Pacific Rim Problem-No stopping in Pacific Rim Park Reserve

cougarmeat

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Sorry - I kind of hijacked the thread with this post to complain about our invasive species permit - but this is an important thread so I backed it out.
 
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alexsidles

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So SalishSeaNior, Rick, points out that a fundamental aspect of canadian law, the charter's freedom of expression, was over-ruled by the judge in favour of government compelled expression - and compelled non-expression. That's an extremely interesting modification for a fairly limited trespass.
I've been emailing with the defense attorney for one of the paddleboarders. He tells me the sentence was a joint submission, meaning the disposition was agreed upon by all the parties involved. The judge endorsed it, as is the norm for joint submissions. So it's not the case that the judge gagged the paddleboarders over their protestations and forced them to apologize. They volunteered for this.

But of course, the paddleboarders "volunteered" to apologize and keep silent only after having been charged in federal court, so it's fair to question how much freedom they were exercising when they made this choice. Still, I don't doubt the paddleboarders' sincere remorse and their sincere desire to avoid publicizing their trip in a way that might encourage others to undertake similar, illegal trips.

I, too, usually try to acknowledge when I have trespassed inadvertently. See, e.g.:
Jeez, that's quite a record of lawlessness I've amassed over the years!

Alex
 

alexsidles

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In fact [boaters] do need to have a pass, apparently Parks Canada is still in the "educational" phase of implementing this.
We keep whipsawing between the freedom of expression issue and the permit requirements issue, but they're both such interesting issues!

Buried deep in the "Broken Group Islands 2022 Paddler's Preparation Guide" is this tidbit:

Anyone mooring overnight in the BGI (in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve waters) requires a valid National Park Entry Pass.​
Boating day users also require a valid National Park Entry Pass when in the marine waters of Pacific Rim NPR.​

So I think this answers my earlier question to Parks Canada about whether kayakers transiting the marine zone of the West Coast Trail Unit need a permit. They do need a permit, because the permit requirement applies to "the marine waters of Pacific Rim NPR," not just the marine waters of the Broken Group.

However, I still want answers from Parks Canada about how far offshore of the West Coast Trail Unit the marine zone extends, and whether the marine zone extends offshore of Indian Reserves within the West Coast Trail Unit. If the latter, then even landing at the Carmanah 6 Indian Reserve (erstwhile site of Chez Monique's) would still require a permit from Parks Canada.

As for why Parks Canada buried the permit requirement for all boaters deep within the guide for paddlers, who knows? I note that the other Broken Group guide on the park website, the "Broken Group Islands Boater's Guide," does not mention the permit requirement anywhere. How are sailboaters and powerboaters supposed to know that they need to check the guide for paddlers to find permitting requirements that apply to sailboaters and powerboaters?

And, of course, the two guides for the West Coast Trail Unit do not mention the requirement to obtain a permit to transit the marine zone of the West Coast Trail Unit, even though, as the Broken Group Islands 2022 Paddler's Guide clearly states, that requirement applies to the marine zone throughout the park, not just in the Broken Group. How is a West Coast Trail Unit paddler supposed to know to check the guide for the Broken Group to find permitting requirements for the West Coast Trail Unit?

An extremely detail-oriented reader might be able to infer the marine zone permitting requirement within the West Coast Trail Unit by combining the statement in the "West Coast Trail 2022 Hiker Preparation Guide" that "All visitors to Pacific Rim NPR are required to have a valid National Park Entry Pass at all times" with the depiction in the map of the West Coast Trail Unit that shows a marine zone offshore of the West Coast Trail Unit. Putting the two together, the savvy reader might be able to figure out that he or she needs a permit to transit the marine zone. That is asking a lot of Parks Canada's readership, in my opinion. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but my god...

Alex
 

mick_allen

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Well along with the asymmetry with the trucker's stay in regulated zones, you've now raised the issue of the asymmetrical application of the restrictions to sail and power boater's stay in this regulated water zone. ie we have the 2 issues you mention above plus fairly significant asymmetrical rule enforcement.

So why are just paddler's getting sanctioned?
 

SalishSeaNior

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Alex started this, especially the editorializing, and so I have decided to continue, because this forum seems to have a lot of members who like to think and to consider big picture issues and ideas. Feel free to editorialize back as you feel the need.

Democracy is messy, law and law enforcement is complex, and we all have opinions about what is fair and what is not. We also each have "our own world view", informed by the folk we identify with, our life experiences and what we have been taught by the society we live in. For the most part, it is a struggle to have an open mind and to consider others points of view or the bigger picture. our instincts tell us to conform. We are constantly under pressure to conform, to state opinions that comply with those of close contacts, and to be part of a group. That is the legacy of instinctive behaviour for our species. But, we are better than that, we have the ability to reason, to open our minds to other ideas, and to consider opposing views, context and nuance. In effect, we have the right of choice as intelligent humans. We can choose to go with the social pressures of our peers or societies, or we can choose to be open minded and to weigh evidence and facts that are both verifiable and reasonable.

There are more than triple the number of Homo sapiens on the planet Earth than when I was born 70 years ago, almost 5 times more in British Columbia and more than double what there were when I was a young adventurer in the 70' and 80's. In addition, in the 70's you probably had to build a kayak in order to paddle it. There was no GPS available, no cell phone and no easy call for assistance if you screwed up. You got yourself in and you got yourself out, that was the reality at the time. Desolation Sound was still Desolation Sound, because you needed seafaring skills and navigation skills to explore and to survive. Admittedly it was a whole lot tamer than for the first nations peoples, or even the explorers Cayetano Valdés y Flores Bazán, or George Vancouver prior to colonization. In the modern era, you can use GPS navigation, satellite positioning systems, depth sounders, charts and cell phones to keep in touch with the civilization your are ostensibly trying to escape. You can flip your boat in heavy seas, get out and call for the Coast Guard or local rescue on a radio or a cell phone. The history tells us that first nations folk used to stop at dangerous places such as exposed points and tidal rapids to seek help from gods, spirits, or ancestors to help them transit dangerous places. I still often do that by the way.

With more people, come more ideologies, more world views and more opinions. Many which vary from, or even contradict my own. Thus, even in the remote parts of the northwest coast, you are unlikely to go for long without encountering "others", "strangers". The foundation of our Canadian democracy is peace, order, good government and the rule of law. As per the sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that I posted earlier, we all have the right to freedom of expression, dissent and even ranting and raving about unequal justice, government, and laws we do not like. For 35 years, I was paid to deal with that type of freedom.

Is that a rant? Perhaps, but it is also truth in my considered opinion. This means there are far more people, and far more people who feel safe, or at least "rescuable" when going places that used to be off limits for neophytes. There are consequently more societal rules and laws with respect to the places we all treasure and now, under permits, compete to use. Without national, provincial, regional and state parks, much of the waterfront we can still access would be private and off limits. Do government agencies and authorities screw up and make bad decisions, you bet. But as said above law enforcement and law are messy. So continue to question, continue to ask for explanation, but also continue to understand that with more than 7.5 billion humans on the planet, we are doing fairly well compared to even a century ago.

What I know from my law enforcement experience is this: We do not have the right to pick and choose which laws we obey and which we choose to ignore. We also have a right to appeal decisions we do not agree with to the Provincial Court of Appeal and with leave to the Federal Court of Appeal. In Canada and in British Columbia, the legal system is almost wholly independent of politics. Judges are appointed in accordance with laws, that are at arms length from the politicians, both provincially and federally. If we do not like the current laws, we can choose to vote for "politicians" who have a "political ideology" closer to our own, and who can perhaps change the laws we disagree with. That is providing that they are "legal" and in accord with the Constitution Act of 1867 and to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1982, which are the fundamental and overriding laws of Canada.

As a species we are intelligent, imaginative, but also very adept at the denial of reality, or twisting information to suit our personal ideologies and opinions. I just try to comply with the laws, as is my responsibility as a citizen in a "very free and democratic society", Canada. I do not get to pick and choose which laws I like and which ones I don't; period, full stop. I can disagree with judges and with legal things I find to be perplexing, but overall, this is a "very good country", an egalitarian system, and one that I am happy that I am lucky enough to live in.

I am especially t happy to still be able to get out and paddle my boats and spend time in nature and in areas where I can get away from all of the political and social pressures that modern life; and especially cyber/social media life now imposes on us every single waking moment of our lives. I love the time that I can spend "IT" free on the remote shores of British Columbia, where life is much, though more comfortably, as it was before the coming of the modern era. It is truly Zen to paddle alone or with a like minded few in tune with the natural world and the creatures that inhabit it. life is short, live it, love it, no one gets out alive.

Cheers, Rick
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Law, Order, Emergencies and Enforcement: Who Matters?
Indigenous people watch the trucker standoff and see a stark double standard.
Indigenous 'protests' have blocked roads and rail lines with impunity in the past, the same as these so-called 'Truckers' were doing.
People have short memories, and the politicians (and police?) depend on that.
Changes are afoot, for sure - shoplifters don't even bother with the baggy overcoats and hidden pockets any more, they just brazenly walk out of the store with what they want. The 2022 reaction: "Oh, whatever."
 

kayakwriter

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Messages
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Buried deep in the "Broken Group Islands 2022 Paddler's Preparation Guide" is this tidbit:

Anyone mooring overnight in the BGI (in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve waters) requires a valid National Park Entry Pass.​
Boating day users also require a valid National Park Entry Pass when in the marine waters of Pacific Rim NPR.​

So I think this answers my earlier question to Parks Canada about whether kayakers transiting the marine zone of the West Coast Trail Unit need a permit. They do need a permit, because the permit requirement applies to "the marine waters of Pacific Rim NPR," not just the marine waters of the Broken Group.

However, I still want answers from Parks Canada about how far offshore of the West Coast Trail Unit the marine zone extends, and whether the marine zone extends offshore of Indian Reserves within the West Coast Trail Unit. If the latter, then even landing at the Carmanah 6 Indian Reserve (erstwhile site of Chez Monique's) would still require a permit from Parks Canada.

As for why Parks Canada buried the permit requirement for all boaters deep within the guide for paddlers, who knows? I note that the other Broken Group guide on the park website, the "Broken Group Islands Boater's Guide," does not mention the permit requirement anywhere. How are sailboaters and powerboaters supposed to know that they need to check the guide for paddlers to find permitting requirements that apply to sailboaters and powerboaters? SNIP Alex
So since other restricted waters such as ports, large vessel traffic lanes and military exercise areas are generally shown on charts, I wonder if a sailboater/powerboater could successfully plead they had no notice if this restriction wasn't noted either on the most recent charts or in notmar?
 
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alexsidles

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Seattle WA
I've been torturing the Pacific Rim Nat'l Park Reserve visitor experience manager with emails regarding the kayak closure. He has been very patient in his responses.

I. Park Canada's explanation of the permitting rules for kayakers.

Hi Alex Sidles,

We received your email regarding sea kayaking access to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (Pacific Rim NPR), and wanted to respond to the questions you raised to clarify the guidelines and regulations.

Firstly, the incident cited in the Times Colonist article, “Six Friends Fined Thousands of Dollars for Illegally Camping on West Coast Trail,” was an unusual one. Unfortunately, the group chose to visit the area—knowing that it was closed to the public—which showed disregard for the remote Indigenous communities who are vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parks Canada cooperatively manages Pacific Rim National Park Reserve with these First Nations communities who have ḥaḥuułi (traditional territories) there, and we expect that visitors to the region observe the Nuu-chah-nulth principles of Iisaak (respect), Hishukish Ts’awalk (everything is one) and Uu-a-thluk (taking care of) during their visits.

The West Coast Trail unit of Pacific Rim NPR is a beautiful place and visiting it by land or sea is a spectacular experience. Keep in mind that Parks Canada limits visitation to the area because we have a responsibility to protect the natural and cultural integrity of the landscape and to maintain the visitor experience. All visitors are required to attend a West Coast Trail orientation to allow them to recreate here safely. When visitors come without attending an orientation, their lack of understanding of the place—both culturally and in terms of safety— can introduce issues and extra pressure on the area.

If you do intend to pass through the marine waters of Pacific Rim NPR, here are the things you need to know and do to prepare:
  • Parks Canada prohibits paddlers from landing on the West Coast Trail from October 7 to April 30 annually.
  • Paddlers transiting through the marine waters of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve for the sole purpose of transiting directly to an area outside of it, do not require a permit if they are not stopping, but as you noted, this is not a likely scenario due to the distance and conditions you will encounter.
  • The boundaries of Pacific Rim NPR extend out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the 20 metre isobaths, including the beaches surrounding of Indian Reserve lands and Treaty Settlement lands.
  • To stop in the marine waters of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve or land their kayaks onshore, a number of permits and conditions must be met:
    • Obtain a valid National Park Entry pass (for Pacific Rim NPR or the Parks Canada Discovery Pass). You can obtain these passes here.
    • Contact a WCT Orientation Centre in advance to help trip plan and ensure you are aware of all the requirements.
    • Attend a West Coast Trail orientation. To arrange your orientation, contact us at 250-647-5434.
    • For daytime stops, you must also have a valid West Coast Trail day use permit, which you can obtain from the West Coast Trail orientation.
    • For overnight stops, you must have a West Coast Trail overnight use permit. For overnight stays at Keeha Beach, a Keeha Beach backcountry camping permit. Overnight reservations must be made in advance through the Parks Canada Reservation Service.
Thank you for taking the time to inquire about the steps needed to plan a kayaking visit to Pacific Rim NPR. For more information on trip planning, visit our website at: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/pacificrim.​

II. A request for clarification.

I was buoyed by Parks' response. It seemed Parks was telling me that kayakers are allowed in the West Coast Trail Unit again, provided they obtain the required permits!

The permitting process did not sound like very much fun: a mandatory reservation with specific dates, plus a mandatory orientation session, plus an entry pass, plus an overnight permit, plus a separate overnight permit for Keeha Beach, plus fees for all of this (including a separate fee just for making the reservation). It wouldn't be easy to coordinate all this for a kayaker. Unlike hikers, kayakers aren't always in control of their start and stop dates due to weather. Kayakers can't make reservations with that level of precision months in advance. And how would a kayaker, entering the park by kayak, manage to attend an orientation session? There isn't even an orientation center on the Bamfield side! Still, even an arduous permitting process is a lot better than a complete closure. I don't welcome multiple layers of governmental review of my kayaking, but at least there seemed to be a way forward.

Yet I remained troubled by the statement on the park's website that says, "Motorized and non-motorized vessels, including kayaks, are not permitted to land anywhere within the West Coast Trail Unit." So I pointed out that statement to the visitor experience manager, and I asked:

Just so I’m clear: Kayaks can land in the West Coast Trail Unit during [the operating season], so long as they have obtained the necessary permits, correct?​

Alas, Parks replied:

Kayakers landing on the West Coast Trail is a restricted activity that is only allowed under certain conditions [and he referenced the permitting requirements discussed above].​
The section on the website that you are referring to is listed under the “COVID-19 impacts” and were the regulations as of September 2021. PRNPR will be cooperatively meeting with First Nations over the upcoming months to discuss removing/reducing some of these COVID-19 regulations for the upcoming 2022 operating season, but at this time nothing has been 100% confirmed.​
Thank you​

This was discouraging. It turns out kayakers still aren't allowed after all! So I asked a follow-up question:

[T]he West Coast Trail was closed to both hikers and kayakers in 2020 as a COVID-19 impacts measure. The West Coast Trail reopened to hikers in 2021, but did not reopen to kayakers, and still remains closed to kayakers. I hope the West Coast Trail will open to kayakers in 2022, as you suggest it might, because I do not understand why kayakers on the trail would pose more of a COVID risk than hikers on the trail. Can you explain the rationale for excluding kayakers but not excluding hikers?​

Parks replied with a non-answer:

Hi Alex,​
In 2021, due to the fluid and unknown impacts of COVID-19 and changing federal, provincial and regional guidelines and regulations, PRNPR and First Nations cooperatively made the decision to open up the WCT to hikers only. Overnight camping at Keeha Beach, access to the Nitinaht Triangle and marine access to land on the WCT remained closed to visitors.​
As mentioned, we will be discussing moving back to hopefully more “normal” operations for 2022 but nothing yet has been confirmed.​
Thank you​

This non-answer repeats the content of the rule (no kayakers) and identifies the rule-makers (Parks and First Nations), but it does not answer my question, which was the rationale for the rule (why hikers but no kayakers). I asked a second follow-up question, emphasizing that I wanted to know not just the content of the rule but the rationale behind the rule. Why, as a COVID measure, are kayakers excluded but hikers allowed?

Parks has not responded to this latest follow-up question. I sense I may be exhausting the patience of the visitor experience manager. Still, I am reluctant to let this point go, because it speaks to something I mentioned earlier in the thread: Parks Canada has a reputation, especially along the West Coast Trail, of using false rationales to justify its regulations. Whether this reputation is deserved, I cannot say. But it makes me suspicious to learn that kayakers and hikers were both banned due to the coronavirus, but now only kayakers remain banned. If there is some coronavirus-related reason why kayakers but not hikers are banned, I'd love to hear it. If, as I suspect, Parks Canada has some other, non-coronavirus reason why kayakers are banned, I'd love to hear that reason, too. These decisions, whether right or wrong, ought to be made in the open, not behind closed doors, and not under false pretenses.

III. Where things stand.

So! Freedom of expression remains alive and well in Canada, because it is the criminal defendants themselves who propose restraints on their own expression!

And, in more good news, there is a permitting process that will allow kayakers to visit the West Coast Trail! All they have to do is plan their trips with day-to-day precision months in advance, obtain one of the limited numbers of permits before the hikers gobble them up, attend an orientation that occurs only at one end of the park, and pay hundreds of dollars in permit and reservation fees! Oh, and none of this is available right now! It might be available this summer! Who knows—that coronavirus sure is tricky!

Thanks for staying with me, folks. It's been a long thread! But there are important issues here, and I've appreciated everyone's contributions. I'll try to let it rest now, unless Parks Canada says something noteworthy in response to my last question about the rationale for the kayak closure.

Alex
 
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nootka

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Campbell River
The non answer IS an answer - it tells you that the reason must remain hidden from the public.
And if we assume that the reason is financial (what else?) then it is obvious - the cost to check kayakers for permits would exceed the income from those permits.

IMHO the best path is to quit pestering Parks, assume that they do not patrol the ocean, kayak the WCT only during VI circumnavigations (who else would bother - it's not a pleasant stretch), do not camp in hiker sites, and maintain a very low profile so nobody complains.
 

nootka

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I've already kayaked that stretch of Van Isle, so no apology is forthcoming from me.
As far as I am concerned, Park's (unwritten) management plan for kayakers is to ignore them if they are not obvious.
 

Gary Jacek

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“All excellent points”

This is what a former manager would reply when I put a spotlight on some convoluted policy or process.
His shorthand for “nothing can/will change due to budget/union rules/corporate inertia.”
 
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nootka

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A number of years ago I read an article in the Calgary Herald about a young woman who saw a dog hit by a car in the wee hours of the morning. She put the dog in her car and drove to the nearest 24 hour vet clinic. She stopped at several red lights, saw that there was no traffic, and ran the light. Part way to the clinic she was stopped by the police who detained her for quite some time as they gave her a ticket for the various traffic "offenses". When it came to court, the judge threw out the case, stating that this good samaritan would likely hate the police for the rest of her life, and in his opinion, the police should have escorted her to the vet clinic with lights flashing.

If you want law abiding people to become outlaws, make stupid laws.
 
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cougarmeat

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Bend OR USA
My only guess on kayaker vs hiker is they ASSUME the hiker may just visit - hike in, hike out - while a kayaker may be more likely to camp overnight. But another valid assumption is they just forgot about kayakers during the discussion.

It's the world today. In my youthful era, you were concerned with skill and gear, and weather. Now it's all about permits. It's a logistical nightmare for anyone traveling long distances (and across borders) to the launch point. On my last solo climb - Mt. Adams, Washington - the main concern was getting to the ranger station before they closed so I could obtain the required permit - because if I missed that window, they were closed for the weekend (great time to be closed) and I had to return to work on Monday.

I wouldn't mind - okay, mind a little - those parking fees at launch places if there was some way to make it variable. Because, as Alex noted, on the water we cannot just "hike out" in a storm. Interesting that they've never developed a refund system if you come back earlier than the number of days you paid for.

There is so much "theater" by people who just need to justify their position. Look at our TSA - in the beginning, they were taking away fingernail files and clippers and after you passed through their gate, you could buy nail files and clippers in the gift shop. On my last flight, the person next to me was using foot-long pointed knitting needles. I didn't ask if they were titanium. There are many examples with IT security. At one workplace, management required more difficult - for a person, not a brute force computer - passwords so everyone stuck a PostIt note with their new difficult password on their monitor. The problem is, all this theater takes time and resources away from effective solutions.
 
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Gary Jacek

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Ahhh…working in IT.
Each of your 27 customers has different rules for valid passwords…upper/lower case, digits, special characters, cannot contain part of your username. Maximum and minimum length.
Passwords must be changed every 30 40 90…days. You may or may not reuse passwords based upon time and/or a counter.
Never use the same password across different customers.
Customers may have more than one password repository. With different rules or some weird lockstep dependency that compromises the more secure system.

Forgotten password resets are a gaping social engineering opportunity.

The forced password change is one of those corporate inertia things that makes zero sense.
Choose complex passwords once. And protect them.

And we’re way off topic now.
 
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