Ruminating over Rum (the Island)

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Dan_Millsip, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. explorer777

    explorer777 Paddler

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    I am new to this great forum and I don't want to ruffle any feathers here because I value being a part of the paddling community but I disagree with your idea of having some sense of entitlement because you arrived at a campsite first. I agree with some of your points but your statement above bothered me. Arriving first at a campsite does not give you any entitlement. Parks belongs to all of us and arriving first at a site does not change that. I agree that everyone occupying a site needs to do their part in preserving the enjoyment of others but the first people to arrive do not get to decide who fits in.

    I am sympathetic to your situation because the same thing has happened to me many many times backpacking, and it is a drag when you have a site to your self and then a big group shows up, but it is not your site nor do you have any entitlement to it because you arrived first. That is not how our parks work. I agree that they should have communicated better with you and if they were noisy then that is rude and inconsistent with no trace ethics but I am bothered by your idea of entitlement.

    Again, I am sympathetic to what happened to you, and it sounds like the big group did not have the greatest of manners and they were not very considerate in being noisy, but I had to call you on your idea of having some sense of entitlement because you arrived first...that bothered me because that is not how our parks work.
     
  2. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    I don't feel any sense of entitlement of campsite ownership, only that I do feel entitled to having a choice of spots and of being there. If I gave the impression that I had ownership of the park then I apologize.

    I do firmly believe that those who arrive last to a campsite fit in to the situation that is there - which might (in polite terms anyway) mean talking to those who are already occupying the site so as not to step on any toes. Coming in and completely taking over a campsite without regard for others is out of line as I see it.

    In addition, I paid a fee to be there -- in essence I've rented that space -- does that not offer me a bit of entitlement to be there as well? I think it does.
     
  3. explorer777

    explorer777 Paddler

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    I completely agree with you Dan that taking over a campsite without regard for others is definitely out of line. I also agree in that I don't like it when people are inconsiderate about volume levels, especially during quiet times (e.g. before 8 ish and after dark).

    I can see both sides on this one because the operator may have chosen Rum because it is a lesser used spot and once the trip plan is made they probably wanted to stick to it, and moving on may not have been the best choice for them if the group was tired or if there were weather concerns. Plus the situation could have been similar at the next spot with people already there.

    As per an earlier post, I think that at the end of the day it comes down to consideration, empathy and, as you say, polite terms. If the large group in this case lacked consideration by being noisy then I certainly understand your frustration...but I also don't think they had a responsibility to move on to a different site because you were already there. The situation probably could have been fine if they had perhaps communicated with you more and been more considerate about noise, as per the 7th principle of leave no trace ethics 'be considerate of others'.
     
  4. mikec

    mikec Paddler

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    i don't guide, I accompany ;)
     
  5. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Works for me, Mike. :D
     
  6. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Some of the responses in this thread have me thinking that some here think that I might be angry or upset about this situation -- nothing is further from the truth. I'm not upset at all -- not now or when we were at the island -- the situation was what is was and Maddie and I still had a really good trip -- a good portion of it consumed in stimulating conversation about this very topic.

    My posting about this in the forum is specifically to discuss and get feedback from all of you (of whom I have great respect for all of your opinions). It's a situation that any of us might find ourselves in.

    The situation was something that I'd never experienced before and I was frankly, a bit overwhelmed at the time. So much so that I didn't engage in conversation with the guide because there was much to contemplate before making any opinions -- heck, it's been several days and I'm still not entirely certain how I feel about the whole thing.

    I have some thoughts about what I think might have made the situation better, and some thoughts about the use of Rum Island with respect to large organized groups, but these are just thoughts. I'm not set in stone about anything at this point -- and that's why I've engaged in conversation here -- to explore with you what could have/should have been done to improve the situation. I've no intention of pointing a finger at anyone or creating a problem for anyone. It's a learning experience.

    So please, whatever way you interpret the words that I'm writing, know that I'm not upset or angry about any of this -- I'd just like to discuss it and maybe be a bit more knowledgeable and prepared should I find myself in a similar situation. Thanks.


    The guide replied to my e-mail (regarding this discussion) today and we'll be getting together for a coffee and a chat in a couple of weeks. I suspect it will be an interesting and worthwhile conversation.
     
  7. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Dan,

    If the guide OKs you passing on his views on this, I would be very interested. Until Kimantas reported that Rum saw very little overnight use, I had a very skewed perspective. I assumed it was a popular site for individuals, and would be plugged by noncommercial users. Never occurred that it might be an important linchpin for a commercial user to flesh out a multi island tour, or for a safety valve if weaker paddlers in a guided group made it a tough stretch for them to reach an original choice.
     
  8. drahcir

    drahcir Paddler

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    These sorts of encounters will likely become more common. This discussion will help all of us. Nevertheless, there will always be random, non commercial kayakers who are new to such situations and don't know quite what to do. I would suggest that the burden must fall on the commercial operators - only they can present an organized, consistent solution. In particular, they should develop a standard protocol for such encounters including appropriate on-site communication - perhaps even a follow-up pamphlet/brochure. Most of us appreciate the skills and leadership of the guide community and we would be responsive to their leadership in this area.
     
  9. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Dave, I've only been to Rum Is a couple of times, but I'd advise not abandoning your perspective too quickly.

    On a stormy weekend last March, Rum was 'over-filled'. And this mid-week (after Labour day) two (of the three) 'approved' campsites were occupied by folks who said they were using Rum as a base for a few days paddling. Only a couple of 'data points', I know (vs John Kimantas' huge experience), but.....

    With only one camping area on the island, and only 3 platforms, it doesn't take much to go from 'very little use' to 'over-full'.
     
  10. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Is this really an issue concerning only commercial guided groups?

    The situation Dan experienced could easily have been 'just a group of 8-10 friends' instead of a guided group. I'd generally prefer meeting up with a guided group, since most guides 'set the tone' for the group's behaviour.

    Perhaps we should be having a discussion about the appropriate group size for camping trips. Can we not feel safe without 6-8-10 friends along? Can guides not make enough money with a smaller group size?

    Some year, an unfortunate solo paddler will find the forum 'campout' group descending on his quiet campsite. What will our reaction be, in that event?
     
  11. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    The problem with Rum Island is that it's too beautiful. It's easily my favourite camping spot (or even day-paddle destination) within the southern Gulf Islands. Perhaps some of that charm comes from it's small size and limited camping spots. But because I like it so much (and obviously others do too), if I were arranging a trip with a few friends (or even paying customers, in the case of a guide) it would probably be at the top of my list for places to visit or camp. I'm guessing that the tour guide probably had similar ideas - as a guide, you'd go out of your way to give your customers the best experience possible and that means visiting the nicest places. But if I were in his shoes, I'd probably limit my group size to about 5 before changing plans to go to a different camping spot (perhaps visiting Rum along the way as a lunch spot or something).

    But if I had, for whatever reason, already decided on Rum as the day's destination, I think you'd lose a lot of respect (and possibly future business) if you landed with your group expecting to camp there and then decided it was too full, and have everyone pack up again and head for a different island. It would, at best, make your operation look disorganized and lacking advanced planning. In my opinion, you'd be best off to not plan to camp there in the first place, with such a large group.
     
  12. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    Do sea kayaking guides get tips?
     
  13. jk

    jk Paddler

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    Last lash lines on the horse skeleton? Most novice tour clients max out at 10 miles. The distance to change simply isn't possible as some seem to think. Sidney Spit might seem next door to us, but to an already tired group... That's way beyond common courtesy for two unknown people and unreasonable to expect. Their whole day may have been coming from Sidney Spit!

    And Dan, remember this thread at the next WCP campout and your flotilla is approaching some campers whose expression is this :shock: . Will you all paddle on for their sake?
     
  14. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Perhaps. But it's also not unreasonable to expect that the group would have the courtesy to discuss their plans with us before taking over the campsite that we're occupying -- especially when their presence would overcrowd the campsite.


    First off, it's not my flotilla. In fact, I don't organize the event (haven't since the first 2 or 3) -- it's organized by people who frequent this site. And if you go back and read pretty much all the preparation discussions you'll find that I've always expressed concern that other people might be occupying the chosen campsite. To answer your question directly however -- hypothetically, if it were my event and the public campsite was occupied I would definitely ask the inhabitants if it was ok with them -- especially if it meant the campsite would be overcrowded. If there was a problem with it, I would move on.

    And yeah, John, I have left an occupied campsite on a number of occasions when another site is in paddling distance -- in fact, my kids and I did this for a couple in the Deer Group and we later hooked up with them on the same trip and shared a campsite for several days -- and went on to become long time friends (and still are).

    We did it in the Broughton last year for a couple that were alone at a lovely spot, even though it was late in the day and we were unfamiliar with the area. And I've moved to the next campsite to give the occupants some privacy on a few other occasions too. I savor the experience of having a campsite location to myself -- and very much respect that other people do too.

    Not sure what your point is exactly John, but if you're questioning whether I practice what I preach, do all the checking you want -- you'll find that I'm always aware of and give a lot of consideration to other people when selecting a campsite and when I'm in a campsite.
     
  15. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    if respectful communication could have been established, I wonder if some rearranging could have alleviated being completely surrounded.
    ie 'you guys can have this end and middle - and we'll take the other end'.
     
  16. explorer777

    explorer777 Paddler

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    Did they take over your campsite? Or did they share the camping area? I don't recall you mentioning that they took over your campsite because when I read through your posts it sounds like you still camped there and had your own campsite(s). Again, this is where your posts trouble me because when you say something like "the campsite that we're occupying" it comes across as though you had a right to that whole camping area becasue you got there first and that the next people to come along needed your approval. You paid for your particular site(s) within that camping area and that is what you had a right to - that doesn't give you the right to the whole camping area. I appreciate your concern about the noise issue and perhaps lack of communication but I think you are off base with some of your other points where you ccome across as having some sense of entitlement to that whole camping area because you got there first...and judging from other posts I am not alone. Sorry - just being candid. I maintain, and am in agreement with Mick and others, that the situation probably could have been fine with a little more communication.
     
  17. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    I have explicitly mentioned that I felt no "right" or "entitlement" to the entire campsite and I certainly didn't say or infer that anyone needed my permission to use the campsite so I'm not sure why you're questioned me about this again. The campsite was well beyond the 3 tent pad capacity and was very much overcrowded for it's size -- this is what I've stated.

    I'm wondering if you've ever been to Rum Island or are at all familiar with this particular campsite? I'm pretty sure if you have been there you would realize how small this campsite is, and that you would have a better understanding that nine tents at this site is very crowded.
     
  18. kayakwriter

    kayakwriter Paddler

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    My biggest beef with this incident is (if I'm understanding the situation correctly) that even if there had been no other campers already in residence, the guide was bringing a group that exceeded the official occupancy levels for that site (and yes, I have camped there often). That doesn't sound like "holding oneself to a higher standard/leadership by example" to me.
     
  19. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Relevant to this discussion are points #2 and #7 here:

    http://skgabc.org/low-impact.php

    Note, I also fully concur with Liam's post above. Every guide I've met has been a real credit to the paddling community. They work huge hours, deal with unpredictable conditions (and people!), and have to put on a happy face when they would rather look like this :evil:

    Maybe this poor guide was just hitting his end of season low energy point. Having just returned from a 4-day paddling trip with high school kids, I can't imagine how these guides keep it up for months on end.

    Oh well, Dan, you've done the classy thing and offered to talk it over with coffee. Good will come of this.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  20. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Completely agree with all you say here, Mark. It's a very beautiful spot -- but if you have a group of more than about 5 (an agreeable number imho), it's probably best not to plan for this location as the site will quickly become crowded even if there are only 2 or 3 people occupying the campsite ahead of you.


    It's generally accepted in the industry to tip your guide if you're happy with the experience. Doesn't always happen though -- it really depends on the guest.