We were going to do a overnight boondocking in a New York State DEC Parking Lot. I hiked the area many times, the parking lot is huge and there is primitive camping close by.
We parked the RV and took the dogs for a nice walk to the lake and down the road to the rural camp sites.
Later we sat down for dinner and when I looked outside I saw a NY State trooper car pull up and walk towards us. I walked out and they started talking to me.
NYST: When did you get here ?
ME: few hours ago
NYST: You need to move you can’t stay overnight.
ME: Why ?
NYST: WE dont allow it.
ME: Who is WE, this is a DEC parking lot and there is no sign saying NO OVERNIGHT PARKING
NYST: WE DONT ALLOW IT
ME: WHO IS WE ?
I realized that any further arguments with them will just result in bad things. specially since the male trooper kept walking into my personal space wearing hisTOPGUN sunglasses, not sure if he was trying to intimidate me or in search for a hug.
The female trooper was very nice and polite about it.
We went home and when I woke up the next day I was still mad about the whole thing. We have not done anything wrong, we didn’t bother anyone, didn’t have the awning out..nothing. So I wrote the Ranger for that area and explained what happened.
A few days later I got a reply. The Ranger explained to me that I violated the “150 feet rule” which means you cant “camp” within 150 feet of a trail, watersource or road. I replied with saying that I didnt CAMP , I parked my vehicle which happened to be a RV and that I was no way near any of those.. the road was good 100 yards away, the water on the other side of the road and the next trail ( being a real trail ) was a 0.5 miles away.
The reply I got was more laughable. The Ranger said that “seeking” shelter in a vehicle is considered “camping”.. sweet..so now when it rains and I wait inside the car I am camping, if its cold and I sit in the car waiting for someone its camping.
I gave up that argument and moved on (well not really..it was eating me up on the inside) a few months later I ran into a ranger during a hike and we talked. I explained what happened and he said that I was right.. just seeking shelter in a vehicle isn’t camping. They don’t want people putting carpet out and having bondfires in parking lot but he said the way we did it was no violation of any rule.