(and How to Fix It)
FOX21’s Travel Week segment: “How to camp in a hammock” did not go as expected, to say the least. Senior park ranger at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Darcy Mount, was interviewed as an expert on hammock camping.
Spoiler alert: even though she’s never tried hammocking, her report was not favorable to hammock camping or hammocks in general.
“The problem is that we don’t allow them.”
Darcy Mount, CPW Senior Park Ranger
The Important Detail:
Well, the problem with this problem is -- this regulation to ban hammocks does not actually exist.
To be fair to Senior Park Ranger Mount, this bureaucratic departmental “in practice” policy phenomenon is common in government and even in large companies. You have probably heard it called, “well, we’ve always just done it this way”, or “well, we just do it this way here”. This most often occurs when someone transfers to a new department and gets trained. After so many cycles, with no one bothering to actually check the manual, the misinformation becomes unofficial, official policy.
This “we don’t allow them” hammock policy probably was a knee-jerk reaction to someone using cheap string to hang their cheap hammock which caused damage. Being a knee-jerk reaction policy, no one afterwards has bothered to check the regulations to see if it actually exists; and when confronted, hammockers comply or get into trouble.
What is worse is that a well known recreational equipment, incorporated retailer had the opportunity to help address some of Senior Park Ranger Mount’s concerns. According to Fox21’s Abbie Burke,
“The ranger even went to REI to get a hammock to borrow but they gave her an older model and no way to set it up.”
Abbie Burke, Fox21 News
So here’s the situation:
Every outdoor activity group has inconsiderate jerks who ruin it for the rest of us. They also make it difficult for park personnel to maintain beautiful places for us all to enjoy.
Regardless if you are a hiker or camp every day, we as a hammocking community need to bond together and enhance our influences’ views about hammocks.
Here’s how to fix it, and it’s great!
(even the boring bits, so stay with me)
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) published their actual updated regulations on May 4, 2018.
You can download the part that concerns us here: http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Regulations/ChP01.pdf
Basically what it states you can camp only in certain areas (P-1 C1) and don’t destroy trees (P-1 C2). Also, don’t harass the animals (Bears were mentioned in the interview. P-1 C3).
No actual ban on hammocks
At no point, not once in the entire document or group of regulations, is the word “hammock” mentioned. Hammocks are not actually prohibited. The grey area is any variant of destruction of a tree (P-1 C2).
They gave us a way (and a form) to petition!
The bad news: We’ve missed the “Citizen Petition” deadline for this year and the “Commission Mailing Date” is in a few days. Just like a scene out of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” the information was posted. We should have known that this was an issue and where to look, right?! Well, of course. What were we thinking??!!
Notice of Rulemaking Hearing
|Department||400 - Department of Natural Resources|
|Agency||405 - Colorado Parks and Wildlife (405 Series, Parks)|
|CCR Number||2 CCR 405-1|
|Rule Title||CHAPTER P-1 - PARKS AND OUTDOOR RECREATION LANDS|
|Location||765 Horizon Dr., Grand Junction, CO 81506|
|Subjects and Issues Involved||CHAPTER P-1 - PARKS AND OUTDOOR RECREATION LANDS - see attached|
|Statutory Authority||see attached|
|Select this link to view the text of the Proposed Rule||Proposed rule was not filed|
|Select this link to view important information regarding
the Rulemaking Hearing,including information
on attending the hearing and participating
in the rulemaking process
The good news: The actual meeting DPW specifically set aside to discuss all issues regarding Parks and Outdoor Rec Lands and possible regulatory change (like specifically allowing hammocks) is an annual meeting.
But that’s not fair!
Not to worry. Here are the how-to details:
“Colorado State Statute 24-4-103(7), C.R.S. gives any interested person the right to petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of any state rule”
Any interested person can petition, but the Commision has a set of rules we need to utilize. According to their documents, the commision actually wants facts (not just opinion) that will help enhance the parks and DPW. Everything we need to know can be found here: http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Citizen-Petition/Citizen_Petition_Packet.pdf
Step 1: Fill out the Citizen-proposed Issue Paper
We need to each fill out the “Citizen-Proposed Issue Paper” form. But not to worry, they gave us examples! They’re at the end of this post.
Step 2: Send it in!
Email it! Seriously, email it! email@example.com
But if you can't email, send in your physical copy. Talk to her but BE NICE!
1313 Sherman Street,
Step 3: Share this!
We have an opportunity to work with Colorado’s DNW to actually make policy and to possibly help other states and provinces do the same. We can propose specific camping areas or hanging requirements with specific diameters of straps or whatever. The point is that you all have experience. YOU ARE THE ACTUAL EXPERT! This is the time to act because time’s running out. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be for us and the easier it will be for temporary policy to become actual regulation.
Below are some examples for the petition. I mean, come on! Have you ever seen a government entity be so helpful in changing their rules?!
For more information, checkout the following links:
Citizen Petition Packet THE RULES.
Citizen Petition Form FILL THIS OUT! Examples below.
CPW Regulations W-0 - General Provisions Still no mention of hammocks.
The Rest of the Regulations Check again, but nothing mentioning hammocks.
What should or shouldn’t I include in my petition? Is there a length requirement?
“There is no minimum or maximum length requirement for citizen petitions. However, the petition should adequately address the specific information identified in Regulation #1114 and outlined on the Citizen’s Information Form for Unregulating a Wildlife Species.
The ideal length is just long enough to adequately and concisely explain your request, provide proper justification, cite relevant scientific information, and answer any required questions. Verifiable facts carry greater weight than personal opinions.”
Here is their example of a good submission:
Don’t do this. This is an example of a poor submission. This will be denied. Denied entries cannot be resubmitted for one year.
The problem is that this is too generic and does not solve a problem.
Our problem: hammocks are not specifically denied, which means that they are actually allowed, but they are being policed as if they are not allowed.
Damage to trees is being caused by careless people who use improper hanging techniques.
DPW's problem: Trying to keep the park pristine and healthy for all users.
Possible solution: to require the use of strap with a minimum width of one inch as a suspension system. Suspension system adapters can also be used so long as no part of the suspension system which is less than one inch makes contact with the tree. (Suspension system adapters work as a protective barrier between the tree and thin systems such as cordage or string to prevent rubbing. This is often accomplished by threading them through the wider strap. This also creates a larger surface area, spreading out the weight.
Another possible solution: We can work together to designate areas for camping, light weight camping and day hike hanging.
For more reference info here is:
Chapter P-1, Parks and Outdoor Recreation Lands, the part that concerns us:
Step 4: Be in the loop!
We'll keep you up to date. Message us on Facebook.com/Multimok