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Thread: Stealth Camping

  1. #51
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    Property rights, shmoperty rights. Camp where you want. Leave no trace. Do it again.

  2. #52
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregw
    "Third, bicycle campers do not share the cultural attitudes of the others. It's sort of like being the only Buddhist at a Baptist church."

    Bicycle campers may not hold the same cultural attitudes of the other car campers, but I will go out on a limb and say that most of us consider ourselves open minded and excepting of cultural differences, possibly going out of our way to experience these cultural differences. If this is true than we should open ourselves up to this group of people who are out in nature to see all the same things we are, but from a different view point. (If you are open minded only those who agree with you, than you are not at all open minded or diverse) The folks who are truly beyond connecting with are home in the suburb, glued to the TV watching celebrity gossip cooking competitions.

    If you look for the "Bad" in life, you will certainly find it, so why not look for the "Good". Pick one. I pick good, if you choose poorly, expect to live with your choice.

    This is my / your conscious speaking
    Just why is it that you believe that you can speak for anyone's conscience? I think you should look inside yourself and see why you must marginalize others' ideas. I accept you as you are. Please accept others as they are also.

  3. #53
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    "Property rights, shmoperty rights"

    Sure, use with impunity land that does not belong to you, eat the fruit hanging from trees that don't belong to you, liberate the convenience store's $10 bag of beef jerky that doesn't belong to you.

    Property rights are fundamental. Violate them, go to jail, and (what I only care about) destroy the goodwill of the local populations we depend upon while touring. But of course, Subigo, you are the center of your universe. You're not coming this way again. Piss on everybody else.

  4. #54
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    "Most importantly, the police and landowners will do what they want."

    This is a large part of the reason for stealth camping itself. While I appreciate the layout of comon law, by the time any of that kicks in I am likely on the loosing side of an argument, whatever it is. So the purpose to stealth camping is to eliminate any question being asked in the first place.

    Imagine there is a piece of property that really and truly is mine for the taking. I don't know what it might be, but assume my extensive legal knowledge and careful sleuthing has identified this patch of pure land. If I set up my tent and setttle in, in plain view of the local houses, someone is quite likely to call the police and if they arrive I am probably going to be moving on. Stealth camping just eliminates all the fuss. I'm not sure my position is actually enhanced in any meaningful way by the outward appearance that I have a clear knowledge of the law.

    I'm not worried about guys with guns, it always pays to have a love in comon.

  5. #55
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    "I'm not worried about guys with guns"

    This paradox is why this thread has been fascinating. The law truly is irrelevant when you are a stranger dealing with people that don't want you around - police or landowners. One side of the debate says "ask permission" the other side says "don't ask, do". One side says be courteous because good things can result, the other side says willfully break the law because asking is too much trouble or you might not get an answer you want. Besides, if you are successful at stealth camping, you've (by definition) gotten away with it. Of course, you do leave traces and encourage landowners to post and fence.

    Last year, while crossing the deserts of California and Arizona I was stopped several times by landowner vigilantes in their pickup trucks who grilled me for about 10 minutes each time about where I was going and where I was going to spend the night. Now, I know the law, but I wasn't going to argue with them, because doing so would possibly have resulted in me losing that argument by default. I'd tell them where I was going and specifically where I was camping - addresses and telephone numbers. It was important for them to know that I didn't plan to stealth camp. They took their property rights seriously and although they had no right to detain me and no right to demand that I answer their questions, they were bigger, stronger, and more plentiful than little old lonesome me. Maybe they were tired of taking lip from people like subigo? Don't ruin it for everybody! Ask permission.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe
    "Property rights, shmoperty rights"

    Sure, use with impunity land that does not belong to you, eat the fruit hanging from trees that don't belong to you, liberate the convenience store's $10 bag of beef jerky that doesn't belong to you.

    Property rights are fundamental. Violate them, go to jail, and (what I only care about) destroy the goodwill of the local populations we depend upon while touring. But of course, Subigo, you are the center of your universe. You're not coming this way again. Piss on everybody else.
    Tell that to our Native American friends. Land belongs to no man.

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    The native Americans have rights of discovery, but the non-native Americans have rights of conquest - which trump. Might makes right. Some native American tribes had property rules similar to those of the "settlers": they were "conquered". Other tribes didn't have any concept as we know it of property ownership: they were displaced by settlers exerting their own right of discovery.

    Another tenet of property law is that ownership falls to the person who "uses" the land. One (albeit weak) argument is that the land was not used before it was conquered / claimed by the settlers. Hunting / gathering (I guess) does not constitute use. But what about the agricultural societies of the Southwest? (Perhaps this is off the topic of stealth camping!!).

    Back on topic...

    When you stealth camp, you use land that does not belong to you and you are exerting your own claim to the land - hence, you piss off the current and rightful owner.

    The fact that this country was stolen from the native Americans by settlers of primarily European origin does not give you the right to trespass. Using this argument with an iratem, inarticulate, and under-educated redneck landowner will earn you a double knuckle sandwich for sure.

    "Land belongs to no man" is usually quoted to indicate that land endures while man dies. When man passes on his ownership the ownership is forfeited unless the new owner makes use of the land - principle of abandonment or adverse possesstion, depending on the circumstances.

  8. #58
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stokell
    Just why is it that you believe that you can speak for anyone's conscience? I think you should look inside yourself and see why you must marginalize others' ideas. I accept you as you are. Please accept others as they are also.
    Yet ironically, in an earlier post, you quote ken kifer to say car campers and bicyclist campers have different cultures. While that may be true at the opposite ends of teh spectrum, there are a lot of people like me who don't see the difference because we actively do both (car and bike camping). Do I camp with a different ethic just because we arrive in a car? No. Do I change who I am or how I behave? No. This is not the first time you've pointed the finger and accused someone of doing the very thing you do. You may think you're looking at this withopen eyes, but I would suggest you're actually incapable of being completely objective. That's not to say that I am, because I'm biased by my personal experiences just as you are.

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    this has been a fascinating thread to read. I've been cycle camping since the early 70's and took it for granted that most cyclists did a combination of campgrounds, cheap motels, hostels, camping with permission on private property and more than occasionally doing what you are referring as "stealth camping". I've toured this way through all of New England, much of eastern Canada, once across Canada and twice across the US- a northern and a southern route.

    When I'm 20 miles from the nearest campground. Thirty miles from the nearest town and it's getting towards the end of the day I see no harm in bushwhacking a couple hundred yards into the woods, finding a clearing and setting up my tent, that's not much more than a bivy sack to keep the bugs and rain off, and hunkering down for the night. I don't light any fires or even cook under those circumstances. I sleep much better there than a campground and since I've sacked out and fallen to sleep by 9 pm I'm usually up just before sunrise and on my way. I dig a small latrine, if needed, and make it a game to leave everything in such a way that one would never know I was ever there.

    I've had some funny, strange and curious experiences while "stealth" camping but, fortunately, never run into anyone like some of the posters in here who would chase someone like me off their "private" land- though I'd be real cautious about camping sans permission in agricultural areas of California, Florida and other states. Land owners get real territorial about places like orange groves and corn fields.

    BTW, I own some acres in a remote wooded area near the Appalachian trail and though I've never found someone camped in "my woods" ( since "my woods" are surrounded by 18,000 acres of state land) if ever I did I'd probably wake them with an invite to breakfast and an offer for a hot shower.

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    "When you stealth camp, you use land that does not belong to you"

    That's an overstatement in my view. Stealth camping is not necessarily a violation of private property. It can be that and some people are unabashedly happy about it. It can occur while camping on public property, it can be camping on bits of rough looking unloved land the exact ownership of which are not going to be clear in the available time. It's a tactic, camping not only without leaving a trace, leave only footprints take only picture, but camping that is in-obvious at the time it occurred. The sort of thing where you would be hard to spot unless you were stepped on.

    It could be that not only is the "stealth" part of it some new branding drivel for a longstanding practice, but it is actually going to make people more angry and offended by it than if the word had not be coined. Like Saturday Night special for a cheap gun, you will not only suffer the consequences of your particular action but some additional disapprobrium because it now has a stupid name.

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    As a guy who has toured a fair bit, I can tell you that there is a lot of middle ground here in real life. From stealth camping on one end, to your KOA campground on the other-- there are a lot of camping options. My advice is do a little of everything, depending on the local.

    I always ask the locals for tips on free local campsites. In most of the Western US, the locals have there own places they don't pay for. Sure, I've been kept awake my rowdy beer drinking kids and RVs, but that's part of the journey. I've asked to camp a lot of times...and I've been turned down only a few times

    When I was younger, I went on several long tours and stealth camped every night, stayed away from locals, racked up huge miles...all by myself. I'm more of a social person now..

    If you like being alone and camping....try backpacking or MTB touring. Road touring isn't a good choice for this type trip.

  12. #62
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    I keep wondering if any one has ever ran across buba's still, Mj patch or meth lab while wondering down a lane to a stelth spot? If so how did it turn out?
    A child learns what the village teaches!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tgbikes
    I keep wondering if any one has ever ran across buba's still, Mj patch or meth lab while wondering down a lane to a stelth spot? If so how did it turn out?

    I was cycling across Saskatchewan in a remote area with only an occasional town but no campgrounds or even a cheap motel and decided to rough it outside a small town in a grove of trees. I woke up in the middle of the night to the sounds of a group of men drinking and smoking. Less than 10' away were a bunch of Native Americans having what must have been a regular blow out. They had a fire going but my tent was just outside the perimeter of the light. The closest call to being discovered was when one of them practically took whizz right on my tent. Other than that I eventually fell asleep and woke up as the sun rose and creeped out of there before the two or three that were passed out on the ground ever woke up.

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    What a great thread with many insightful coments. I toured through WV last week and Stealth capmed on land of unknown ownership several times. We were careful to leave no trace out of respect for potential landowners and the earth in general. I can understand how a land owner would be anry to find someone camping on their land as they pay the taxes on it though it seems to me that not fencing or posting is implied permission.

  15. #65
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    Virginia has ruled that if you're on private land without verbal (unposted) or written (posted) permission, you're trespassing. This didn't happen because of property rights issues so much as from hunters getting injured, then sueing the landowner. I've never heard of the hunter winning, but the landowner still had to go through the hassle and expense of the court procedure. Keep an eye out for 4" long vertical stripes painted on tree trunks. This qualifies for posted signs.
    Personally, I wouldn't have a problem stealth camping if it's a large tract of unposted woods that I can get far enough back that I won't be detected. Unless you're unlucky enough to pick a spot that the landowner has had problems from previous trespassers, most likely the most you'll get is to be told to move along if you are found. I would be more concerned about being found by bored locals looking for amusement.
    Last edited by Hal Hardy; 06-06-06 at 11:50 PM.

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    "Trouble in the Backwoods", check out this article about what some of Che's pals up to while stealth camping:

    http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...=1149329604479

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    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    "Trouble in the Backwoods", check out this article about what some of Che's pals up to while stealth camping:

    http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...=1149329604479
    Peterpan, I have never made a personal attack against you. To call me a terrorist because I choose to stealth camp is a personal attack and as such is against Forum policy. Further, since you appear to live in Canada, I suggest you review Canada's libel laws and stand back.

    I will be in touch.

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    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stokell
    Peterpan, I have never made a personal attack against you. To call me a terrorist because I choose to stealth camp is a personal attack and as such is against Forum policy. Further, since you appear to live in Canada, I suggest you review Canada's libel laws and stand back.

    I will be in touch.
    You're funny, and thank God I'm in America, but I think you fail to see the irony in that your avatar depicts a terrorist and that's why he made the joke. You were not being singled out as a terrorist for stealth camping. You really need to step back and work on your social skills and learning how to look objectively at things. You're going to have a hard time in the USA this summer if you insist on feeling persecuted by everyone who disagreees with you. When you post with an insurgent guerilla fighter as your avatar, you have to expect that you're asking for inflammatory replies. You don't get to claim higher ground or enlightenment for posting an icon of counter-culture.

    Oh, and it should be pointed out peterpan said "che," not "stokell." Lighten up before you completely alienate yourself or make yourself a lightning rod.
    Last edited by Shemp; 06-06-06 at 08:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman
    Land owners get real territorial about places like orange groves and corn fields.
    Heh heh, do they raise hairs on the back of their neck, bare teeth and bark loudly if you try to set foot on their property or even just passing by? (Oh, it's just that I've been walking dogs at the Toronto Humane Society for a while, so the first thing that comes to mind upon hearing the word "territorial" is territorial aggression in dogs. Think a redneck landowner is bad? Try walking stepping on the territory a territorial rottweiler considers his! )

  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by stokell
    Peterpan, I have never made a personal attack against you. To call me a terrorist because I choose to stealth camp is a personal attack and as such is against Forum policy. Further, since you appear to live in Canada, I suggest you review Canada's libel laws and stand back.

    I will be in touch.

    Dude - seriously. Lighten up. I suggest you review Canada's propensity to disregard ridiculous faux-libel suits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex L
    The things that you wrote about stelth camping and I did, are available free not only in Russia. I made the unsupported bike tour of Finland last summer, that was great. There are in Finland furthermore wild nature a bit "on lash", very clean "early to bed" friendly quiet camp grounds 20 euro for two person in a tent, high quality food in grocery stores, high culture level, very friendly English speaking locals and wonderful contrasts of wilderness and civilization. If you have not been there, I recommend you to tour this bike friendly country.
    Yes, I heard good things about Finland and other Scandinavian countries as far as biking and camping are concerned.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex L
    As to Russia, I think it makes sense to come here if you know exactly what you want to see or to feel. But that is another topic at all.
    Well, I have a few things I'd like to see... like my grandparents and old school buddies. (Yeah, I am from Russia... )

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    Well actually you did make a personal attack against me in the credit forks thread when I was selflessly laying politics aside and trying to give you the benefit of my many trips to the CF.... by car. But I don't have a problem with it. You seem like a fine person (which I think I previously said), even if we don't agree on a number of things. As far as I can see nobody on the internet agrees about anything.

    You're off track taking offence as above. Your internet name is Stokell not Che. And I don't think I have anywhere else referred to you as "Che"? The only other reference I made to Che in this thread was the bad joke on page one relative to whether he was stealth camping when killed in '68. Around now we need Castro to jump in and say with Bensonesque effect: "I served with Che, I knew Che. Che was a friend of mine..."

    I am starting to think this whole promotion of stealth camping is a bad idea. And I do think this particular article shows additional reasons why this kind of practice may fall into disrepute. People have the right to the peaceful enjoyment of their property. So I think the article is of relevance in this thread. But then, the national news did have a sympathetic bit tonight about folks squatting in some Abbotsford park, right next to houses, so one hopes concern will all remain case specific.

  23. #73
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Stealth camping isn't all bad.

    I don't stealth were there is any indication the land is being used by a private owner or by partyers. I always respect fences, no trespassing signs and such. I've never had a problem stealth camping at all. I've never been discovered but if I were, I would tell them what I was doing, that I wasn't a vagrant, and offer to move on. I always listen for dogs when I look for a site. If I can hear them, I move on.

    Just try to be out of view of the road. Leave early. Leave no trace.

    You'll be fine.

  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake
    Stealth camping isn't all bad.

    I don't stealth were there is any indication the land is being used by a private owner or by partyers. I always respect fences, no trespassing signs and such. I've never had a problem stealth camping at all. I've never been discovered but if I were, I would tell them what I was doing, that I wasn't a vagrant, and offer to move on. I always listen for dogs when I look for a site. If I can hear them, I move on.

    Just try to be out of view of the road. Leave early. Leave no trace.

    You'll be fine.
    It's so nice to hear a voice of calm and reason from the lower 48 states. When I travel I find that the people with the least to give are the most generous. God bless you.

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    Americans are very generous people. The fact that people's views of property rights vary doesn't mean they aren't kind. If one has a right to walk on the land of others, as with footpath rules in UK or Ireland, then the chance for generosity, relative to access, isn't there.

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