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  Camping on a lake island?
  Posted by: apmorgan93 on Dec-27-13 7:50 PM (EST)
 

On one of my local lakes I found a very small island and I totally want to camp on it. I'm not really sure if I'm allowed to do that, but if I pull my kayak up into the trees I'm fairly certain nobody will know I'm there. Opinions?

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  Leave no trace.
  Posted by: tktoo on Dec-27-13 8:10 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Dec-27-13 8:47 PM EST --

No signage, no foul, but if the owner really objects, you'll find out the old-fashion way.

Respect others' property, know your local laws and customs, be prepared to leave on a moment's notice, and don't make the mistake of assuming you've not been observed. Guerilla camping is always risky, but the rewards can be worth it.

 
 
  More info.
  Posted by: apmorgan93 on Dec-27-13 11:45 PM (EST)
I think the lake is owned by the gov? Its West Branch reservoir in east Ohio. On the end of the lake I want to go there is very little to no boat traffic and there doesn't appear to be anything to close in the vicinity. On the day I went there wasn't even anyone else on that end of the lake except for a small fishing vessel off in the distance. The island is really grown up with trees and stuff and you cant see more than a few feet into it. There also isn't really a place to land thanks to the trees so I was planning on trimming a few limbs so I could sneak on and pull my boat up behind me. I'd try to go on a night with no moon so nobody will see my small fire. And I definitely planned on leaving no trace and cleaning up any sign I was there.
 
 
  West Branch...
  Posted by: coronaboy on Dec-28-13 9:24 AM (EST)
I paddle that part of the reservoir too.. You must be talking about the area that's no powerboat allowed. I would think that there would be a good deal of poison ivy on that island.
 
 
  Not West Branch, but...
  Posted by: coronaboy on Dec-28-13 6:20 PM (EST)
Do you have any idea where Blazin Bill's is? I've dropped my car there and "commando" camped on the Cuyahoga after putting in at Eldon Russell Park. I have hadsmall fires.... But I used a tarp, maybe 8x10 folded in half tied between trees to block any view of the fire . So far it's worked a couple times. By the way, I've hammocked..
 
 
  I'd check out OHDNR and park regs.
  Posted by: tktoo on Dec-28-13 9:55 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Dec-28-13 10:59 AM EST --

Seems like they might be pretty active there, but IDK.

And trimming a few branches doesn't sound like leaving no trace to me. I'd scout it at sunset first, maybe stay 'til after dark just to see what happens, and I'd skip the fire.

Okay, I got curious and looked at GaggleEarth. Do you mean that little pork chop west of Rock Spring Road? It looks like a mix of deciduous and conifers and no more than 200' at the longest dimension. A fire there in winter seems like it might be easy to spot from a number of points on shore and maybe even from the road.

 
 
  The worst thing you could do...
  Posted by: jackL on Dec-28-13 10:12 AM (EST)
is have a fire at night.
That is a magnet for any lake patrol or some do-gooder calling the police.

Jack L
 
 
  Fires
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on Dec-28-13 10:23 AM (EST)
With all that thick vegetation, I suppose if the island is big enough no one would see a small fire as long as you were far enough back from shore. If the island is small, don't count on the fire not being seen no matter how thick the vegetation (it only takes a speck of a view for it to be obvious). Also, this must have been a typo on your part, but your fire will be just as easy for other people to see on a night with no moon as it would be any other night.

 
 
  now is the time
  Posted by: sully on Apr-13-14 3:54 PM (EST)
Now is the time to get out and scout. get in there make a small clearing and don't advertise. this is common in northwest Ohio on the Maumee river. the odnr knows about it however and while it's probably not legal they don't chase us off in fact they caught 8 of us about 5yrs ago camping on a sunday morning and only wanted to know if we had guns and were hunting. we offered them breakfast but they weren't interested. get a fishing licence make sure to take a fishing pole and throw it in and you shouldn't have a problem. we have a group up here "River Rat's Adventure Club" with somewhere around 40 of us and most don't get out much anymore but some of us diehards still go out on the islands a dozen times in the summer. beware the poison ivy, I scout early and hit it with roundup and be respectful and clean up after yourself and others, happy camping. p.s. take a kid, you'll have changed him or her and given them a memory they will never forget and change them into a future outdoors person.
 
 
  My first reaction
  Posted by: PJC on Dec-27-13 9:02 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Dec-27-13 9:04 PM EST --

is to say "go for it", but, as I think about it, I think my own background may be influencing that reaction and that perhaps I would be doing you a disservice by saying so without qualification. Different states have different policies, some more tolerant of river (or lake)campers than others. I've heard (perhaps exaggerated, perhaps untrue) stories of folks in some of the western states legally being chased off islands at gunpoint... sure seems extreme, but it might be true...

When I was a kid I used to paddle the Fox river in Illinois a lot. Almost all the islands on that river were privately owned and many were posted. (That can be a really key point - is the island you're considering posted with "no trespassing" signs anywhere?) Many were used only for duck hunting, some had a dilapidated hunting shack or abondoned tractor somewhere on them, most were probably only visited two or three days a year.

We camped on them, never had a problem, but realized that if we were pressed we could probably have been charged with trespass. (Best not to leave a mess or let your fire get away from you - that might be exactly what it would take to get thrown in jail or fined heavily.)
It was unlikely that we would have ever been caught, assuming we didn't make a three story bonfire, do a big fireworks display, or have a loud large party or something. And, unless it was an island that I knew to be unposted, I usually paddled late, pulled the boat back out of sight, camped in a sheltered area, kept my fire small (or used a stove), concealed the scar, and I was usually back on the water shortly after sunrise. I didn't make it convenient for anyone to hassle me over trivialities. I also think if we were "caught" simply camping, left no fire scar or trash, could make some kind of (admittedly weak) case that we had to camp there because the weather turned or daylight ran out... well, even if we had been caught I don't think anyone would have made much of a case of it.

But, as I said before, not every state is like that. Different states have different policies. I can only speak from what I know and I don't know about your state. Plus, that was in the late 60's and early 70's - Illinois may not be like that anymore. People generally appear to have become more litigious since then.

In over thirty years I've never worried in the least about camping on islands or unposted beaches below the seasonal high water line here in Wisconsin.

If I were in your shoes, I'd check for signs on the island. If you can't find any and you really want to do your "due diligence", check a plat map. Ask permission if you can find an owner. Otherwise just be a responsible (though possibly a little covert) "leave no trace" (or evidence) camper and ask yourself if you've ever heard of anyone doing serious time for camping in your state.

 
 
  Don't argue with anyone who asks you
  Posted by: pirateoverforty on Dec-27-13 9:26 PM (EST)
to leave.
 
 
  That is called "stealth camping"
  Posted by: jackL on Dec-28-13 6:36 AM (EST)
And it is done all the time.
Leave no trace and you probably won't have any problem.
Leave a mess and eventually the place will get posted.

jack L
 
 
  Just how are you going to crap?
  Posted by: kayamedic on Dec-28-13 3:41 PM (EST)
Its a reservoir you said. Are you prepared and willing to take it ALL with you?

 
 
  Probably the same place a bear craps
  Posted by: yakfisher on Apr-13-14 5:54 PM (EST)
in the woods. LOL
 
 
  stealth camping=LNT
  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Dec-28-13 7:12 PM (EST)
or rather should equal leave no trace---no fires, don't pee in the water (remember it's a reservoir) and use a wag bag or home made crap wrap bag to take your fecal material out with you--don't bury it due to small islands generally having a very thin layer of top soil---it sounds like it is real small---imagine if 30 people all camped there in the course of a summer and all buried their crap--if you can't do all of the above, don't camp there
 
 
  quiet camping
  Posted by: ppine on Dec-29-13 1:26 PM (EST)
Yes. Show respect. To the water, the wildlife, the island, other users and the owners of the island and you will have no problems.
 
 
  Well, respect to the owner would be
  Posted by: pirateoverforty on Dec-29-13 1:45 PM (EST)
shown by getting his permission first, and that appears to be off the table. Best to bank on hiding and if someone shows up pissed off don't stand there and argue.
 
 
  Owners
  Posted by: coronaboy on Dec-29-13 2:52 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Dec-31-13 4:14 PM EST --

It's the feds as this body of water is a U.S. Corps reservoir...Quite frankly, there's a good deal of official presesce on this reservoir. OP might luck out and spend a night, but he should just pay the $22 and eleviate some problems. It is very plausable to say one is out there fishing all night long, but it won't go well if he's caught "stealth camping"...

 
 
  The original poster................
  Posted by: thebob.com on Dec-29-13 8:11 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Dec-29-13 8:15 PM EST --

The original poster is probably a clandestine member of the new branch of Homeland Security known the "Federal Thought Police". If you even "think" anything wrong; you will be sent to a Homeland Security gulag, and remain there until such time as you have been indoctrinated & reeducated.

All those who suggested guerilla camping for example. They will be viewed as wrong thinking, anti government, rabble rousing, partisans.

It is likely that the Thought Police have already traced them to where you live. Their house, phones, vehicles, and computer are now wired. In the near future they will simply disappear. Their home, vehicles, and paddling gear will be confiscated & sold. Any cash, checking, savings, CDs, IRAs, bonds, etc that they have will be seized, and forfeited to the Thought Police slush fund.

Resistance is futile.

BOB

 
 
  Resistance is NOT futile
  Posted by: Scupperfrank on Dec-29-13 10:19 PM (EST)
It's Voltage divided by Current.

OK, Original Poster, get out there, guerilla stealth camp that island, make no mark, dig no latrines, watch out for the Smoke Monster, say hi to Jack, trust no one, leave no trace, go in peace, and, of course,

PADDLE ON!

-Frank in Miami
 
 
  if he does all that
  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Jan-02-14 11:58 AM (EST)
nobody will ever know the OP had been on the island and he will never be found out---unless he comes back here and tells everybody about it--lol
 
 
  And your car?
  Posted by: MintJulep on Dec-30-13 8:47 AM (EST)
Assuming that you cartop to a launching point, what will you do with your car overnight?

Is the parking area "open" all night? Various things might happen if the police, sheriff, ranger etc. check the lot after hours. You might get ticketed. You might get towed. They might assume that you are camping, and go look to toss you out. Or they might assume that you are lost, incapacitated, drowned etc. and start a search.
 
 
  Have you Googled and/or contacted
  Posted by: deuce on Dec-30-13 8:58 AM (EST)
management? If it's a COE impoundment surely there's someone who can tell you definitively whether island camping is allowed. I know on the COE impoundments here one is free to camp on any island, but that may not be the case there.
 
 
  parking lot
  Posted by: coronaboy on Dec-30-13 3:21 PM (EST)
open 24hrs. for night fishing
 
 
  Homework - do it.
  Posted by: Steve_in_Idaho on Dec-31-13 7:39 PM (EST)
All land is either privately owned or government owned. Find out who the owner is and go from there. It is public information. If gov't owned, responsible land management agency will have some policy that you can refer to for the place in question. Asking on a web forum is not a reliable source.

Or you can just do the stealth thing and take your lumps when it doesn't work out.
 
 
  Now that you have all the good, bad
  Posted by: jackL on Jan-01-14 7:18 PM (EST)
and indifferent advice, just go do "stealth" and none of us here will ever know.

Jack L
 
 
  time to scout
  Posted by: sully on Apr-13-14 3:57 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-15-14 4:09 PM EST --

Now is the time to get out and scout. get in there make a small clearing and don't advertise. this is common in northwest Ohio on the Maumee river. the odnr knows about it however and while it's probably not legal they don't chase us off in fact they caught 8 of us about 5yrs ago camping on a sunday morning and only wanted to know if we had guns and were hunting. we offered them breakfast but they weren't interested. get a fishing licence make sure to take a fishing pole and throw it in and you shouldn't have a problem. we have a group up here "River Rat's Adventure Club" with somewhere around 40 of us and most don't get out much anymore but some of us diehards still go out on the islands a dozen times in the summer. beware the poison ivy, I scout early and hit it with roundup, also and be respectful and clean up after yourself and others, happy camping. p.s. take a kid, you'll have changed him or her and given them a memory they will never forget and change them into a future outdoors person. stealth camping is part of the fun, you think your being sneaky by slipping in and out when in most cases know one pays any attention to you anyway and even when they do see you they ignore you or maybe even come and visit the nut who decided to try to pull it off.

 
 
  Stealth camping isn't much fun
  Posted by: Waterbird on Apr-14-14 10:53 PM (EST)
I've done stealth camping by bike, kayak, canoe, and car for years. It's usually not much fun. You spend most of your time worrying about getting caught. You have to set up camp late and leave early in the morning. You avoid fires and lights. Not much point in sitting in the dark for a few hours and leaving at the break of dawn.

A fire is a bad idea. Did you seriously say you would camp on a moonless night so no one could see your fire?

I really respect states that allow people to freely (meaning respectfully) use the land and facilitate that by providing a list of free camp sites. New York and Maine, for example. Other states have forgotten that "state land" means "the people's land."
 

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