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merlyn
distinguished member (162)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/21/2021 01:23PM  
After reading WWYD #18 I began to wonder; What are the rules concerning emergency camping not at an approved site? Personally, I'm going to do what I feel is necessary to stay safe. I don't mean hacking out tent pads and cutting down trees to build benches but rigging a tarp or shelter to get out of the rain and building a small fire if necessary to prevent hypothermia.
Anyone with actual experience? Were the rangers involved and what was their reaction.
 
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04/21/2021 01:50PM  
Yeah I'm going to do what I need to do and if I deal with some consequences later I'll be glad I'm around do so.

I think in an emergent situation the old saying " I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6" applies
 
ScottL
member (18)member
 
04/21/2021 02:18PM  
A couple years ago my then-12 year old son and I were heading to Crooked Lake and we ran into late afternoon thunderstorm that kept requiring us to pull ashore to wait out lightning. We were looking for an open campsite, with no luck, and after paddling for a good hour in continual rain my son starts shaking from the cold.

After a quick assessment of the situation, we pulled ashore where I spotted a small clearing and I quickly set up the tent in the rain so I could get my son into a warm sleeping bag. While he warmed up, I set up the stove and prepared a hot meal for both of us. The rain was not letting up much so we stayed put for that night and first thing in the morning we broke camp and made our way to our intended destination.

I kept our footprint to a minimum, but my first priority was to make sure my son was warm and dry.
 
mgraber
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04/21/2021 02:25PM  
There are no rules in an emergency situation as it pertains to campsites. Whether the authorities see it the same way matters not. Always do what keeps you safe out there, just be sure that YOU are not the cause of the emergency situation.
 
paddlinjoe
distinguished member (413)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/21/2021 02:34PM  
I really like how you handled that situation ScottL. Very important to keep track of how everyone in the group is doing.
 
TipsyPaddler
distinguished member (284)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/21/2021 04:43PM  
paddlinjoe: "I really like how you handled that situation ScottL. Very important to keep track of how everyone in the group is doing. "

+1 well managed situation!
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(1998)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/21/2021 05:36PM  
ScottL: "A couple years ago my then-12 year old son and I were heading to Crooked Lake and we ran into late afternoon thunderstorm that kept requiring us to pull ashore to wait out lightning. We were looking for an open campsite, with no luck, and after paddling for a good hour in continual rain my son starts shaking from the cold. After a quick assessment of the situation we pulled ashore where I spotted a small clearing............."
Any prudent, reasonable USFS ranger would certainly not see this as a violation. I would liken it to speeding to get a woman in labor to the hospital.

It’s one thing to camp in a non-approved campsite for an emergency vs. disregard for the rules for personal selfishness, etc.

You did the right thing! Good for you to do so.

There are many groups whose ignorance to camping, disorganization, disregard for the law, and poor planning are where the rule becomes apparent.

Tom
 
jhb8426
distinguished member(1317)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/21/2021 05:55PM  
ScottL: "A couple years ago my then-12 year old son and I were heading to Crooked Lake and we ran into late afternoon thunderstorm..."

Good choice to stay there. A few years back we were on Clear Lake off of the Kawishiwi River. We left the site and headed for the entry point on Farm Lake. About mid way a horrendous storm developed. We pulled over to the shore numerous times to rest due to the wind and waves. When we got to Farm Lake the waves were 2-3 ft so we decided we would stay at the entry point overnite. As it turned out someone else had called the outfitter and he came in one of his big jon boats and took us all back. It was still a pretty hairy trip across Farm even in the jon boat.
 
bottomtothetap
distinguished member(852)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/21/2021 05:59PM  
I've been faced with the situation of feeling the need to camp at a non-designated place and did so in order to protect my safety and the safety of those whose safety I had also accepted as my responsibility. Maybe poor decisions and actions got us to that point in the first place and that can always be debated but there we were and then we acted as we saw best at the time. We also took measures to minimize our impact and moved on quickly in the morning.

I later had a conversation with a ranger about this and he stated that if he found someone in this situation he would be willing to cut them some slack, based on the circumstances. Where he drew the line is if they also built a fire. Then according to him, there was no doubt that this party would be issued a ticket and fined.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13738)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
04/21/2021 06:25PM  
Do what you have to do to survive. LNT is low on the list when you are in a survivor or emergency situation.
 
04/21/2021 07:43PM  
Rule # 1 is always safety. I set up a impromptu camp twice in Quetico where it is not against the rules and would be willing to again when it was obvious further travel would be dangerous. When I left it would be hard to notice I was there. The mother loon in the first case was quite upset when I departed the next morning, I was surprised she didn't advise me to move on the night before.
I did find hammock sites are much easier to find in a pinch.
 
jhb8426
distinguished member(1317)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/22/2021 12:32AM  
bottomtothetap: "...Maybe poor decisions and actions got us to that point in the first place..."

Totally agree. That was definitely the case for my group.
 
04/22/2021 10:45AM  
bottomtothetap: "I later had a conversation with a ranger about this and he stated that if he found someone in this situation he would be willing to cut them some slack, based on the circumstances. Where he drew the line is if they also built a fire. Then according to him, there was no doubt that this party would be issued a ticket and fined. "

I would say that a ticket would be the least of my worries in this situation. If we had no stove to cook a meal to warm us up, or were that cold that we needed a fire, I would not worry about what a ranger would say. Just like if you are in an area with no available campsites and it is getting too dark to proceed safely. You take the ticket, don't argue with the officer other than to explain your situation fully, then argue your case in court if you feel it was an extenuating circumstance and think there was nothing else you could have done.

How much does a ticket even cost? Probably less than the gear you would lose if you capsized and much less than the hospital charges or even funeral costs if something went wrong. If the alternatives are that risky, the ticket is cheap.
 
Chuckles
distinguished member (182)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/22/2021 02:44PM  
I firmly support LNT, but would do whatever it takes if I felt threatened.

Last summer we were on our way home and at the end of a portage found a hammock and tent set up 10 feet from the end of the portage. Out of the way, but impossible not to notice and right at the edge of the lake. There was someone in the hammock, not sure about the tent.

We were double portaging and passed a group of USFS personnel who'd inspected the latrine at our site earlier and asked us about the brush that had been cut at our site (it wasn't us). They were polite, but not shy about enforcing the rules.

When we passed the USFS who were heading right toward the offenders, we smirked knowing these scufflaws were about to get their due. We expected them to be gone or hastily packing their gear. We were shocked to find them unchanged. The person's feet were still visible in the hammock a hand's reach from the trail.

I know they were on their way home and probably just decided they weren't going to mess with it, but I'm still disappointed. It was actually the same decision we made, keep moving to get home, don't waste your time arguing with someone.
 
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