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Old 04-16-2014, 07:24 PM
 
6 posts, read 9,357 times
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I've spent much time roving the backroads of national forests throughout the Midwest, South and West, but only in the Ottawa have I encountered national forest police so frequently, let alone displaying suspicion of photography in the woods. I've been accosted twice by these fellows while taking pictures of forest scenes, and in the first instance (in the fall of 2000) the young officer was hardly chummy about it, and consequently received a variation of the same, sneer-tinged attitude from me. Given the great value I place upon my solitude and freedom in national as well as state forests, these experiences were striking and a little souring, and fortunately remain unique in my experience. In only one other national forest (the Mark Twain) am I certain of having seen national forest police; in that case, I assumed it was related to the notorious drug activity sometimes associated with the woods. Perhaps the same is true of the western U.P., though I certainly hope not. Any local/regional insights into this situation will be appreciated.

Last edited by White Spruce; 04-16-2014 at 07:50 PM.. Reason: greater clarity
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:15 PM
 
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I want to make sure I'm not jumping to conclusions. You were stopped twice in 14 years for taking photography. Were there other instances of meddlesome and bothersome presence?
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:39 PM
YAZ
 
Location: Phoenix,AZ
7,397 posts, read 13,331,563 times
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They're park rangers; not police.

Keep in mind that poachers also like to seek solitude and tend to frequent the "not so beaten path".

During my 40+ years of enjoying life in the Great Lake State, I've had very few encounters with MI conservation officers and national park rangers.

When I did, I was always quick to produce necessary camping permits, and hunting/fishing licenses when asked. Not to mention my itinerary and where I've been. Being quick about it enables them to move on to maybe catch some bad guys.

Or rescue someone......

Unnecessary banter about your rights and freedoms just keeps them from doing their job.

And being polite goes a very long way.
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Old 04-18-2014, 06:57 PM
 
443 posts, read 451,733 times
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I have never been confronted.
I always just look at them, smile and wave. They smile, wave and move on.
I do not look like I am trying to hide or avoid them and they do not feel that they need to be concerned with me.
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Old 04-19-2014, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Loving life in Gaylord!
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Never had a problem in all my 47 years. Personally, I like seeing them. They have always been friendly when we do.
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:21 AM
 
Location: deep woods
404 posts, read 847,418 times
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Default The Ottawa

Could you please post on this thread some of the photos you took in the Ottawa !

Were you in the Sylvania Area of the Ottawa ?

Some places in the Ottawa can be rather remote. Logging roads that don't go anywhere. And The Sylvania Area is highly restricted, if that's where you were.

The Ottawa is not heavily used. I would speculate that the rangers therefore when they see a somewhat few and far between human they take the rare opportunity to make contact with a person. Not that they should be accosting people.

They asked you if you were hunting?

I have been in the woods of the Ottawa many times, but I don't remember seeing a ranger except at the Sylvania station.
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Old 04-21-2014, 04:38 AM
 
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Thanks for your thoughtful response, gv28. I would love to post a few of my U.P. shots here, but none are very handy these days.

I've spent some brief but rewarding time in the Sylvania Wilderness, and am aware that it is uniquely regulated. No, I was up around the Baraga-Houghton line on Sturgeon River Road the first time (perhaps 3-4 miles from Sidnaw), and on a FS road in western Iron County just above Highway 2 the second time.

P.S. I think the second one asked about hunting, which was easy to discuss, as I don't hunt or carry a gun in my truck.

Last edited by White Spruce; 04-21-2014 at 04:49 AM..
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Old 04-21-2014, 04:48 AM
 
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YAZ, these officials really are *National Forest Police*, as the sign on their cars clearly indicate. I'm used to having friendly exchanges with rangers all over the parts of the country listed in my post. In these two encounters, I engaged neither the quasi-smart alec or the friendly but very curious fellow longer than they were clearly interested. At any rate, these experiences may seem entirely trivial to those who have had similar encounters in one NF or another many times. To one who has spent as much time on roads serenely traversing federal land as I have without similar tete a tetes, they stand out, especially the unwelcome first incident.
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:25 AM
YAZ
 
Location: Phoenix,AZ
7,397 posts, read 13,331,563 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Spruce View Post
YAZ, these officials really are *National Forest Police*, as the sign on their cars clearly indicate. I'm used to having friendly exchanges with rangers all over the parts of the country listed in my post. In these two encounters, I engaged neither the quasi-smart alec or the friendly but very curious fellow longer than they were clearly interested. At any rate, these experiences may seem entirely trivial to those who have had similar encounters in one NF or another many times. To one who has spent as much time on roads serenely traversing federal land as I have without similar tete a tetes, they stand out, especially the unwelcome first incident.
OK.

So those guys that you ran into are park police, and I'll bet they were carrying firearms, eh?

Those guys are commissioned and most have four-year degrees in their field. And you are correct in that they were definitely looking around for criminal activity. They're fairly spread out; so running into one just by chance is a stretch.

It's highly likely that when you "ran" into them....they were probably responding to a call or.......they were investigating a tip.

You were in the Ottawa, so I'm guessing they were looking for poachers in that neck of the woods.

I've done some day trip fishing up there (Watersmeet.....Go Nimrods! ).......and there's some fine trout to be had.

While I've never had any dealings with the National Forest Police, I've had more than a couple of MI DNR officers check my paperwork, my tackle, and my catch of the day. It may seem that they're going overboard with their tape measures and tackle inspection, but I just smile politely and present what they're asking for.

I.e., I don't argue with them.

But don't let them discourage you from snapping away either. If you're out there a lot looking for that once in a lifetime shot, then you'll probably run into them again.

And they'll remember you and either be nicer....or just leave you alone.

Happy trails.

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Old 04-22-2014, 06:57 PM
 
6 posts, read 9,357 times
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Thanks, YAZ. Your reflections are appreciated and reassuring. If you frequently get around the Ottawa or Hiawatha, I may run into you sometime.
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