Banff Backcountry Camping - Why bother w/ permit? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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Default Banff Backcountry Camping - Why bother w/ permit?

Has anyone been able to get any backcountry permits in the last week or so?

I've called the backcountry reservation number (403-762-1550) over 20 times this week and last week, only to get voice mail every time. I've left two messages and even sent them an email. I haven't heard back.

Their voice mail says that they call back within 72 hours. The first voice mail was last week. The second one is coming up on 72 hours.

Every time I try to follow this process, I feel frustrated. At the same time, I constantly see popular backcountry campsites overflowing, with campers who I'm sure didn't obtain permits. I see meetup outdoor clubs do trip after trip with random backcountry camping and no mention of permits. I've had friends camp on Temple and I see Paul Zizka take pictures from random camping spots that I'm sure Banff would say no to if it was anyone else.

So why bother getting a permit/reservation? Has anyone heard of anybody getting a fine for this?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 09:40 AM
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Ah, I have the same problem and have discovered a solution! Call the Lake Louise backcountry office at 403-522-1264 instead. They answer 3 out of every 4 times I call and always have better answers to my questions. I don't leave messages if they don't answer, but rather just call back in 5 minutes. It's a much more pleasant experience! If they suggest I should have called Banff instead, I let them know the difficulties in doing so and they've always fully understood and booked me in.

I've never seen nor heard of anyone getting a fine for no permit, but I do believe things should be done as legally as possible. I'd rather be the only chump paying in the overflowing campground than the douchebag taking a site from the paying chump.

For random camping, I've heard that if you mention you are scrambling and use the term bivouac instead of camping things go a lot more smoothly.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Matt, last year I got them to give me permits to scramble up Pulsatilla. I told them I would go in and scramble Castle Mountain, drop down behind Stuart Knob and camp there, scramble Pulsatilla, then exit over Protection Mountain. They issued permits for me and my friends. '

The day before our trip, they emailed me and my friends, saying my permits were revoked because we can do Castle Mountain as a day trip. They said not to try it because the warden would be looking for our plates.

I called them back and explained AGAIN in detail what we were hoping to do. I got them to apologize and reissue the permits, but by then, my friends had gotten frustrated and decided on another objective.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 10:07 AM
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I left a message more than a week ago now and haven't heard back.
If you're going to a campground that is going to fill up, call Lake Louise and pay.
I too have had little trouble talking with Lake Louise recently.
If you're going to be off random camping, or in a remote area in general, given the complete lack of money put to those areas, I'm starting to see a good argument for skipping the pass.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Marko

Matt, last year I got them to give me permits to scramble up Pulsatilla. I told them I would go in and scramble Castle Mountain, drop down behind Stuart Knob and camp there, scramble Pulsatilla, then exit over Protection Mountain. They issued permits for me and my friends. '

The day before our trip, they emailed me and my friends, saying my permits were revoked because we can do Castle Mountain as a day trip. They said not to try it because the warden would be looking for our plates.

I called them back and explained AGAIN in detail what we were hoping to do. I got them to apologize and reissue the permits, but by then, my friends had gotten frustrated and decided on another objective.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Matt, called the number you suggested, got through right away. It's all booked up. What a piss off. Sigh.

Good to know for next time I guess.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 09:21 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Just saw this post and wanted to say that I've been feeling equally frustrated when trying to make backcountry reservations by calling 403-762-1550. I had left about 4 messages over the coyurse of a week and none were returned. Two friends also tried for the same trip and same thing. In the end we, too, managed to book through Lake Louise, but by that time had to change our trip dates (after we couldn't get ahold of anyone at Banff for two weeks).

Does anyone know if Parks Canada has any regulations about vehicles left in trailhead parking lots overnight? Who's to say you couldn't just get a hike in from 9pm to 3am ... watch the stars, you know :-).
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 11:31 PM
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My completely uneducated guess is that if they leave work in the evening and your car is there, and come back the next morning and your car is still there, they're going to think something is fishy.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-14-2013, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by BarbaraB

Does anyone know if Parks Canada has any regulations about vehicles left in trailhead parking lots overnight? Who's to say you couldn't just get a hike in from 9pm to 3am ... watch the stars, you know :-).
I don't think they'd care. If they do, you'll usually find a sign which designates the times where parking isn't permitted.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-14-2013, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by BarbaraB

Does anyone know if Parks Canada has any regulations about vehicles left in trailhead parking lots overnight? Who's to say you couldn't just get a hike in from 9pm to 3am ... watch the stars, you know :-).
Suppose I want to photograph stars at night and stay awake all night in the back country taking pictures?

Will Parks Canada prosecute me for that? Doubtful. Are there regulations that say that you can't be on a trail at any hour of the day or night?
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