Old thread bump!
This thread was linked in another forum and I just wanted to comment on something that I didn't see mentioned. It's dead in here anyway
Reviewing the posts above it sounds like Ranger Rob, ready to dole out justice for failing to meet the area's standard and lured by free gear, headed back to the overlook parking lot around 10:30PM to scavenge. It is unclear to me if he actually parked there, or parked elsewhere to avoid talking to the suspected owners of the gear.
How long would it take to clean the route, plus the walk in and out? Longer than the parking time limit for the overlook?
And doesn't the preserve officially close after dark? Not often (ever?) enforced I think, but still their rule?
And it sounds like this "cliff scavenger thing" is somewhat regular?
Maybe I've mucked up the details Rob, but it sounds like you are regularly willing to break laws and/or property owner rules to enforce a non-binding "area ethic"? Doesn't sound like an ethical high ground to me.
I'd probably have asked the folks in the lot if it was their gear - seems like a good chance to educate them on what I felt was the area ethic if that was the main concern.