Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Beware of these dastardly denizens while camping in provincial parks

The sounds of nature and the outdoors are unmatched in their beauty – and they also cannot compete against the raucous sounds of man-made noise.
Earlier this summer, I spent two days camping in nearby Golden Ears Provincial Park, just about an hour’s drive east from Vancouver.

Let me say we’re very fortunate to have such a beautiful park, such natural beauty and wilderness so close to one of Canada’s largest three cities. I thoroughly enjoyed hiking on its trails, canoeing on Alouette Lake, just getting out-of-doors, away from the city.
Let's go camping! Just watch out for weird species...

Unfortunately, some people cannot bear to leave the city behind. And some choose to ignore rules that are implemented for everyone’s safety and comfort.

Rather than rail against humanity in general, I thought it would be interesting to identify the types of odd and often contrary beings one sees when visiting provincial parks like Golden Ears.

If you see any of these weird and inconsiderate species, avoid them if at all possible (and if possible, report them to a park ranger).

Caninus releasus. These creatures let their dogs run loose, off-leash, without any care for the rules. In just about every national and provincial park, dogs are supposed to be leashed. This is for the protection of the park, and the creatures that live there. It’s also for protection of dogs and their people. Dogs can hurt the smaller animals like birds and small mammals that live in the park. And if they happen to disturb a bear, it could cause dire consequences for the dog, even for the human, and unfortunately, often the ultimate demise of the bear. 

Although It’s very clearly spelled out on signs, online, and in park literature, when I was hiking on two different trails and even in the campsite areas, there were far more dogs off-leash than on. Too many of these C. releasus types think they have control of their dog with their voices – but they don’t!! It may only take a second or two for disaster to occur, before a dog responds to its owner’s voice (and often they are out of sight on a trail). I for one, don’t feel comfortable walking on a trail where a big Rottweiler or similar dog is running free.

Cyclistes ignoramusi. Like the C. releasus creatures, these types feel free to ignore signs that say “NO CYCLING ON THIS TRAIL.” There are specific trails for cyclists in the park, yet members of this particular specie choose to blatantly ignore such postings and cycle merrily down the path that is obviously NOT supposed to be used for cycling. Wonder how they’d feel if I rode a motorcycle down their city cycling paths?

These are the ONLY kinds of dogs that should be off-leash in a provincial park.

Flamus controllus. With all the dry weather and recent fires in B.C., not just this summer, but in past summers, you’d think people would be a little careful about campfires – particularly when there is a ban on in the park. Yet while hiking on one of the trails, I smelled wood smoke from a fire burning somewhere nearby, which tells me a member of the F. controllus species was in the area. 

A sub-species of this animal is F. controllus gassy-goofus; this sub-species brings portable gas-powered “fireplaces” to the great north woods to enjoy its cozy glow at night – which is allowed. However, they turn it up higher than allowed by park rules, turning it down low when they know a ranger is patrolling the area, then turning it back up when the coast is clear.

Loudus inconsideratus. This species demonstrates a variety of behaviours, but they’re all consistent in two respects: they are loud and they don’t care if they bother others in surrounding campsites. Sometimes it’s a loud radio (why go to the woods to escape the city – then blare your music?), other times its loud talking well after midnight, sometimes it’s just banging around, doing stuff that makes noise louder than necessary that prevents others from sleeping or just enjoying the quiet of the outdoors.

Pinheaded powerboatians. These are the types that zoom up and down a lake in their powerboats, creating wakes with no regard for people in canoes or kayaks and the potential danger created by the unstable movement of their craft due to the unexpected waves from the motorboats. Their motors also sound annoying.

Despite signs indicating "No cycling,"
we encountered cyclists on this trail.
Clueless camerus shutterbuggus. You’re trying to line up a shot of a rare animal or bird, you patiently, quietly, and slowly approach it, trying to get the best angle and not frighten it away, sitting, waiting for that perfect moment when you can press the shutter to capture an image … then this species – hailing from the city and with no clue as to how to approach wildlife – stomps right over toward the subject on a direct line, and invariably in front of your camera trying to get a shot, scaring the critter away before you can get your shot. 

They’re characterized by their use of a camera phone or cheap point-and-shoot and loud, colourful clothing that brands them as being from the city as well as brand new to any kind of nature photography. 

They are often also accompanied by one or more Screaming spoiledrottenoids, smaller versions of themselves who also do everything they can to ruin the shot and the moment.

REMEMBER: If you do see any of these weird species, try your best not to shoot them, stab them, or otherwise kill them, because unfortunately, they are never in season.

Although it sure would be nice if they did declare even one weekend to be open-season on any of these annoying animals…