing in work crews and then we take the tape back out with us when we're done. If it goes missing, we have a problem.

  12. #12
    A proper quick, brave, steady, ready gentleman! ocourse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocourse View Post
    It's litter. Remove it if you like. I do it often.
    Any thing unnatural is trash and can be removed. The nay-sayers are usually the leave no trace folks.
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    If it looks fresh I leave it; faded/weathered/eyesore goes out as trash.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossbar View Post
    If it looks fresh I leave it; faded/weathered/eyesore goes out as trash.
    A lot of times the tape is not removed after it is no longer needed. If the flags have writing on them and look new, it indicates where and what work is to be done.

    No writing and faded, probably some hunter marking a spot.
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  15. #15

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    We use flagging tape like that when we are doing preliminary work for our orienteering events. But we also write on them our club name, control number and the year. Sometimes a bad storm rips it. Sometimes some deer or varmints get it. But please don't take it! We often send out other members to assist with set up and when they can't find the tape.....means a course setter has to double back to find it. When we deploy, we also remove all the tape! And we are careful to also remove stuff we flagged and don't use.

    We've also seen tape used for marking trails (Scouts), marking boundary's, marking where logging will and will NOT happen. And also on ruined fencing. That can become a safety issue if you remove it. Because the tape is marking barbed wire laying down in the forest floor or hanging off a tree where it grew into the tree.

    So as other's have said, old and torn up, can't tell that it marks anything.....remove. Otherwise, please don't.
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  16. #16

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    Not really a good idea to remove even if weathered. It could be part of monitoring or a research study. It's not always a good idea to get too close either. It could be marking a yellow jacket nest, a hazard tree, or a widow maker. Perhaps a nest or a den. Typically flagging is marking a specific spot because there's some work to be done and the location needs to be marked. Dozens of legitimate reasons for flagging to be in the woods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrogLevel View Post
    What's the etiquette of doing or not doing this?

    I went on a hike yesterday and saw over a dozen different tree branches with pink plastic tape marking who knows what. Part of me wanted to remove them and part of me wanted to leave it because who knows what it indicates. I could tell some of it marked a random turn off point because I could see more tape down into the woods off trail.

    So what would you do? Leave it? Take it down? Does it matter if you're in a wilderness area vs a national forest?
    Leave them alone. They cost somebody time and money to put up, and they have some reason for it. As other posters said, it could be trees marked to save, or it could be diseased trees marked to kill. My guess is that this isn't a wilderness area, but national forest.
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    It really doesn't matter who put it out there. It's litter. If you want to remove it, go ahead. The odds that whomever put it out there coming back to retrieve it are quite low.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stikbow View Post
    It really doesn't matter who put it out there. It's litter. If you want to remove it, go ahead. The odds that whomever put it out there coming back to retrieve it are quite low.
    No it's not litter. Very likely whoever put the flagging out has permission from the national forest or even wilderness land manager to place the flagging and very possible to have been placed by federal employees. If in doubt, ask at the district or supervisors office for the forest. If you are actually meaning to be altruistic, you aren't helping with peoples' legitimate work or recreational activities.
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    Where is the supposed location of the flagging.

    Leave it. You can report seeing it to the land manager or local trail club.

    Flagging tape on trail usually means an initial maintenance issue identified or forestry study being conducted.

    Also it could mean a future trail relocation which also may require a biology or archeology studies. When trail relocations are considered, there is an initial proposed path tape, then there biology or archeology follow-ups to make ensure that nothing of value is destroyed when new trail is built.
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