Packers camps, what do you think? | High Sierra Topix  

Packers camps, what do you think?

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Re: Packers camps, what do you think?

Postby Ikan Mas » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:39 pm

In 2011 saw couple of egregious packer violations out of Rush Creek in Ansel Adams. There was a permanent picket line strung between trees along Crest Creek where it comes into Gem Lake. They used it for the day horsee trips of grandparents and their grandchildren. Left it so you could be easily clothslined in the dark. Tons of horse poop in the vicinity, right next to the creek. Stunk.

Same trip, at Alger Lakes, a packer had set up a rest room consisting of aluminum poles and blue tarp for his client. Didn't take it down when they left, so I suspect he planned to use it for the next client.

Honestly, they are not following the rules and need to be restricted. I understand they need to please clients, but they have gone too far. If I reported it to the FS, would they do anything? Would photos be enough proof? I have them.



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Re: Packers camps, what do you think?

Postby rlown » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:13 pm

the permanent picket is worth reporting.

The latrine is a great idea assuming they dug a hole that all would use. That aspect can be a lot worse.

Someone has to actually define what an "established" fire ring is for me. I look for them, and then I end up rebuilding them to suit my tastes. I like rectangular coal beds. I have taken them down, but only when I find them above fireline.
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Re: Packers camps, what do you think?

Postby Ikan Mas » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:48 pm

Here's a couple of shots.
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Re: Packers camps, what do you think?

Postby freestone » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:16 am

There seems to be a time in the dim past when the Forest Service actually designated camps for packers. A couple of years ago I set out to visit Cecil Lake in the headwaters drainage of Fish creek. The Topo showed no trail, but when I got there, I discovered a signed use trail that lead to this designated site. These signs were several paces up the use trial on the drainage creek.

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The camp was about a mile below Cecil, and seems have been completely forgotten about and showed no signs of use by packers for several years judging from the lack of horse manure and the materials they used for their sign posts. More like a ghost camp now.

No doubt the Wrangler and his guests day hiked up to Cecil to fish for the Rainbows and enjoy the views, then returned to the camp below treeline to enjoy all the amenities of the Wrangler camp life style.

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Re: Packers camps, what do you think?

Postby Scouter9 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:51 am

The stock camp at Lower Clark lake is marked at one of the trail entrances with a sign like that posted, above. It's on the north side of the water and north of the trail (away from the lake). It contained gear, 2 fresh fire rings made of rocks and full of stirred charcoal, stacked firewood and plenty of manure, including a pile where the drovers had obviously gathered it together (presumably from around camp). We didn't camp in it (because it appeared legit) but we did "kitchen" and store our canisters up over there. The fire ring question was fresh in my mind after seeing the two camps along the River Trail between Agnew and 1000 Isle.

I was sort of hoping there was an exception for those rings, even if it might be counter-intuitive, because a campfire can be nice if the conditions are right.

In terms of Ranger Presence, we saw none on two trips in the same area this season. I like to see and meet them, particularly for the Scouts to interact with the Ranger. I reckon it was pretty well known "local knowledge" that there wouldn't be any Rangers up there, because a Sierra Club camp with WAY more than 15 people in it was on the south side of lower Clark when we were (and 15 is max on permit). They had a shower structure, latrine structure and kitchen counters set up (and Yogi visited them, while we chuckled from across the lake), which is all permissible --other than the combination of Wilderness Permits to create a group larger than 15. Maybe that local knowledge led to the construction of the camps and firepits on the River Trail. From what I read here, I accept that the firepits aren't legit.
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Re: Packers camps, what do you think?

Postby gary c. » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:42 am

There is a sign like that at the packers camp at Hilton Lake #2. I met a Sierra Club group like that once. They were going in and we were headed out but all of us spent a night at Kearsarge Lakes. It was like ants at a pik nick and we couldn't get out of there fast enough in the morning.
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Re: Packers camps, what do you think?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:12 pm

I would rather see packers limited to established paker's camps than dispersed all over the place. Horses do some damage when just standing around all night. I have no problem with a few permanent features that they use to tie up their horses. As for the fire rings, benches, etc, I have see those in camps that were obviously backpacker camps. Look at all the established campsites along the JMT! These are also within the wilderness. If I am on a well established trail, seeing a packer's campsite seems in tune with the trail system. I do not like to see packer's camps off trail. I would like to see horse packers do a little more cleaning up poo around their sites. I am allergic to horses so camping in a packer's site is not an option for me, if there is any fresh horse poo.

If I were set up in a packer's camp and they came by, I would invite them to join me, IF they would put their horses at some distance. I would definitely not want their horses right there next to the tents. I would move however if doing so were not too much work and there was plenty of daylight left. I do not think they "own" the site, but I, as a solo backpacker, would also move out of any large campsite if a larger group needed it and there were no other suitable sites nearby. When this has happened to me the members of the larger group have helped me lug my stuff and set up my tent. It is a whole lot easier for me to find one spot for my tent, than for a large group to find another. I try not to take any large site when I am by myself - easier for everyone concerned if I simply choose the smaller sites.

When this has happened to me in the past, we seemed to have worked things out in a friendly way. I really do not see it as a huge problem. Usually, if I am nice to others, they are also nice to me. If I run across an illegal fire ring that really bothers me, I just clean it up.
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Re: Packers camps, what do you think?

Postby oldranger » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:01 am

Almost There wrote

There are fire rings up and down the San Joaquin River near the junction of Goddard Canyon/JMT. The packers have left a large lock box full of supplies there - we thought it was a bear box.


The large box is almost certainly left for SEKI trail crew. There are several locations thruout the parks where these are located.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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