Desolation Sound campsite changes

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by AM, May 27, 2013.

  1. AM

    AM Paddler

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  2. stevenf

    stevenf Paddler

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    I was up in Desolation for five days in April and tried the new site at Hare Point. Met up with some park staff working on the site who filled us in on all the changes. Only camping at designated spots (and the new sites are tent friendly, not too hammock friendly), some existing sites are being closed and there's a permanent campfire ban going in throughout the park. Kind of glad I got one last visit in before the new rules.
     
  3. pryaker

    pryaker Paddler

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    Since this is practically my front yard and a place I visit fairly often I'm a bit perturbed by all the new regulations. From what I've heard locally this is pretty much only to try and protect the cultural assets of the First Nations in the area. There have been a few cases of disturbances such as Band members finding the the burnt remains of cedar burial boxes in campfire rings that I think have prompted this. This and others I've heard of are legitimate concerns but is putting split rail fences around middens and forcing people to camp on wood platforms a good way to prevent this? If I want to go camp on a non designated camping beach how is that going to impact cultural resources?

    Being a relative newcomer to BC I'm surprised that there wasn't any sort of public input sought before developing and implementing this new plan. Isn't there supposed to be a chance for all interested parties to have a say?
     
  4. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    If this is true, then that is absolutely disgusting. That is about as disrespectful as someone can be, unacceptable and, as you say, a legitimate concern. One would hope that this is the result of ignorance, rather than blatant disregard for others.

    And we wonder why there are more and more restrictions placed on our freedom to do (and camp) as we please? The ignorance and actions of others will always result in affecting those who can behave themselves.
     
  5. RobP

    RobP Paddler

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    This is exactly why I love living up north, none of these issues, can just about go where you want, and do what you want, with very few to bother you.
     
  6. jk

    jk Paddler

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    My two cents, not that anyone asked. The previous campsites in the park were pretty much crap. And chaotic. Kurme Islands was a free for all. So designated camping areas and tent pads were badly needed. This is an improvement. Apparently the protection of cultural resources was also needed. So this does both. Win-win.

    I've seen a lot of wilderness areas used with a go where you want when you want attitude, and it's fine for a few people a year, but busy sites get trashed. The bridge at Clayoquot Arm is a drunken pig sty. I wouldn't for a moment say that was preferable.

    I would personally question the need to preserve every midden in BC, but I can live with a split rail fence if it fulfills a heritage/cultural agenda that is really none of my business. Which is probably why there was minimal or no public consultation. Who cares if you or I want to sleep on a beach rather than a tent pad? We could cry like babies, it doesn't remove the fact that by tramping around and digging fire pits, etc, we'd have a negative impact if we camped there. We've been given a decent alternative and there's no reason that shouldn't suffice. So I give the changes an enthusiastic thumbs up. I can't wait to check out the new sites.
     
  7. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Without a pre-reservation system (ugh!) in place, it makes no sense at all to restrict camping to (a few) wooden tent platforms.
    What happens when people arrive at 7pm on a stormy evening and are told to 'move along' because the tent platforms are all occupied?

    I have little disagreement with a 'occupy tent platforms first, overflow camping on other designated sites on the ground' policy, but the 'camping only on tent platforms' idea must be thought up by people who have very little back-country camping experience.
    Next wrinkle: "You may suspend a hammock only above a wooden tent platform" ???

    And, I thought that 'tramping around' in the bush was part of the reason for getting our butts off the couches!

    The 'where-to-sleep' issue is completely separate from the 'no open fires-stoves only' issue, IMO. At the very least, fires above the tide line should be a no-no.

    And, let's not get started on preserving middens (aka garbage dumps). :yikes:
     
  8. aklinz

    aklinz Paddler

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    I have to agree with John Abercrombie:
    My wife and I have run into the same mentality on Twin Islands, in Indian Arm (Deep Cove). I have camped on these islands for years when I lived in Vancouver. Now living in Alberta, we fly out with our Feathercraft kayaks, paddle out to Twin Islands, and as soon as we get our camp set up, some busybody paddles up and tells us we can't camp there ! And no fire, either ! (not even on the gravel below the high tide line). Really ? It is getting so we will not even bother heading out to our favourite BC places, as there seems to be an all-encompassing, eternal fire ban for the whole province. And I agree with his comment on safety, too. We were introducing a new couple to kayak camping, and had to put ashore earlier than planned due to wrist fatigue in the new paddlers. It's getting dark, wind is rising, and along comes "Ranger Bob"..... Tells us he doesn't want any more tents on "his" island; sends us off on the water in the dark. And this is safety ?
    Andrew Klinzmann
     
  9. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    aklinz, not sure who would be telling you that you can't camp on Twin Islands. As far as fires go on Twin Islands -- yeah, you can't have them there but there's good reason for it. For that matter, there's usually good reasoning for province wide fire bans too.

    I'd really like to hear more about your story of someone telling you that you can't camp on Twin Islands.
     
  10. aklinz

    aklinz Paddler

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    Hello Dan.

    I wasn't sure who the guy was; he didn't offer any official identification either. It had been almost 4 years since I was last there; we flew out to Vancouver with out Feathercraft boats as checked baggage. Paddled out to Twin Islands, and set up in our usual site on the southern tip of the smaller south island (where the old concrete beacon mounting pedestals are). A few hours later, some guy in a Necky boat paddles over to Raccoon Island, then over to our island, and he floats offshore and hails us. My wife talked to him, and he proceed to "order" us off the island ! When I got back from my walk on the north island, she told me about her encounter. We decided to just ignore the guy, and had an uneventful two days after that (with perfect weather). I did see the new "no fire" sign nailed to a tree, but that wasn't an issue since we didn't have a fire that trip. When I mentioned it at the Deep Cove kayak center, they also told us there was no camping or fires allowed on Twin islands.

    Andrew Klinzmann
     
  11. Byron

    Byron Paddler

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    Did you ever check the Government website for the park? Either before, of after, you camped there?

    It is clear there is no camping allowed on South Twin Island.

    There is camping allowed on the North Twin Island however.

    Given I have printouts from 10 years ago, I don't think those regulations are new.
     
  12. aklinz

    aklinz Paddler

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    Hello Byron.
    Yes, I am aware of the camping on the north island. Also very aware of the typical loud mouthed, beer-drinkin', boombox blastin', litterin' yahoos who roar up to the north island dock in their power boats and generally ruin the wilderness experience for us kayakers. We, of course, practice zero-impact camping, camp on the exposed rock of the south island, have no fires and have done so since the early nineties. Surely you aren't comparing our zero-impact camping style to the beer-bottle-smashing and huge forest-floor bonfire types that typically inhabit the north island ?
    Andrew Klinzmann
     
  13. VanIslePaddler

    VanIslePaddler Paddler

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    Okay, we seem to be getting a little off topic...

    Back To Desolation Sound: (and perhaps ties into the comments Andrew is making)

    It is challenging for any management agency (Parks, Crownland, Private, etc) to balance the many competing interests in areas. These competing interests include (but not limited to), environmental, cultural, user groups (kayaks, power/sail boats, hunters/fishers, commercial tours), etc.

    Many of these interests run in conflict to each other, so management agencies need to create compromises. For instance, if Desolation sound was managed solely for the benefit of the environment, likely human visitation would be restricted completely. Like it or not, best practices or not, sea kayakers do have an impact on the environment. I like to pride myself in believeing I leave a 'small' footprint on the environment when I visit, but I still leave a footprint.

    Management agencies also have to manage for the less aware users (folks with no concept of good camping etiquette)... for instance most visitors to this forum likely fall more in the realm of 'experienced', as simply by visiting WestCoastPaddler you are showing you interest in educating yourself to common practices within the region and learning from other users to avoid running into issues. Therefore sometimes the 'respectful' user gets punished by policy designed to protect a park from the behaviour of the 'disrespectful' user.
    - In this case, don't get upset at Parks, get upset at the 'disrespectful' users which caused the management agency to introduce new policy...

    I have paddled a couple thousand miles of the BC Coastline, and many sites I have once enjoyed have had new policy added subsequently. As an example, a small island I once used to visit was closed to camping due to sensitive and extremely rare plant species found on the island... I did not 'disrespect' the island, but by my footsteps through the undergrowth, the setting of my tent within a forest glade, likely had an unintended impact to those plant species.... therfore, I am willing to respect the closure of that island today.


    In summary, if Parks has new regulations with Desolation Sound, there are likely numerous and complicated reasons to respect this.

    Secondly, many users are probably saying: "thank you for the new tent platforms! Thats Awesome!"
     
  14. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Completely agree with everything VanIslePaddler states -- there is almost always good reason for closures or restricted use areas.

    Twin Islands is (imho) relevant to this discussion because there's been no camping on the south island for quite a number of years as the island was nearly bare of vegetation due to people trampling and camping all over it (I saw this first hand). It's a good example of what happens with over-use -- ten years later and the island is now once again starting to look like it did when I first began going there. On a lesser scale, the same could very well be happening in Desolation Sound -- it doesn't take a lot of human contact with the environment before marks are left so doing something before it becomes a serious problem seems prudent.

    Unfortunately, even in areas that are more remote we're also seeing more people, including some who don't respect the wilderness -- so in areas like Desolation Sound there are bound to be needed controls to ensure that the environment is not damaged by overuse or in cases where there has been excessive use, the area has opportunity to rejuvenate itself. It's all part of responsible sustainability of our environment. The responsible thing for us to do as paddlers is to respect these closures.

    aklinz, if you'd like to continue to talk specifically about your ordeal at Twin Islands, it's probably better to discuss it in a separate discussion -- it's more the larger environmental picture of the Twin Islands that matters to this discussion. Thanks.
     
  15. Byron

    Byron Paddler

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    Back to Desolation Sound, count me in as one who thinks the tent pads are "Awesome". As are decent toilets! :)

    But based on the map, they have reduced the number of locations quite substantially. So my immediate concern would be arriving at a site and finding it full. What to do then?
     
  16. aklinz

    aklinz Paddler

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    Hello all. No, I've put in my two cents worth. I guess the point of this discussion is that these new "environmental" regulations and restrictions (no matter where) seem to hinder us kayakers the most; while the drunken louts out there simply ignore them...
    Just curious: my wife and I have a rather large tent we use when kayaking. Exactly how big are the tent pads in Desolation Sound ?
    Andrew Klinzmann
     
  17. stevenf

    stevenf Paddler

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    The tent pads are normal tent pad size, pretty much the same as you see everywhere. Sorry, this is the best shot I have of one, this is at the new site at Hare Point. I will say that the pads make for a lot more tentable spots here. I think there's 8 or 9 at this site?
     

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  18. Nick Heath

    Nick Heath Paddler

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    The discussion is interesting and many good points have been made.
    I think paddlers should appreciate the pressure that BC Parks are under re: free-for-all camping in their marine parks around Desolation Sound. Popular areas like this can't sustain the user pressure that more remote areas can handle through dispersal of users.
    BC Parks has a minimal budget for this sort of thing and would have built more sites this past winter if they had not run out of cash. It would be good to support them a bit and put in a word or a letter to the editor to thank them for what they have done so far (which seems to be what most paddlers want - outhouses and tent platforms in particular). They might have been remiss in not properly protecting cultural sites in the past, partly because there had been no survey or inventory of those sites. Their actions here seem to me to be responsible park management. Paddlers might pause to consider also that even though the Sliammon Treaty was approved last year, this area and most of the coast is under other active First Nation claims.
    So why not list what would make the area even better for kayakers, so we (or our clubs) can talk to BC Parks before they spend further money? Which are the priority sites - I know S Copeland will be near the top of the list and I'd like to see a site or two near Melville I. Do we really need reservations? What is the demand for hammock suspension trees nearby?
    For those who still want their beach fires and prefer to camp wherever they choose, Desolation Sd still has many fine sites outside these Parks.