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Re: [Hammock Camping] Tree Damage

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  • Dylan Anderson
    Dave, I agree that this could be a very good time and place to discuss this, come up with some solutions, and attempt to head these issues off before they have
    Message 1 of 61 , Oct 5, 2005
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      I agree that this could be a very good time and place
      to discuss this, come up with some solutions, and
      attempt to head these issues off before they have a
      chance to start. In the process we might even create
      solutions for those "troublesome" ultralight tarp
      campers who occasionally tie up to trees.

      For those who do not read my slight sarcasm above, I
      know full well that a tarp typically places much less
      force on the tree, and therefor is less likely to harm
      the tree. I know too that most of the time, a tarp is
      set up on the hiking pole, I have camped with a tarp
      only many times before I came across hammocks. The
      point I am trying to make is that A LOT of the people
      who have influence over policy on public lands
      (politicians and other elected or appointed officials)
      have no actual concept or experience with either
      shelter, or any other camping for that matter. Even
      some of the rangers have very little experience
      outside of the welcome centers and day trails they
      oversee (I said some, I also know many rangers took
      the job because they are even more avid outdoorsman
      than we are, there are all types). It is both
      unreasonable and unfair to expect that those who have
      not been out there should be able to understand and
      recognize the difference between tieing up a hammock
      versus a light weight tarp, let alone the more subtle
      nuance of a rope versus some sort of webbing.

      My point is, even that seemingly simple (to us)
      designation of straps good, ropes bad can be further
      complicated by the policy makers. What actually
      constitutes a strap? What if someone is using a 1/4"
      metal packing straps? What is the minimum width
      allowable? Once you know what strap to use, there are
      still more issues. I previous discussions it has been
      said that the strap is really only important on the
      back half to 3/4 of the tree's circumference (in
      relation to the hammock's position). My personal
      experience would tend to bear this out, in situations
      where my straps were not quite long enough, I tied up
      anyway, and after a couple of nights, found no visible
      damage to the trees. But then pines are rather thick
      barked trees. What if I had to do the same to a
      thinner barked tree?

      With so many variables, campers still making up a
      minority (at least those who have ever been camping in
      a situation that did not involve a trailer), and us
      hammockers being a minority of that minority group,
      there is a lot of room for missunderstanding or
      confusion. I feel then that if we really want to come
      up with something useful, head off potential problems
      before they grow with the increase in interest in
      hammocking, and attempt to reverse the policies on
      some public lands, we need several things. First, we
      need an accounting of all personal experiences, i.e.
      what has worked for everyone here, why did it work,
      and how do you know it did? On the flip side then
      would also be what did not work? Are any of you aware
      of a time that something did infact damage a tree? Be
      honest, as people tend to only believe that which has
      two sides. If we go around saying we have always
      protected the trees and nothing has ever gone wrong,
      people find it suspect.

      Second, we will need good solid scientific data.
      Collecting all of the personal stories will be helpful
      in designing a series of tests to be conducted to
      determine just what really does happen out there.
      While you may not see friction burns or damaged bark
      on the outside, did the living wood just below the
      surface get crushed? If anyone on here is or knows
      some expert that could or would conduct these tests,
      get in touch with them. Here in AZ up at Northern
      Arizona University they have a forestry program that
      is considered one of the better ones in the country.
      While I am not sure if I still know anyone involved
      with the school, I would be more than happy to
      approach the school and try to help set this up as a
      research project. The school and everyone involved,
      not to mention most of the surrounding town of
      Flagstaff, is very pro camping in all forms, it does
      not seem like it would be a hard sell.

      Finally, with most scenarios considered and some cold
      hard data in our possession, we will be in a better
      position to talk about what should or should not be
      policy. Knowing exactly what the consequences are,
      and how to reduce them, we can have a clear, simple,
      irrefutable plan to take to the policy makers. The
      one good thing about politicians and public servants
      is just how reliant they have to be on those that seem
      most concerned. If all their questions are answered
      before they get around to asking them, they typically
      accept that which is given. If we can know and show
      them just why our method is no more harmful than any
      other, it would be nuts to fight us.

      Sorry for the long post, this concept just struck a
      cord I suppose. But it seriously interests me, and is
      something I would like to take up. I would love to
      collect all the personal experiences here in this
      thread, and would like to be involved in getting all
      the data. It seems every time I find something I
      really like, then some moron comes along later, makes
      a mess with it, and the powers that be decide to ban
      it for everyone. Hammock camping has become the only
      way I wish to camp from now on, so I would hate to see
      that happen here. I guess you could say I am rather
      passionate about protecting our right, and I really do
      not want to hear that I cannot go to some park because
      hammocks are not or no longer are allowed. Therefor I
      look forward to a lot of discussion on this. Feel
      free to offer up anything, even if you think I am way
      off here. In fact, I think with or without discussion
      on this, I will endevour to get the research done one
      way or the other. Ok, time to go... let me know what
      you all think on board or off!

      Though I may die tomorrow, at least I can do it with the knowledge that once I did know true love -unknown

      Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005
    • dlfrost_1
      ... Or just flat-out tell baldface lies. Yep. It s happened lots of times before. And you, Bill, Rick and the rest are right there s not enough scientific
      Message 61 of 61 , Oct 13, 2005
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        --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, Dylan Anderson <hum469@y...>
        > My point
        > though was that the minorities (absinthe, hammocks,
        > off roaders) are always the first one banned when the
        > would-be prohibitors are aware of their presence, and
        > it is only a matter of time with the rate of growth of
        > hammock camping before the camping prohibitionists
        > start talking about how damaging we all are. And when
        > they attack something, junk science is always used.

        Or just flat-out tell baldface lies. Yep. It's happened lots of
        times before. And you, Bill, Rick and the rest are right there's not
        enough scientific data and we need studies. So they'll want to study
        it. I'm guessing they'll ban hammocks while they do that.
        Prohibition is the default option in government decisionmaking, after
        all. And government studies (likes the ones done for the Park
        Service) can take years.

        I'm hoping that if we approach these people with something workable
        we can avoid the prohibition part in the interim.

        Doug Frost
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