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Kywilderness.com Discussion => Red River Gorge => Topic started by: timbros on October 01, 2002, 06:34:28 PM

Title: rockshelter Ban
Post by: timbros on October 01, 2002, 06:34:28 PM
It's been a couple of years now......How does everyone feel about the fact you can't camp in rockshelters at the gorge anymore?

I used to do it all the time and loved it.  It was one of the reasons I went to the Gorge.

I understand that they want to get carbon dates on archeological finds and that campfires and stoves wreck that......But there have been fires under the most popular spots for years and years.  Isn't it too late for those areas?

I also notice that people are still camping in them.

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: RWillieK on October 01, 2002, 06:47:53 PM
They are also preserving the White Golden rod.  I think thats the name of it - I can't remember.....an endangered species.

The rock shelter is a durable place to sleep - less trampeling of plants etc.  But there are other places to sleep that as durable.  Plus as mentioned above there are plants that grow soley in the rock shelters.

Robbie
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: Redbeard on October 01, 2002, 06:57:09 PM
I didn't know there was a ban, but then again I have't been to RRG in a couple of years.

I never gave much thought to camping in rock houses, but after hiking the Sheltowee around Cumberland Falls and seeing unspoiled rock shelters I realized just how much damage has been done in RRG.  The rock overhangs around Cumberland Falls glow green with lichen and ferns; the ones in the gorge are all sooty and black.  
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: js on October 01, 2002, 07:34:51 PM
I've hunkered down under rock shelters in the rain before, but never camped in them.  I can see protecting wild flowers and the actual rock itself (when rock absorbs enough soot, smoke, and heat, it can become brittle and collapse), but as far as carbon dating, that's not really as reliable as the scientific community says.  

As far as people ignoring the fact that you can't camp in shelters anymore; has anyone on this site gone to the Gorge and NOT seen someone ignoring the rules?  Tents fifteen feet from the road, on the trail, scarring up the rock with their names, chucking beer cans everywhere...  How much farther do I have to go with this?  People are completely ignorant of the rules because there's no one to watch them.  I have never once in fifty-some-odd trips to the Gorge seen a Ranger anywhere.  

In my opinion, if certain ethics were followed such as no firebuilding, no leaving of trash, etc, then camping in the rock shelters would be fine.  But, where there is no one to enforce the rules, then to many there are no rules at all.  Such is the lack of responsibility that has been bred into society.
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: RWillieK on October 01, 2002, 09:42:39 PM
I have seen rangers out on occasion - we were camping closer to a trail than we should have....I usually try to get away from the trails, but I couldn't at this time.  There was no "No Camping Here" sign......I made sure I checked all of the trees......someone probably took it.  

A Ranger came out, he was fairly pleasant....told us we shouldn't be caming there....but it was dark, and I didn't want to find another site in the dark.  He understood, and asked that we stay farther off in the future.  He had written others tickets earlier, so he said anyway.  I guess it didn't hurt that I was studying my forestry book when he walked up, and he noticed it.


As for the rules not being followed.......
I think there are a number of things at fault here.

First Education:  Most people don't see any educational material about the issues we are talking about.  Not recently, and probably not ever.  They have gotten into habbits over the years, and will continue to follow them, unless someone teaches them otherwise.

Second:  Since little is done about enforcement, peoples actions are not associated with a punishment.  People don't speed because they know they might get a ticket (except in Lexington).  I doubt anyone has gotten a citation for littering in the gorge.  So why not leave it out there, and not pack it out.......besides they probably won't ever show up there again.

I can't remember what my third point was.....
Maybe I'll post it later if I remember.

Robbie
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: Cliftyman on October 02, 2002, 12:58:01 PM
I have camped under rock shelters before in other areas.  Native Americans were pretty in-tune with nature and they did it cause it was the most common sense place to be to get out of the elements.  I think with our modern tents there really isn't a reason to camp under them if you want a campfire.  If you have a tent and a stove I don't see why you can't camp under them.  I know white-haired goldenrod grows in the Gorge but its pretty easy to spot and keep from mowing over it.  I won't camp in rockshelters in the Gorge but I will in other places.  We camped in a huge rock-shelter on our trip down the Green this summer.  I made it a point to build the cooking fire outside of the roof of the rockshelter though.  The problem is with the folks that don't care not folks that frequent this site.

What we need are some Columbian death-squads patroling the Gorge.  When a buckeye chucks a can into the bush, they see Tony Montana! "Say hello to my little Friend!!!!"  


WTH is wrong with me?!?!
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: Cliftyman on October 02, 2002, 01:01:53 PM
I guess the rangers patroling the Gorge are too easy-going.  Just do what they did at Bernheim, people were trashing it, so they they put up a gate and made people pay $8 (?) to get in!  I guarantee that would weed out a lot of free-loaders.  Put up a gate at Tunnel-Ridge road entrance and Nada Tunnel and Chimney Road entrance.  Charge $8 to get in.
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: genes on October 02, 2002, 02:44:40 PM
The Rangers are there, just few and far between.  I met one many years ago and still correspond with him via email about once or twice a year.  They are very overwhelmed by their tasks.  I have never seen one out on the trails once in over thirty years of hiking in the Gorge.
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: quietone on October 02, 2002, 09:39:34 PM
Robbie, It's called White-Haired Goldenrod. According to the Ky. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife it only lives in the Gorge. It's primary threats are Hikers,Rockclimbers, and Campers.

Cumberland Sandwort also has the same habitat and same threats.
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: RWillieK on October 02, 2002, 10:49:30 PM
I knew it was something like that - it's been a while since I've read the sheet about it.

Robbie
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: keith on October 02, 2002, 11:19:31 PM
Quote
It's primary treats are Hikers,Rockclimbers, and Campers.


:o  :o  :o

GREAT! I didn't even know I had to worry about becoming an hors d'oeuvre for some plant.
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: js on October 03, 2002, 12:03:20 AM
mmmmmmmm killer-plantalicious!!! ;D
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: Lynne on October 16, 2002, 11:49:49 PM
Keith, LMAO, I'm so glad I stopped by and caught this thread and your post!
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: Cliftyman on October 22, 2002, 02:25:09 AM
(http://www.kywilderness.com/media/rrg/cliftygoldenrod.jpg)

White Haired Goldenrod
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: Steve on October 24, 2002, 08:46:29 PM
Great, wonderful, should have done it years ago.  As a climber and active member in the Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition I'm all too aware of the problems going on in rockshelters all over the Red.  There is a LOT more to the equation than White Haired Goldenrod (The plant is an endangered species found only in the Red River Gorge).  Archeology plays a big part in the cliffline camping ban.  It seems the RRG was home to the Adena Indians, and these folks might have been the first humans to impliment early forms of agriculture.  So the cultural elment is as big as the natural one when it comes to staying out of rock shelters.  While many shelters have been 'ruined', there are plenty that still hold evidence of early man in the Gorge.  So while early man lived in and used the shelters, their 'litter' is old and deemed important to archeologist types.  Maybe in a hundred or so years those Natural Ligth cans will be considered sacered.  Until then the 100 yd ban of cliffside camping is all good in my opinion.
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: timbros on October 29, 2002, 05:00:36 PM
Here's my take.

Several rockshelters especially ones near the road are trashed by people camping in them.  Now they're closed.  Out of fear of getting caught, many people will hike in deeper into the woods and camp in more pristine overhangs to avoid getting caught by rangers or getting scolded by more conciencious hikers.

That will disturb rockshelters that would otherwise not be camped in or at least accelerate the process of them being camped in.  It only takes a few campfires to render the carbon dating that archeologists want to do useless.  Not to mention the plants and animals being disturbed.

And if you think the average camper in the gorge will do the right thing for the right reason, well God bless you.

I visited a rockshelter over the weekend 3 miles off trail only to find a brand new fire ring.  You could still see the sand underneath the ashes and it wasn't black yet.

Another one bites the dust.  I just wish they would have camped at the overhang on 221 near Chimney Top Road.  It's already toast.
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: keith on October 29, 2002, 06:46:10 PM
Quote
And if you think the average camper in the gorge will do the right thing for the right reason, well God bless you.


Now, timbros... where's your faith in your fellow man?
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: timbros on October 29, 2002, 07:27:28 PM
Right next to the pile of toilet paper and beer cans......
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: Steve on October 29, 2002, 08:41:24 PM
Great point timbros. Thing is the FS probabbly shouldn't say you can camp in one rock shelter but not another, I guess it just has to be a blanket policy.  I'm not sure how to stop the problem.  Education is key, but usually doesn't reach the right people.  I really think the FS is moving toward designated campsights through out the Gorge, the user fee was most likely the first step in that direction.  Whether designated sites will take care of the problem or not I don't know, but the thing is the place is getting trashed.  While some over used areas can 'rehab' after a few years off, endangered species and archeological evidence can be lost forever.  Its a tough call, but the camping ban is all good in my humble opinion.  
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: Redbeard on October 29, 2002, 09:18:57 PM
Quote
camping ban is all good in my humble opinion


Hey, isn't that sacrilege around here? ;D

I hope RRG will one day become a National Park, that maybe wishful thinking but it needs to be done.
Title: Re: rockshelter Ban
Post by: Steve on October 31, 2002, 02:44:16 AM
I'm talkin' about the camping ban in rock shelters and along cliff line of course.

If the NPS took over the place it would be an even bigger mess than it is now.  Having  national park status the Red would attaract the rest of those in Ohio who have never visted the place.