Author Topic: camping on city parks  (Read 5693 times)

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Offline preston uk

camping on city parks
« on: January 28, 2016, 11:02:12 am »
 The ACA maps say that the local police have to be contacted before camping on city parks  (i'm doing the transam) .Is it always necessary to do this ?

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2016, 11:05:10 am »
I did about half the time.  Never had a problem either way.


  • Guest
Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2016, 02:08:05 pm »
Is there really such a blanket requirement for all city parks? I have twice stayed at the Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, MT, which is on the Trans Am. Where you pitch your tent is technically part of a city park. Never got any heat for not contacting the police despite pilling in while park workers were present mowing the lawn and collecting trash. Not sure they even have a local police force in that town.

BTW...It can sometimes be beneficial to let the police know you are there. They may do drive buys to make sure you are safe. When our ACA group tour of the Northern Tier stayed in the Harlem, MT city park, the police left the outer most door of the municipal building unlocked so we could access the rest rooms.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2016, 03:22:46 pm »
Its probably a very good suggestion for towns that have a police force.  Towns that are big enough to actually have a policeman or two, probably do not see many tents in the city park.  Best to let them know ahead of time.  But many, many towns in the US are small and do not have a police.  There is a county sheriff and deputies that do all law enforcing in the county and cities/towns.  Doubt its worth asking them about camping unless they happen to have the sheriff office next to the park.  In small towns, tents in the city park would likely be considered almost normal.  Only bigger cities with a police force would a tent in the city park be not normal.

The question of legality is a different question.  I have no idea if it is legal according to the written law to camp or not in a city park.  Some towns or cities may have explicit laws written that forbid camping in the city park or within city limits.  Other towns or cities may have laws explicitly permitting small groups to camp in city limits or on city parks.  And most probably have no laws because the concept of camping is so out of this world and minor that they have never even considered it.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 10:12:25 am by RussSeaton »

Offline staehpj1

Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2016, 04:35:34 pm »
Is it always necessary to do this ?
No it isn't always necessary.  I think there were a couple times that we did and way more where we didn't. More often the town parks were in small enough towns that there were no police to ask even if we had wanted to.  I think we did ask a few times, but mostly only where the AC map specifically said to do so.

In small town parks not listed on an AC map, I sometimes ask someone "Do you think anyone will bother me if I stay in my tent overnight in that park".  That might be a clerk in the general store or who ever I happened to meet any way.

In bigger towns or nearer the coasts I always asked if I didn't know it was OK.  Sometimes I ask at the firehouse, police station, or courthouse.  In a really big park I ask the park staff or park manager.  You can almost always find something if you ask around.  I have asked at churches or asked librarians.  Sometimes they would make a few calls and I'd have a place on someones lawn or on a churches property.  Sometimes I'd even get an invite to stay with someones family.

Offline John Nelson

Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2016, 12:15:20 am »
The first several times that I contacted the police as directed by the ACA maps, they always seemed surprised that I called them, so I just quit doing it. It's more important to contact the park maintenance guy if you can find one, so you can find out about sprinklers and bathrooms. They will often shut off the sprinklers and not lock the bathrooms for you. If I can't find a maintenance guy, I sometimes leave a note on the bathroom door.

Offline preston uk

Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2016, 01:05:18 pm »
Thanks for advice. I'm almost set to go. Flights booked for 1st May, just a few new bits for my trusty Dawes and I'll be all set . The help I've  had from the forum has been invaluable , a really big thankyou  to everyone .

Offline Westinghouse

Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2016, 03:42:00 pm »
They probably want you to notify police so they will know you are there. That way they can patrol there to keep you safe.

Offline Norsman

Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2016, 08:52:37 pm »
I don't think you would get in much trouble if you did not contact the local police but I still think it is a good idea. It tells them there is someone in the park and that might mean they will check the area more often. Plus the police might have other pertinent information for you. i.e. problem raccoons or bears, where to get a shower, other camping options etc. I found it was often helpful to check in on my ride last year.

Offline jamawani

Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2016, 09:51:15 pm »
Preston -
I have found a general rule to be - "The smaller the town, the more likely to get permission."
If there is a KOA campground on the outskirts of a medium-sized town, they will expect you to stay there.
My favorite towns are those with a little park, a small grocery, and a cafe/bar.
Everything is right there and folks are usually really friendly.

Offline LongTallEandM

Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2016, 08:15:49 pm »
The only places we contacted the police along the Trans Am were in small towns (sometimes off route) where camping was not normally sanctioned or where it was specifically requested on the TransAm maps. This gave us an extra measure of security because we felt the police would keep an eye out for us and we were less likely to be awakened by police in the middle of the night.

Offline PeteJack

Re: camping on city parks
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2016, 01:11:28 am »
The only time I ever tried to register was in Scott City Kansas. I said to the cop in his car: "It says here", pointing to the ACA map, "I'm supposed to register with the police" "Consider yourself registered" said the cop.