Ruminating over Rum (the Island)

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

  1. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    John, I'm not going to tell you or anyone else where to camp.

    The view from the isthmus is shown in green.

    The view from the current campsite is shown with yellow (but also includes the green to the south).

    I might be out a few degrees on each of the views, but I think I'm close enough.

    Given the option of a site on the isthmus or the existing site, it's a no-brainer for me.
     

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  2. jk

    jk Paddler

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    Yup, the campsite view is nice too.
     

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  3. Gary Jacek

    Gary Jacek Paddler

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    Hey John, that last photo looks very hammock-friendly.

    And thanks for reminding us why we risk social conflict to enjoy such a view.

    :D
     
  4. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Fixed it for ya. :cool
     
  5. jk

    jk Paddler

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    Oh, Dan, Dan, Dan. At the risk of being the two WCP children hurling spitballs at one another... I'll concede the edit, but with the reminder that the berm has views plural. I think you forgot the north view, or at least the diagram you prepared seemed to kind of crop it off or something. So ONLY for the sake of the record, for those who might get the impression the north view is just a sliver as per the diagram: The first photo I posted could only capture part of that expansive northward vista so I thought I'd add the second photo to complete it. This view is looking northwest, which you might remember from the campsite the northwest view is the slope up to the outhouse. Now if you prefer an outhouse view over this, well, different strokes as you say.

    Anyway, the photos were posted in response to your use of the word, and I quote, "terrible" as a campsite, with a steep-walled, restricted viewpoint. I'd submit this is proof to the contrary of that statement, and before you feel inspired I should warn you a second diagram, no matter how carefully constructed, won't change my opinion on that matter.

    DISCLAIMER: This is all meant in good fun only. No actual spitballs are intended.
     

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  6. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    And all along I thought this conversation was about over crowded campsites. My apologies to everyone for allowing myself to contribute to taking it off topic. Back on track...

    Haven't heard back from the guide yet.
     
  7. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Very good points, Dave.

    A third point might be to limit ones group size to campsites that can reasonably handle that many people.
     
  8. jk

    jk Paddler

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    Sort of on topic. In touring the south Gulf Islands recently it was pretty apparent decisions were/are being made with no input from kayakers and with no regard for the interests of kayakers. Cases in point:

    D'Arcy Island: campsite is set back from the beach along a path. All the mosquitoes, none of the view. Why would a camping area be created in a marine park that has no waterfront orientation? The seven sites could easily have been created along the beachfront. The result is a lot of campers sneak onto the other campworthy beaches, which offer a far superior camping setup.

    Sidney Spit: campsites were previously located on the edge of the beach. It was a perfect opportunity to pull out the kayak, place gear on the picnic table and set up a tent adjacent. Awesome. In the past couple of years they moved all the sites back anywhere from 30 to 100 metres or more from the beach. Some sites are set back behind other sites in the trees. The reason I was told was to stop partiers. Irrational. The result is the camping experience has been severely diminished.

    Portland Island: The south-facing camping beach is double-jointed. Previously spots were located along both beaches. Recently camping was changed to consolidate it on a grassy flat above the east beach. You can still camp on the beach below the flat, but the west beach has very clear no-camping signs. Why? Conservation? It's scrub. So why restrict camping at one of the best camping beaches in the Gulf Islands? There's no rationale other than to contain and control for the sake of a park bureaucrat who wants to contain and control.

    I could go on park by park, but you get the idea. So when these restrictions and poor design decisions take place, what happens? Nothing. Not so much as a peep from the kayaking community.

    By contrast, imagine this. Suppose at a park they decided to move a boating anchorage out into open water because they no longer wanted boats crowding a protected little cove. Without a doubt the BC Council of Yacht Clubs would kick into gear, bureaucrats would be fired, politicians would be kicked out of office and the anchorage would be reinstated. Yet severe arbitrary restrictions are placed on kayaking access and we are mute.

    My point is kayakers should have a provincial body akin to the BC Council of Yacht Clubs. Not a guides group, but a political arm that park officials should go to before implementing changes that affect kayakers. A group that could lobby for changes that benefit kayakers. I don't think the BC Marine Trails Association can or should fill that role. They have a non-political mandate. Meanwhile, groups like SKABC that have the title are still essentially a social group organizing trips and training sessions. So no wonder park bureaucrats are making ill-informed decisions. No one is telling them what to do.
     
  9. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Excellent comments, John (jk).

    I agree that kayakers need a voice - whether that would be a single voice or a cacophony is the question. :)

    I dropped in at Pirates Cove yesterday - first visit there.
    At every turn, my reaction was:
    "What the heck were they thinking when they did that? Do any of these so-called 'planners' have any experience as back-country/outdoors/'wilderness' travellers?"

    BTW, no response yet from Marcia Morash, Supt. Gulf Is. Natl. Park.....on the 'appropriate # of campsites at Rum and other locations' issue.
     
  10. alanh1

    alanh1 New Member

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    I don't mean to sound cynical, but I really doubt the phone will be picked up at 10pm on a Friday night. Park rules are completely ignored because they are completely unenforceable.

    The no-fire ban is a prime example. I witnessed a park ranger in a rib approach two campers on Portland and ask them to extinguish the fire they had made on the beach. 5 minutes after the ranger left, the fire was going again. If you camp in the gulf islands in summer you will see fires made at every campsite.
     
  11. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Hope you get a response soon.

    Re Pirates Cove: I believe several of the campsites now under Parks control sort of evolved from historical use by paddlers, power boaters, etc. I know I have seen good layouts, questionable ones, and camping areas with what looks like no attention paid to how they might be used. I have not camped at Pirates Cove, John. What did you find that alarmed you?
     
  12. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I think 'alarmed' is a bit strong..probably something between 'puzzled' and 'exasperated' would be a better description of my reaction.
    Anyway, what I saw at Pirates Cove is probably a small fraction of the stuff for a different discussion topic: 'Wrong-headed Park planning' or similar (which would include jk's excellent observations above).
    Please start that topic up for us all - not that anybody in authority will take the least notice (cf. jk's comments above)

    Back to Rum Is....
     
  13. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Pirate's Cove used to have really nicely laid-out sites, but about a dozen years ago, one of the cabin owners on the west side of the park complained that they were too close to his property and that the noise disturbed him. So BC Parks relocated the tent pads to their current location, which is much less desirable.

    But in the big picture, these are First World problems.
     
  14. explorer777

    explorer777 Paddler

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    I've enjoyed reading all the posts - and given the 90+ posts on this thread it seems like others have also enjoyed the discussion. For many of us, our love of backcountry camping is one of the things that draws us to multi-day paddling trips so it's no wonder that the topic has generated so much interest.
     
  15. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Perhaps Parks Canada should be approached with the idea of a Public Park Advisory Committee. That is a committee where members of the public with an interest in the park would meet with Park Officials to discuss issues that affect the Park (not just kayaking) and ways ahead on those issues. Meetings would be public and you would then at least have a venue to voice concerns.

    Same same should be in place for Provincial Marine Parks.

    The model would be the Strathcona Park Public Advisory Committee which has been in place since 1993.

    I note in 27 Sept Courier Islander that there are Park Use Permits being issued for commercially guided boat tours, kayaking, and camping on Mitlenatch, Octopus, Small Inlet, Mansons Landing, Smelt Bay, Von Donop, Rendezvous Island South, Surge Narrows, and Rock Bay. I don't know if there is even a public advisory committee in any of these parks but I do know your interests as kayakers are not likely to be considered in the issuance of these permits.

    Get involved or lose it.
     
  16. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Ken, In the thread on Island View Park, there is a link to a survey form on policies and practices for use of that area where you might float your idea. IIRC, language in the current draft says something like "sea kayakers should be consulted about changes in use rules" or words to that effect. But, no specifics are given. I agree some sort of structured body would be a better, more influential route than what the current draft suggests.

    Here is the thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6396
     
  17. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    I met with the guide last week and had a very nice chat over a cup of coffee. There were no accusations (as none were warranted) -- we did each apologize to each other but mostly, we simply enjoyed a nice conversation about paddling in the Gulf Islands.

    The guide told me that he's been in touch with Parks Canada since this discussion started and told them that he was the guide referred to in this discussion. He is apparently still involved in discussion with Parks Canada regarding the situation.

    The group was comprised of a few friends of the guide, along with a few of their friends, and that the group decided upon Rum Island as the destination. Because the group was not well experienced, the guide offered to accompany them. He agreed that the group size was too large for the existing campsite but assumed that since it was mid-week and that it was the worst weather forecast in weeks that it would be unlikely that anyone would be on Rum. We had thought the same. Turned out we were both wrong.

    Our discussion was primarily about possible solutions to eliminating overcrowding at Gulf Island campsites -- the guide felt that the best solution is to implement a campsite booking system. While I generally don't find these sort of things tasteful, I do agree that it probably is the most viable and obvious solution to overcrowding and that we've likely come to a point in time where the islands are busy enough to warrant such a system -- at least in the peak of the summer months.

    I'm curious to know how others feel about a campsite booking system being implemented in the Gulf Islands...
     
  18. AM

    AM Paddler

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    I would like to hear from lots more people before I support a booking system. Who else is having problems grabbing a spot? I have never had an issue myself, having never been turned away from a Gulf Island due to overcrowding.
     
  19. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    I think just the contemplation of a booking system points to the necessity of finding/making/obtaining more camping locations rather than curtailment.
     
  20. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    Bingo. And why we should support (and applaud) the efforts of the BC Marine Trails Network! :clap: