Beach Bag mess

Peto

Escalante-Class Member
To save fuel... find your spot with the ski boat and then just go out in the channel and send a text to the HB with the coordinates. That's what we do... Assuming the spot you found does not have a signal.
 

PBH

Well-Known Member
For this purpose, I don't think National Park or National Recreation Area makes any difference whatsoever - public property should not be exploited for private use.

Maybe not in this specific conversation. BUT -- distinguishing the GCNRA vs. a national park is important. It's a comment that FAR too many people make FAR too frequently. Lake Powell is NOT a national park. It is a recreation area. The differences ARE important for all of us. So, pointing out that error when people mention it as a Park is also important.
 

PowellBride

Moderator
Staff member
I'm really surprised a representative from Beach Bags isn't chiming in on here. I know for a fact they follow waynes words. Good marketing

We launch our houseboat around 6:30 to 7:00am almost every year. I also launch the ski boat just before the houseboat. In the past I would depart Wawheap area asap and go and find our spot for the week. After I find our spot, I drop off a few crew members, a full igloo, chairs and a ez up if they want it. I then drive the ski boat back and find the houseboat and inform them were we are.

That is how it should be.

This year will all the "tight" spots, Wahweap narrows and Antelope Marina, I'm going to stay on the houseboat and only depart it after we are past Antelope. That will still give me a good 1 1/2 to 2 hours head start on the houseboat to find our destination for the week.
I w
To save fuel... find your spot with the ski boat and then just go out in the channel and send a text to the HB with the coordinates. That's what we do... Assuming the spot you found does not have a signal.
i wouldn’t want to tow a speedboat until I was past the damn and Antelope anyway. I vote for meeting the HB in the channel near your chosen site
 

JFRCalifornia

Escalante-Class Member
Be interested to find out what happens if one pulls into an open “bagged” beach and sets up camp?
That would be interesting indeed.

Having once been outmanned in a conflict where my beach was usurped by a houseboat flotilla (let’s call it 15 against 1 guy with a tent who was there hours before they arrived), I understand the dynamic when you’re on the short end. You might be in the right, but do you really want to escalate? Or make a strategic retreat?

And so I’m sure the outcome of most of these conflicts would be “might makes right”, as wrong as that is. And the only way to avoid seeing it otherwise played out as frontier justice is to have the NPS step in proactively and issue a statement and rules that favor the first group who actually arrives at the beach, regardless of money spent, or the presence of beach bags, which amount to nothing but a “reserved parking” sign. Last I remember, the entire shoreline of Lake Powell was open for anyone to camp, which is an essential appeal of Lake Powell, and separates it from, say, a Vegas resort that sells reservations for poolside cabanas for $200 a pop.

I think it’s easy to lose sight of what the point of the beach bag program is. It’s not to reserve a particular beach for someone who paid a lot of money. It’s to make it possible for larger boats to anchor somewhere (not in a particular place) to avoid pinning, and be able to keep boating for the larger boats viable. That’s what those boaters are paying for. NPS needs to reinforce this essential message.

Short of NPS stepping in, or exceptional diplomatic skills on the part of an aggrieved and outnumbered party who got there first, the unfortunate last resort will be to end up in court. And there, as elsewhere, whoever has the most money typically prevails.

Without a morally strong NPS motivated by fairness rather than revenue, achieving ongoing justice in these situations will be difficult.
 
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SBennett

Active Member
Feds should have made a law for maximum houseboat size allowed on lake to make sure their was still room for ‘the little guy’ in the future.
There is only so much real estate and too many big boats spoil the tranquility.
Doesn’t Yellowstone do something similar for trailer length or something?
 

Powder Hound

Active Member
What I'm surprised at is no one mentioned about all the chatter on channel sixteen which is only to be used for emergency's. I agree if no one is there but the bags camp and anchor but do not use the bags. First come first user in person.
 

nzaugg

Well-Known Member
What I'm surprised at is no one mentioned about all the chatter on channel sixteen which is only to be used for emergency's. I agree if no one is there but the bags camp and anchor but do not use the bags. First come first user in person.
I did mention it earlier. There are a lot of calls out on 16, but they are quickly moving to other channels. This seems to be in compliance with the requirements of operating on 16, which isn't just for emergencies but also for establishing communication before switching to other channels. They should probably just establish a channel they will communicate on though and have radios in dual scan. I can see that it may be helpful in an emergency situation to have so many monitoring the channel though, as long as they are willing to help out if there is an issue.
 

BobT

Active Member
the big positive on using the beach bags over standard anchors on the massive boats is that they can shift under extreme circumstances like micro bursts instead off pulling the anchor. the beach bag can move a few feet and still maintain its original holding power where a normal anchor would have pulled out.
camp where you want but I wouldn't recommend tying up to their bags unless you are planning on paying for the anchor service. they just might show up to remove the bags and untie your lines leaving you scrambling to get your boat secured.
this is their first year offering the service so folks should be mindful of growing pains of any small business. I can imagine the scheduling of that service is rough having to depend on a houseboat captain to arrive on a certain beach at a certain time and then leave that beach on their scheduled day/time as well. I'm sure no one in this forum has run into issues while leaving the marina that set them back a few hours or left the beach a day early.

Hanlon's Razor
The point is that a beach or mooring is not "yours" until you arrive and set up. And it's a learning process to search, secure, and make the most of your time there. To have elites pay to exclude those of us that have paid our dues is wrong. This isn't disneyland, a pre constructed amusement park. It's a wild area.
 

BobT

Active Member
My views allign with JFRCalifornia and PBH. Third party’s who stake out spots for paying customers should be held responsible with ownership contact and dates of occupancy on those bags. They should also not be left unattended for more than 24 hours after initial placement. Similar to a campground reservation system, if you don’t show up within 24 hours of your bag placement the site is open to anyone. This service seems pretty ridiculous to me honestly especially in a national park with so much availability.
They shouldn't be there before that beach is occupied or abandoned (maybe 1/2 hour?). That's how the lake works. When you find an empty spot, it's yours.
 

Lake Bum

Well-Known Member
The reality is ~ Pinning stakes into sandstone is ILLEGAL. And the owners of beach bags are getting away with a crime every time now, and Park Service is looking the other way. Justifying it just because it is for the gigantic houseboats doesn't make it right. By pinning those bags, they are actually making it a VERY easy way to get fined......and they're not even getting warned.
 

SBennett

Active Member
The reality is ~ Pinning stakes into sandstone is ILLEGAL. And the owners of beach bags are getting away with a crime every time now, and Park Service is looking the other way. Justifying it just because it is for the gigantic houseboats doesn't make it right. By pinning those bags, they are actually making it a VERY easy way to get fined......and they're not even getting warned.
That is why, if left unattended, plastic bags on the beach are just regular trash.
Is there a difference from a beach bag to an abandoned beach ball?
 

BartsPlace

Moderator
Staff member
The reality is ~ Pinning stakes into sandstone is ILLEGAL. And the owners of beach bags are getting away with a crime every time now, and Park Service is looking the other way. Justifying it just because it is for the gigantic houseboats doesn't make it right. By pinning those bags, they are actually making it a VERY easy way to get fined......and they're not even getting warned.
I'm completely on board with the sentiment. However, they have an agreement with NPS to explore pinning and later filling holes with a "new" compound. They aren't doing it blindly or on the down low. We may not agree with the concept, but they effectively have a pinning law waiver during this pilot phase.

That said, I'm 100% against reserving spots with Beach Bags.
 

BartsPlace

Moderator
Staff member
Some new posts to their site -


 
We were on the west side of Padre Canyon July 25-29. We found a very nice cove where we parked a houseboat, runabout, and 3 jet skis at the back of the cove. There was a large houseboat near the cove entrance that was using beach bags, and it stayed there for 2 days. When it departed in the morning, about 2 hours later another large houseboat arrived to use the same beach bags. hmmmm? Seem pretty coordinated to me.
 

The Oracle

Active Member
I guess I don't see the fundamental difference between placing bags (or any other objects) on a beach to save a spot versus a tent, cooler, and/or lawn chairs (what have you). As long as the bags are placed and subsequently removed within the 14 day (inclusive) use period within a 30 day period. In other words, I am not okay with placing bags, for example, 10 days in advance of actual persons arrival then having someone occupy that physically occupy that location with their boat(s) for an additional up to 14 days within a 30 day period. That is abusing the intent of the 14 day use period in my opinion. An object is an object independent of whether it is a chair, tent, cooler, beach bag, etc. BUUUUTTTT...none of that can be there more than 14 days in a 30 consecutive day period. That's the Federal law. Those (any) bags need to be removed inside of the 14 day period and the are left vacant of bags for at least 16 days before being "bagged" again. Plain and simple. If a current user happens to coordinate a great spot they found with another potential user so they can swap-out, I do sort of think that messes up the opportunity for others to potentially use a given site. However, I can see both sides of that equation as long as, again, it falls inside the 14 day use period within 30 consecutive days. So, fine. Put your ugly bags and leave them there for use for up to 14 days, but not more than 14 days within a 30 consecutive day period. Whether someone is actually there or not is independent of the word; "use"....the responsible party is using the place for the time the entire object(s) are there.

As far a pinning/backpinning (pinning) these bags...that is complicated and I am having a difficult time getting my head around it. Personally, I think if an activity requires pinning it shouldn't be allowed regardless of whether it can be repaired/filled with an appropriate medium. Stay in the marina or don't come at all. Just because water levels are dropping doesn't mean we should throw all of the heretofore sound rules out of the window in order to accommodate some sort of what appears to be 'entitlment'. What next?... if the sewage pumpout stations are broken we just macerate/discharge and/or dump directly over the side into the lake? Maybe just defecate over the gunwhale and then take a swim? Yeah, that sounds nice too! Find something else to do and/or somewhere other than Lake Powell to do it. I do not agree with defacing the natural beauty of a place just so I might recreate there. But, that's just me (even though, as The Oracle, I am always right except that one time I thought I was wrong and was wrong about being wrong).
 
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JFRCalifornia

Escalante-Class Member
I guess I don't see the fundamental difference between placing bags (or any other objects) on a beach to save a spot versus a tent, cooler, and/or lawn chairs (what have you).
I respect that perspective, but I believe there is a simple and fundamental difference. With the tent, cooler, or chair, that's something that you yourself (or someone in your group) had to place, which means you found the spot yourself. You earned it through your own effort. No money changed hands. In contrast, you pay someone else to place the beach bags in advance. You might justify that by saying you just bought some peace of mind in your trip planning. Others might call that a paid reservation system. A crucial difference.

I appreciate that the Beach Bag folks are now apparently sensitive to this criticism, and they should be. That's a good first step. As they now indicate on their website (see Bart's second link three posts up), here's what they say:

We’ve heard the comments regarding Beach Bags running a business to “save the best spots on the lake”. It’s not our intention, or business practice to operate in that fashion, although we do understand how we, and circumstances, have caused that to happen.

Our operational objectives are to place Systems once a houseboat is enroute to its destination and to pick-up Systems as soon as possible after the houseboat departs its anchorage. We strive to ensure Systems are not left unattended for more than a few hours. We have, however experienced multiple situations where this has not occurred.

We believe acknowledging the problem is the first step to fixing it. To reduce the likelihood of these occurrences we’ve been making the following changes to our operations.

1. We’re adjusting operations to reduce the likelihood of houseboats leaving Beach Bags Systems unattended because our customers failed to reach their site in time, or at all, due to mechanical issues, weather issues or other circumstances.

2. We’re increasing our communications with customers after they’ve been anchored to improve our ability know if boats end their vacation earlier than scheduled – leaving a Beach Bags System unattended.

3. As the season has progressed, we’re increasing staff and equipment to be able to respond more quickly to unforeseen circumstances that would leave Systems unattended, and will continue to do so.


In my view, those are potentially helpful and well-intentioned steps, but they will not eliminate the problem, though might reduce the magnitude of the problem. Enforcement is key, and that has to come from a stronger NPS. As well-meaning as Beach Bags might be, no business is in the business of losing or offending its customers, and they don't have time (or really the incentive) to solve this problem. I think part of the problem is that some of their customers might actually look at this as a de facto reservation system, at least it might be implicit in their thinking. I mean, who wants to take a 75-footer out there without some sort of guarantee you'll find a good spot? Just call Beach Bags, and they'll solve your problem for you...
 
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