Yukon News

Yukon government considers cracking down on campsite ‘holds’

Ashley Joannou Monday May 15, 2017

Ian Stewart/Yukon News

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The Yukon government has released a questionnaire asking if Yukoners support reducing the length of time a government campsite can be 'held.'

The Yukon government is considering stepping in to stop campers from laying claim to campsites days before they actually intend to stay there.

Proposed rule changes would reduce the amount of time someone could leave their belongings unattended on a Yukon government campsite to 24 hours. That’s down from the current 72 hours.

“This change would still allow campers to do activities (like fishing or hiking) away from their campsite for as long as 24 hours,” reads a questionnaire on Environment Yukon’s website.

“However, people could no longer ‘hold’ campsites for three days without being there (for example, leaving a RV at a campsite on a Tuesday to hold the site for arrival on Friday).”

The government is also considering upping the fine for leaving belongings unattended for too long. Currently that can cost campers $50.

While most campers are respectful, it can be frustrating when campsites that have been claimed sit unused, said Dan Paleczny, Environment Yukon’s director of parks.

“Where people get really annoyed is where they may have seen that being held, (so) they go and find another campsite,” he said. “But they see that the person it’s being held for doesn’t actually show up.”

Paleczny said the department fines roughly five people per year for leaving their belongings unattended for more than the current 72-hour limit.

Staff try other methods, like written or verbal warnings, first, he said.

He acknowledged that $50 is not much of a deterrent.

“That’s part of the reason we’re asking in this proposed change for our campers to tell us what would be an effective deterrent? How much money?”

The proposed changes come after a 2016 campground survey.

Approximately 84 per cent of more than 1,500 people surveyed said the territory’s campgrounds met their expectations always or most of the time.

Around a quarter rated their ability to find a suitable campsite as either poor or very poor.

One recommendation from the survey was to have more control or enforcement of the informal reservation system.

Other suggestions included a formal booking system, or real time status updates on the availability of campsites.

Those ideas are not being considered at the moment, Paleczny said.

Environment Yukon has updated its camping webpage to include information on when campgrounds are often particularly busy, based on historical data.

The department has also released a 50-page booklet detailing all of the territory’s campgrounds so campers can try out less well known locations.

“It’s sometimes surprising that people don’t realize we have 42 campgrounds and more than 1,000 campsites,” Paleczny said.

The most popular campgrounds are within two hours of Whitehorse but the odds of finding a site increase if you go a little further out, he said.

No new campsites are in the works for this summer, he said. Instead the government will be spending its energy on improving camping infrastructure like roads and docks.

The department is also making Marsh Lake and Wolf Creek campgrounds more accessible.

The second survey is online at: https://survey.gov.yk.ca/YG-Campsite-Occupancy-Survey.aspx

The deadline to complete it is July 10.

Contact Ashley Joannou at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

This story was last updated May 17, 2017 at 1:15pm

37 Comments

and the latest trick wrote:
9:56am Saturday May 27, 2017

Came by the Fox Lake campground Friday May 26. The latest trick in campsite “reserves” Put up 2 identical lime green pop-up pup tents in the site, completely empty, no gear, no vehicle…..Why yes of course we are camping there officer, we just live in the basement where nobody can see us.

Mark wrote:
6:15pm Thursday May 25, 2017

I would have no problem whatsoever moving people’s gear out of a spot that I choose if I knew that person was doing this. What is that person gonna do? Really?  Certain items in my camping gear would make it a very short arguement ending with that person abruptly leaving with a scared look on his or her face. I’m a Yukoner…..I come prepared to protect my life and property,so bring it!

time to stop this wrote:
12:56pm Wednesday May 24, 2017

This selfish attitude of entitlement happens because people let it happen.  There will always be people who take advantage of other people’s good nature.

Art is correct.  This will stop when more people refuse to tolerate it by removing chairs and ropes at unattended campsites and leaving them stacked by the refuse containers.  These selfish people can also be discouraged by letting the air out of all the tires tires on unattended camper vehicles and trailers by removing the valve core and chucking it into the bush.

If the government won’t take responsibility for policing our campgrounds, then members of the public will.

Art wrote:
5:06pm Tuesday May 23, 2017

The yearly fee needs to be eliminated and camp sites need to be rented by the day, with maximums stay limits and rules that prohibit or curb people from leaving either RVs or or chairs and ropes, which I’ve ignored and simply cut and put there chair in the trash. ” what chair, the spot was open wink. Reservations are only for the weekends. Campers during the week drive in and pay per day, every day, no upfront payments, that way week day campers have to be at the camp ground, not at home until the weekend. Have different rates for RV’s, and campers, different rate for car/ tent and tent only camping. Not all spots are open to RV’s , cars or Tents. Giving more opertunities at say the water front. Or remove vehicle camping spots at water front and use for public use only, day use, no camping. Obviously each campground would need different solutions.
But either way the current system is archaic and needs to be changed by addition of a full time caretaker to manage the campground and collect DAILY campground use fees.
As for tour companies renting blocks of sites only to re-sell them is ridiculous no one should be permitted to run any business out of a government campground.
What would you pay for a campsite per day?

Doug Rutherford wrote:
3:37pm Tuesday May 23, 2017

I spend a lot of time camping in Yukon campgrounds during the summer. I’m rather lucky in the fact that I get a good amount of vacation time and can only take vacation between May and the end of August. And, when the weather is nice, I may go out to Kusawa or Fox Lake for the week and commute into town for work.
The issue to me isn’t that the permit system is wrong. My complaint is that since so many people park their campers early, it’s often the only way to get a campsite in popular locations. I have frequently watched people park their rigs on Sunday afternoon and not come back until the following weekend. I heard one person brag that he got a long weekend camping spot by parking his camper on a lot 10 days before the weekend.
The high (or low) water mark for us was that we went to Fox on a 5-day trip on Wednesday morning and there was one empty spot left. However, only two of the sites were actually occupied at the time. One line of 4 contiguous sites had 4 of the same matching chair parked on them and a rope across the front of the four sites.
Yes, more campground officers to enforce the rules is necessary, but not so much as the political will to allow them to do so. The authority to call a tow truck and haul someone’s trailer or RV off the site has to be part and parcel with the nice words about how YG is going to “crack down” on site hogs.

Art wrote:
11:29am Tuesday May 23, 2017

If you have park staff present at campgrounds, they would be charging per day not per season. This “Season” model opens the door for unattended RV’s etc, if you have to pay everyday your taking that spot, well your entitled to it. There can also be certain restrictions on length of stay. Tent only areas, RV only areas etc, but someone has to be present and working at these campgrounds so others are not taking advantage of it. Also an on line reservation system that shows available spots and will also keep first come first serve spots available. These models work everywhere else, let’s not reinvent the wheel, look at other existing successful grounds and use their templates and adjust.

Alternatives wrote:
8:47pm Monday May 22, 2017

You can always camp at Walmart…

Randon Ware wrote:
10:19am Monday May 22, 2017

Went out for May long this year to Pine Lake cause Fox Lake was full on Wednesday, Kusawa was pretty well full Thursday so I did not want to risk the 30 min drive down the cow path to find no spot so I elected for Pine. While sitting around a full campground I thought of some ideas. The $50 pass should be set for a limited amount of days at Fox, Kusawa, Twin, Lake Lebarge, Marsh and Wold Creek, once you expend those days you are now on the hook for per night camping. There should be no 72, 48, 24 hour rule, first come first served period. Maybe have camp attendants in the a/n campgrounds to ensure compliance. Also YG need to get creative with some campgrounds south of marsh lake, Squanga, Tarfu, Snafu are not that great, Teslin is not much better, how about striking up a conversation with BC and developing Morley Lake day use area, we share those waters for fishing anyway.

Fits Fury wrote:
12:17am Monday May 22, 2017

Don’t leave out Fraserway.. They have built a lucrative business model off Yg cheapcampgrounds..  they rent campers and fill up the campgrounds..  Tourist using them is great.. But this is exploitation..

Can pre van wrote:
1:20pm Sunday May 21, 2017

I am disturbed by these calls for more policing and fees and general development of the camping experience. I am all for more spots but this whole leading idea of “cracking down” bothers me (to be fair, they were only suggesting reducing away time to 24 hrs).  The point of camping is to get away from all that those authoritarian rules, hyper development and nosy neibours.  If these spots are not unoccupied on weekends when other people want them then it is really not the biggest problem on the government’s plate.  As for during the week, if I had a choice between camping beside a spot with an unoccupied trailer and one with a noisy family and a barking dog, I’d choose the former.  You want some hall monitors to police how long a spot has been “unattended”? How are they even going to be able to prove you didn’t come back for a few hours to attend it? Or that you didn’t get some other camper to attend the spot? As for the cheap permit, there have been years I’ve bought a pass and never used it.  It didn’t cost much so it wasn’t a big loss. If it had cost $100 I’d probably have made sure to get what I felt I was owed, putting more pressure on available camping spots.  I’d rather worry about government mismanagement of large sums of money than fret about a few selfish individuals exploiting cheap camping.

Art wrote:
11:57pm Friday May 19, 2017

$50.00 !! For an entire season!!! You have to be kidding, it should be $20-$40 a spot / weekend. You pay for play. But the grounds have to be staffed during the camping season.

Can Pre Van wrote:
6:26pm Friday May 19, 2017

I don’t want to see the price of the annual camping pass go up, but it would be alright to limit usage of it in popular areas - 4 days rather than two weeks?  Also, if we had more campgrounds closer to town the cost of campground attendants could be absorbed by other daily fees.  If Yukoners want to use overnight campgrounds rather than parks or day use areas, then that is something we should have more of.  People want to go camping, build more campgrounds in the areas where there is a demand.  Government should make its policies based on how people use facilities, not based on how some people think they ought to use the facilities or services.

Yukonmax wrote:
1:36pm Friday May 19, 2017

Just come up the Campbell region. Johnson Lake Campground (Faro) has the lowest occupancy in the Territory. Never anyone there.

Seasons Pass wrote:
1:22pm Friday May 19, 2017

Just restrict the $50 Yukoner season’s pass to only be usable at campgrounds outside of 2 hours from Whitehorse.  All campgrounds within a 2 hour radius, you have to pay full price every night.  Want to use your $50 season’s pass?  Drive further to the less busy spots.

Hugh Mungus wrote:
3:45pm Thursday May 18, 2017

Art is right.  Have a gate house at the popular sites: Marsh, Twin, Fox, Wolf Creek, Kusawa.  This seasonal staff could collect fees, evict squatters, fill the wood bins, maintain outhouse, shut down parties etc.

I’m not opposed to raising daily fees either a $50 annual pass is a joke, you could burn that much wood in one weekend alone.

Groucho d'North wrote:
9:54am Thursday May 18, 2017

I like the Campground Host program in Alaska, where an approved applicant from locally or afar manages the campground on behalf of the Parks Service. They ensure all this reservation by proxy BS does not happen, the correct fees get paid and the late night parties and other noisy activities are controlled. This is not rocket science, a simple fix is all that’s needed. YG’s Environment Department now has a Parks officer in a clean white truck for looking after this stuff, so what are they doing each day?

Anie wrote:
11:18am Wednesday May 17, 2017

Brian, thank you. Didnt know that. But i wouldn’t drink from any open water anywhere, not evn in Yukon. Yes many will say they’ve done it for years and years with no problem. Lucky them. Get sick just once because something has pooped or died upstream or elsewhere in the lake and you will never forget it. You might not even completely recover for a very long time.

Brian wrote:
7:11am Wednesday May 17, 2017

The Plateau at Conrad campground is the location of the tailings pile when the mine was operating. It’s full of lead and other great stuff. So putting a camp ground on that would not be the best for the health of people. That’s what the well heads are for, to take water samples. Same with the creeks flowing off Montana mountain. Their is Lead and Aresnic in the water. Be aware your in a heavy mineralized area with natural harmful to human toxins. Beautiful spot, drink from the lake.

Art wrote:
7:07am Wednesday May 17, 2017

If these sites are so busy, why are there not parks board staff at the camp grounds 24/7? There should be a office / gatehouse at the enterance, that greets every camper, monitors and collects payments etc.

ziggy wrote:
7:05pm Tuesday May 16, 2017

Its a easy solution to me, If you are not there within 24s I always pick up your tent and just move it somewhere else. I do it all the time, If you dont like it , meh… there is nothing you can do .

Can pre van wrote:
7:05pm Tuesday May 16, 2017

I don’t camp much so I didn’t even know about these goings-on. Kind of makes me want to get in on the reservations game!  But seriously, I can’t imagine the people doing this want to deprive anyone else of using that spot during the week, they just want make sure they have a spot come weekend. How about a system in which you can drive in up to 4 days in advance and sign to reserve a spot? This will give local people a slight advantage for having a spot on the weekend without un-necessarily disadvantaging fee-paying tourists during the week. No telephone or online reservations! If you think locals “reserving” a spot with a lawn chair is bad wait till the kind of reservation bots and Reddit swaps that have taken over BC & popular US parks get in on the action. Some are filled up already.

If you are not there every night wrote:
4:36pm Tuesday May 16, 2017

you get fine of a $100.

Simple terms if you are not wrote:
4:35pm Tuesday May 16, 2017

there by 9 each night you lose your spot.

Nile wrote:
4:13pm Tuesday May 16, 2017

The easiest solution would be to build more campsites. Unfortunately, that would make to much sense for a Liberal government.

Anie wrote:
3:59pm Tuesday May 16, 2017

“Big time camper” you are absolutely right. We desperately need new campsites, and Conrad does not meet the needs of today’s campers at all.  Why did they bypass that lovely plateau to build too small, chock a block campsites near, but completely out of sight of the river?  Was it really onerous for boaters to camp on the plateau?  Everyone at gov Yukon working on campground development should be required to make a trip to Parks Canada’s Kathleen Lake campground in Kluane Park. Our territorial campgrounds are pathetic examples of 1970 camping and no body seems at all interested in improving the situation, just doing surveys that lack genuine questions. The new rule is just so much talk, because we know it will never be enforced.

Just to be clear ... wrote:
8:59am Tuesday May 16, 2017

... this is a problem in rural Yukon, too. Thanks. Carry on.

Ml wrote:
8:32pm Monday May 15, 2017

Campsite rules need to be followed. waterfront sites are taken early and at Foxlake the same persons are there all dummer each year. Make those persons pay for a season pass for that site including seniors. We are honored to be able to have free passes but that does not mean all summer in one site.

patrick wrote:
7:19pm Monday May 15, 2017

It falls under a broken glass policy once you see it’s ok to break the glass then everyone does it and policing it will only have to go as far as the 2 hr drive range as the problem seems to be a Whitehorse problem . Real Yukoners don’t fake camp so to those who do you live here now tow the line

Rock wrote:
6:05pm Monday May 15, 2017

Camping can be defined as actively participating at your site or campground. Parking a car at a site with nobody in it for 24 hrs is not camping likewise bringing your RV out 24 hours before and leaving it there is NOT camping.  First come first serve period. So what if you can’t always camp with your friends…..suck it up buttercups!

jean wrote:
5:38pm Monday May 15, 2017

Some people use the Wolf Creek campground as their ‘summer cottage’, and simply move their camper trailer from site to site every two weeks.  If a campsite is unoccupied for more than 24 hours the belongings left there should be seized and impounded, and held until a $150 fine is paid.  That would put a stop to this selfish entitlement attitude.

big time camper wrote:
5:20pm Monday May 15, 2017

funny how they never took out of the survey is that they need more sites to match the demand for campers. if there was more sites these problems wouldn’t even come up. more campgrounds in the whitehorse area.

Childish wrote:
4:23pm Monday May 15, 2017

This selfish behaviour should be dealt with in the same way as my children. Take away their privileges, suspend them from camping for a month, a season for the second time. Most will just see the remote chance of these tiny fines as a risk worth taking and an easy bill to pay given how cheap Yukon camping is anyway.

YES !!! wrote:
4:05pm Monday May 15, 2017

It is about time !  No reservations period.  First come first served.

Mitch wrote:
3:45pm Monday May 15, 2017

Goes to show tourism is hurting, the goverment can’t handle mining and Yukoners are fed up with paying through the teeth for everyrhing. Summer is a short season and it is hard to get any camping in, don’t make it worse. This is why I dont even use campgrounds anymore I just go out in the wild. YTG are a bunch of broke punk.

About time wrote:
3:32pm Monday May 15, 2017

Happy for this move. Well done, YG.

about time wrote:
3:28pm Monday May 15, 2017

I have been frustrated many times pulling in to a campground during the week and seeing the prime waterfront sites taken by a persons belongings and they only show up on the weekend. A campsite is a privilege, not a right.
Reservation systems are an utter failure in B.C. where tour companies have booked all the sites they can in the hopes of re-selling to their clients. One tour company even has 3 full time staff dedicated to booking campsites!

More bull Sh wrote:
3:08pm Monday May 15, 2017

This is so low it is not even funny. Deal with creating a private sector job climate.

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