The booking system has worked on the West Coast Trail to limit the numbers. I went a couple years ago and didn't encounter the huge tent cities that once was the norm.Dan_Millsip said: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...
Frontenac Park (near Kingston) has a booking system for its extensive canoe network. Disadvantage is there is no flexibility ... you have to move if you didn't book the site ... and its user pay. Advantage are no campsites overflowing with campers and the fees go to maintaining the sites to a high level. I guess its needed; Frontenac is halfway between Toronto and Montreal, without a booking system it would be anarchy.
There is discussion of converting a disused Ranger cabin in Strathcona Park to public hut under management by Alpine Club. One concern is that the bookings get dominated by commercial outfitters. So thats a problem ... how do you ensure the public gets at least reasonably fair access to public facilities in public parks?
And, once its implemented in Gulf Islands it'll be like backcountry user fees and invasive species (think snakeheads) ... it'll be everywhere thats popular for paddling and there will be a lot more regulation of where you can camp, not just in the Gulf Islands.
How do I feel about it? Very unhappy even if its probably necessary ... it all used to be free and accessible. Now that's disappearing fast. Can you imagine having to reserve a campsite in the wilderness? I guess it isn't wilderness anymore.