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Camping Permits and Site Registration

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Old 12-30-14, 07:07 PM
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tandempower
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Camping Permits and Site Registration

State governments can offer a private-sector solution to bike camping: Create a license, like a fishing license, but for bicycle camping. Then create a registration system where private property owners can make campsites available with simple, ironclad liability restriction that guarantees no property owner will be sued for anything that happens to someone while camping.

Property owners post a standardized sign designating a path from the road to a camping spot. A standardized fee can be set to prevent locals from colluding against those who would set lower prices. Transactions could occur online or a standardized drop-box system could be used where campers can leave a cash fee.

What do you think? Would this take the awkwardness out of bicycle camping? Do you think there would still be widespread resistance to allowing people to overnight and leave without a trace? Do you think there's a widespread conspiracy to make outdoor sleeping difficult because of prejudice or other hatred toward this type of camping?
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Old 12-30-14, 07:15 PM
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I know Iowa would probably be fast to adopt the idea. It sounds great actually. Less hassle from angry landowners and authority figures. Everyone deserves the right to a peaceful sleep, even if they aren't bothering and look a little bummy cause their on a bike with a sleeping bag. I give this idea a thumbs up and if there's a petition I would surely sign up!
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Old 12-30-14, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
...Would this take the awkwardness out of bicycle camping? ...
Is there "awkwardness" involved in bicycle camping?



Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Do you think there's a widespread conspiracy to make outdoor sleeping difficult because of prejudice or other hatred toward this type of camping? ...
Nope.

I've camped a lot on cycling tours ... never experienced any difficulty with it.
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Old 12-30-14, 11:08 PM
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A couple years ago I met a fellow who owns a home and property along a cycling rail to trail in southern Illinois. He rented bikes and sought the ability from the state of Illinois to allow him to open up his private property to camping cyclists. He told me the state licensing fees, the state's mandatory annual inspections costs, and the required improvements to his property were so great that it was financially impossible. Unfortunately government regulation is often difficult overcome.
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Old 12-31-14, 08:34 AM
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Sounds like a fantastic idea. In Ohio private campgrounds are regulated by the Department of Health -Ohio revised code chapter 3729. I have not read the law or licensing requirements but that would be a starting point for a landowner who wanted to start an informal camping area for bicycle tourists. Unfortunately, getting landowners interested or even aware that this is something they might like to do would be an issue. Also, at least in Ohio, there is little demand for bike camping sites. Also, sanitation concerns would make things difficult I would think.
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Old 12-31-14, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
A couple years ago I met a fellow who owns a home and property along a cycling rail to trail in southern Illinois. He rented bikes and sought the ability from the state of Illinois to allow him to open up his private property to camping cyclists. He told me the state licensing fees, the state's mandatory annual inspections costs, and the required improvements to his property were so great that it was financially impossible. Unfortunately government regulation is often difficult overcome.
It seems to me that Warmshowers fills this void with a lot less hassle.

Marc
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Old 12-31-14, 08:41 AM
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I suspect that things might actually be worse under this system. In the middle of the country finding a place to camp for free and in plain sight isn't usually a problem. Closer to the coasts I don't think many folks would be inclined to offer use of their land other than those who already do so via Warmshowers.org.
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Old 12-31-14, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
It seems to me that Warmshowers fills this void with a lot less hassle.

Marc
It sounds like this idea is a money generator though.

I like the idea but it would not be good to have an ironclad zero liability provision. That will just allow the owner to take no care whatsoever of his/her property. This is a business so the owner can carry some insurance. Insurance is not going to be expensive for this.
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Old 12-31-14, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Is there "awkwardness" involved in bicycle camping?
If you want to sleep for free along the way, there can be. *Different public areas have different rules regarding camping. *The rules and fees are often oriented toward motorists and not bike-in or hike-in campers. *When you are just pitching a tent for the night and not bringing in a loaded motor-vehicle, it is hard to justify tight restrictions and more than the most minimal fee but when authorities lump the harmless people together with the harmful ones, we end up with less options and more expensive fees than we deserve. *Effectively we are suffering restrictions and paying the costs for others who create cost and nuisance that we don't.

Approaching a private land owner for permission to camp is awkward. *Sometimes I speak with people about the use of their land for camping and they say liability concerns deter them. *I empathize because you cannot tell who is going to come on your property, sprain their ankle and then sue you in court for the hospital bill. *You also don't know who is going to act obnoxious, make noise, etc. and then get defensive when you ask them to quiet down or leave, or just not to do something. *All that potential conflict is awkward. *The awkwardness would be solved if there was a permitting process that prescribes responsible behavior and standardizes prices and payment method.

Originally Posted by robow View Post
A couple years ago I met a fellow who owns a home and property along a cycling rail to trail in southern Illinois. He rented bikes and sought the ability from the state of Illinois to allow him to open up his private property to camping cyclists. He told me the state licensing fees, the state's mandatory annual inspections costs, and the required improvements to his property were so great that it was financially impossible. Unfortunately government regulation is often difficult overcome.
I've been watching the news regarding Uber with an eye to the politics behind the issues. *Some of it seems like anti-competitive market behavior on the part of existing taxi business interests. *Some of it seems like legitimate concerns about safety and fairness in service. *Legitimate democracy requires people avoid saying things just for the sake of manipulating policies covertly but it seems to happen so much that it's no surprise a great deal of government regulation ends up being 'red tape' designed and implemented for the sake of securing and promoting certain private interests instead of being for the public good.

Originally Posted by robert schlatte View Post
Sounds like a fantastic idea. In Ohio private campgrounds are regulated by the Department of Health -Ohio revised code chapter 3729. I have not read the law or licensing requirements but that would be a starting point for a landowner who wanted to start an informal camping area for bicycle tourists. Unfortunately, getting landowners interested or even aware that this is something they might like to do would be an issue. Also, at least in Ohio, there is little demand for bike camping sites. Also, sanitation concerns would make things difficult I would think.
National parks and trails have specific guidelines for burying waste, etc. *These are geared toward maximum sanitation with minimum hinderance of freedom. *Many state rules and other regulations have no qualms with hindering freedom as other interests are being prioritized at the expense of various freedoms.


Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
It seems to me that Warmshowers fills this void with a lot less hassle.

Marc
I was very excited about warmshowers when it came out but it requires a lot of trust. If liability waivers would be sufficient to dismiss lawsuits outright in court without incurring any cost, there would be no reason to charge more than the most minimum fee or just let people camp for free as long as they do no harm. Because of liability and the fact that some people make an art of scamming others, making insurance claims for profit, etc. I think more people would open their property up to camping if clear liability protection was guaranteed by law.
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Old 12-31-14, 09:16 AM
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[QUOTE=tandempower;17428625I think more people would open their property up to camping if clear liability protection was guaranteed by law.[/QUOTE]
It's kind of a double edged sword isn't it. If clear liability protection was provided by law, people may be more free about opening their property for others, but may also be more negligent about the condition and safety of the property in question as well.

Marc
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Old 12-31-14, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
It sounds like this idea is a money generator though.
The whole point is to reduce or eliminate the money-generating aspect of it so people can just use land harmlessly for free.

I like the idea but it would not be good to have an ironclad zero liability provision. That will just allow the owner to take no care whatsoever of his/her property. This is a business so the owner can carry some insurance. Insurance is not going to be expensive for this.
Many people will simply avoid opening their property if they are faced with liabilities and responsibilities. The idea is that if someone has several acres (or more or less) and part of the property is far enough away from the house to be used as a campsite without bothering the owner or residents, someone could pitch a tent or bivy for the night without bothering them in any way, including requiring insurance coverage.

If I thought someone could file an insurance claim after sleeping on my property, I would not allow it because I wouldn't want to go through the hassle of dealing with the claim. Liability restrictions would solve this issue.
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Old 12-31-14, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
The whole point is to reduce or eliminate the money-generating aspect of it so people can just use land harmlessly for free.


Many people will simply avoid opening their property if they are faced with liabilities and responsibilities. The idea is that if someone has several acres (or more or less) and part of the property is far enough away from the house to be used as a campsite without bothering the owner or residents, someone could pitch a tent or bivy for the night without bothering them in any way, including requiring insurance coverage.

If I thought someone could file an insurance claim after sleeping on my property, I would not allow it because I wouldn't want to go through the hassle of dealing with the claim. Liability restrictions would solve this issue.
I thought you were talking about a money maker which is why I questioned the liability/insurance angle.

You might want to check out what they do in Scandinavia,

Freedom to roam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I like the idea.
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Old 12-31-14, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
It's kind of a double edged sword isn't it. If clear liability protection was provided by law, people may be more free about opening their property for others, but may also be more negligent about the condition and safety of the property in question as well.

Marc
Well, the other side of it would be that some people might do crazy things like booby trap their properties in various ways knowing that they were protected against liability. Independent property owners probably wouldn't be so malicious but all it takes is a local business cartel who wants to dissuade people from this kind of camping so that they'll pay more to stay elsewhere and you could end up with all sorts of nuisances specifically set up for the sake of making pricier businesses look more attractive in contrast.

When conscience goes out one window, decency goes out the other and no amount of legal regulation or insurance can solve the problems that ensue.
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Old 12-31-14, 09:33 AM
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tandempower, are you trying to figure out how to allow people to sleep on your property for free? In general, if they ask, just say "yes."

I don't see how any formal system is going to beat that approach.
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Old 12-31-14, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
It seems to me that Warmshowers fills this void with a lot less hassle.

Marc
Marc,
this gentleman was trying to sustain a profit from providing this service, it was not to be generosity on his part (and I don't blame him in the least). Interestingly, within the state of Illinois, he could have up to 1 or 2 tents on his property and not have to comply with all the regulations but catering to any larger groups was financially prohibitive.
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Old 12-31-14, 10:19 AM
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I have bike toured fairly extensively, having done a couple coast to coat trips and a bunch of other longish tours. I would respond to your comments as follows:
  1. Regarding awkwardness of asking private land owners permission... I have never actually needed to do that directly. I have sometimes asked in a general way whether there was somewhere that I could pitch a tent for the night. Sometimes that lead to someone offering a place. Sometimes it resulted in them pointing out a picnic area or park. Sometimes it resulted in a blank stare, but it has never seemed especially awkward to me.
  2. I have also had nice folks just offer a place to stay with no prompting on my part, most often in their home, but sometimes camping in their yard.
  3. Regarding Liability... I have never had anyone even mention it when I have camped on private or public property or was hosted in someone's home. I have hosted a few cyclists offering a room and dinner and never was concerned about liability and they have always been nice and well behaved. Maybe I have just been lucky, but I think bike tourists are just mostly nice people.
  4. During 73 days on the Trans America I camped for free more often than not, never employed stealth, and averaged less that $5 per day for camping or lodging. I was offered places to stay some of the time. Camped in town parks some of the time. Asked around and was pointed to potential places to camp. None of this ever felt awkward at all. My experience on subsequent tours has been similar.
  5. Even in private campgrounds (and motels too) I am more often than not given a reduced rate when I ask if there is a cyclists discount.

I find it hard to imagine that anyone who had done a multi week or multi month tour would propose any of this. Since on the road I have found most of the concerns expressed to be complete non issues. That was one of the things that I was pleasantly surprised about when I started touring. It seems to me as if this proposal is a solution looking for a problem. The last thing I want to see is more government involvement.

I will grant that I don't tour in the east other than briefly at the end of a coast to coast tour and that things may be tougher there, but even if there is more of a problem there I doubt that this is the solution.

What I would like to see is the hiker biker site concept extended to more jurisdictions of federal, state, and county forests/parks. It works wonderfully in Oregon and California IMO.

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Old 12-31-14, 12:17 PM
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Europe Has Many Privately Owned Camp Grounds .. I stayed in a number Of Privately Owned Hostels In Ireland..

I met and asked the Occasional Resident in person, if I could Put my tent up, in one case they even brought a nice Pot Of Hot Tea Out.

IF the OP is In The US, The County Board of Commissioners Holds regular Public Meetings
and You can get your Proposal Up on the Agenda By simply asking the Staff.

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Old 12-31-14, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
tandempower, are you trying to figure out how to allow people to sleep on your property for free? In general, if they ask, just say "yes."

I don't see how any formal system is going to beat that approach.
I have spoken with many people, like myself, who don't want camping on their property because of liability issues and other potential problems and hassles. I think people also worry about saying 'yes' to people looking for a free place to camp because once they agree, word will get around and the requests will become more frequent. The idea is that if there is a simple designation and permitting system that allows property owners to know that they can report abuses because the person camping has provided a permit number or otherwise registered to camp, troublemakers might be less willing to try their hand at making trouble.

Personally, I see it as a get-what-you-give thing where I would like to be able to free-camp while bike touring so I should also be willing to allow others to do so where I live. However, since I have reservations based on liability and other concerns, I am trying to come up with a solution that would work for more people beyond myself. If you think there are loads of people eagerly waiting for bike campers to approach them about camping on their land, I think you're mistaken. If such people could be satisfied that they and their property are secure while people camp, more potential overnight spots might open up.
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Old 12-31-14, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I have bike toured fairly extensively, having done a couple coast to coat trips and a bunch of other longish tours. I would respond to your comments as follows:
  1. Regarding awkwardness of asking private land owners permission... I have never actually needed to do that directly. I have sometimes asked in a general way whether there was somewhere that I could pitch a tent for the night. Sometimes that lead to someone offering a place. Sometimes it resulted in them pointing out a picnic area or park. Sometimes it resulted in a blank stare, but it has never seemed especially awkward to me.
  2. I have also had nice folks just offer a place to stay with no prompting on my part, most often in their home, but sometimes camping in their yard.
  3. Regarding Liability... I have never had anyone even mention it when I have camped on private or public property or was hosted in someone's home. I have hosted a few cyclists offering a room and dinner and never was concerned about liability and they have always been nice and well behaved. Maybe I have just been lucky, but I think bike tourists are just mostly nice people.
  4. During 73 days on the Trans America I camped for free more often than not, never employed stealth, and averaged less that $5 per day for camping or lodging. I was offered places to stay some of the time. Camped in town parks some of the time. Asked around and was pointed to potential places to camp. None of this ever felt awkward at all. My experience on subsequent tours has been similar.
  5. Even in private campgrounds (and motels too) I am more often than not given a reduced rate when I ask if there is a cyclists discount.

I find it hard to imagine that anyone who had done a multi week or multi month tour would propose any of this. Since on the road I have found most of the concerns expressed to be complete non issues. That was one of the things that I was pleasantly surprised about when I started touring. It seems to me as if this proposal is a solution looking for a problem. The last thing I want to see is more government involvement.

I will grant that I don't tour in the east other than briefly at the end of a coast to coast tour and that things may be tougher there, but even if there is more of a problem there I doubt that this is the solution.

What I would like to see is the hiker biker site concept extended to more jurisdictions of federal, state, and county forests/parks. It works wonderfully in Oregon and California IMO.
+1 ... and especially the bolded line.

Rowan and I have also done lengthy tours and have camped for free along the way. There were never any issues with it.
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Old 12-31-14, 06:10 PM
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Instead Of US who have not written Your Home owner's policy, why not take it Up with your Insurance Agent ?

Covering Liability Is Part of what the Policy Does.




What is the Ratio Of Contingency Fee Lawyers to the general Population in Scandinavia?

And how many people in Political Offices have NOT Gone To Law School ..




You Could Buy a House Boat Instead... No Yard ..

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Old 12-31-14, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I find it hard to imagine that anyone who had done a multi week or multi month tour would propose any of this.
This is the essence of this solution looking for a problem.
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Old 12-31-14, 06:33 PM
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I just don't understand the idea of a liability issue. I allow tourers to camp on my property and if they get hurt, my homeowners issurance would cover it. Just like any other guest that visits my home. If this type of system were in effect, I'd not allow camping to avoid dealing with the gov't. And if there was money exchange in your system, because you know the gov't would establish fees for both parties and also inspections and sanitary guidelines and all sort of other rules, the entire original idea would die.

fact is nothing the gov't would impliment is as good as friendly generosity
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Old 12-31-14, 06:55 PM
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The thing is many countries have free camping options.

You are free to wild camp in Scotland as long as you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code
Wild camping - Scotland | VisitScotland
Scottish Outdoor Access Code | VisitScotland

In Australia, you can camp at rest stops for 48 hours and all/most State forests allow free camping. If you do a google search using the words free camping Australia you'll come up with several sites providing information about where you can camp for free, and if you go to Tourist Information Centres, they should be able to provide you with a map of the free camping spots in the area. I'm not sure where there are any here in Tasmania (I haven't looked for them), but there were about half a dozen free campgrounds in the area where we used to live in Victoria.

In Canada, you are not allowed to free camp in National Parks (probably not Provincial Parks either) but outside of those parks, there's no one stopping you from tucking yourself into the trees or bushes in a ditch or along the edge of a quiet country road ... not within fences or on anyone's property but if you keep your eyes open there are lots of nice little spots where a person could pitch a tent.
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Old 12-31-14, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by VT_Speed_TR View Post
I just don't understand the idea of a liability issue. I allow tourers to camp on my property and if they get hurt, my homeowners issurance would cover it. Just like any other guest that visits my home. If this type of system were in effect, I'd not allow camping to avoid dealing with the gov't. And if there was money exchange in your system, because you know the gov't would establish fees for both parties and also inspections and sanitary guidelines and all sort of other rules, the entire original idea would die.

fact is nothing the gov't would impliment is as good as friendly generosity
Home owners insurance might be invalid if the was a required exchange of money for the site. But a goodwill donation to cover cost might OK.

June Curry the Cookie Lady was probably the most outstanding example of the concept.
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Old 01-01-15, 08:12 AM
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I would be quite happy if all the state and local parks would provide hiker biker rates in existing campsites all over the country, instead of just in a few states on the West coast.
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