View topic - Campers abusing crown land - Kawarthas - Bottle, Kasshabog

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PostPosted: August 29th, 2011, 9:06 am 
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This isn't the Bottle lake on the canoe route in Kawartha Highlands Park, this is east of Hwy 28 and Stoney lake. Still illustrates the benefits of protecting semi-wild areas like Kawartha Highlands and Queen Elizabeth from this kind of overuse. Road access is probably a main reason for the problem.

From three years ago:

Quote:
Ministry won't ban camping on Crown land, despite complaints

By Mark Hoult

Posted 3 years ago

Havelock-Belmont-Methuen - Despite warnings from the Lake Kasshabog Residents Association that confrontations between lake residents and campers on Crown land could “escalate in a dangerous fashion,” the Ministry of Natural Resources says it will follow current provincial policy that allows campers to occupy a Crown land site for up to 21 days before moving at least 100 metres to a new location.

Havelock-Belmont-Methuen Township had asked the ministry to allow the prohibition of camping on two areas of Crown land where a group of campers have caused problems for several years. Council members called in representatives from the MNR last summer to discuss problems caused by campers who were moving trailers onto Crown land, cutting down trees, leaving garbage and even digging pits to use as toilets.

Cottage owners on lakes throughout the township had been complaining for several years about the problems caused by campers. But last summer the discussion focussed on one particular area on Kasshabog Lake. Reeve Ron Gerow said campers moved in outhouses and even makeshift docks and boat houses. Trees were cut down, and land dug up by park trailers, which campers somehow managed to bring in even though the road leading to the site is in very poor condition, he said.

Gerow asked MNR area supervisor Robert Walroth if the ministry could find a way to stop vehicles from getting to a site where serious problems have been identified. “The campers are becoming more obstinate and arrogant and causing social and waste problems,” Gerow said at the time. “We’d like to see an area delineated and made off limits to the public in this particular area, because it is becoming a problem.”

This summer the campers returned to the same area, prompting council to send a letter to the Ministry of Natural Resources describing the problems local residents have had with the campers on Kasshabog Lake. The municipality’s letter was followed up by a letter from the lake association to Minister of Natural Resources David Ramsay, stressing that the ministry “should be aware that the campers have initiated several confrontations” with the residents of Kasshabog Lake. Lake association executive association liaison Les Morris said that during meetings at the MNR office in Bancroft, Walroth “made it clear that he has no intention of closing any of these sites, in spite of council’s requests.”

He said the prime concerns of the 50-year-old association are water quality and protection of the environment. “We feel that a number of campers do not have these interests on their agendas,” Morris said. “Our lake is at capacity as far as residences are concerned, and our official plan controls further development. It is clear that there are no rules to limit the number of campers, which has escalated dramatically in the last five years, and without control will lead to disaster for our lake.”

Morris suggested a number of solutions to the problem, including the closure of the sites for a period of time. He also suggested the sites could be numbered, with permits being issued for their use. Or signs could be posted noting that the area supports only a certain number of campers, he said.

But in a reply to the township’s July 26 letter, Assistant Deputy Minister of the MNR field services division David de Launay said the ministry does not consider restricting camping on specific lakes to be a long-term solution to what he called “perceived problems.”

Restricting camping would simply move the problem to another area and “restrict responsible campers from enjoying crown land,” he said. “The majority of campers are responsible people who spend family vacations enjoying permitted recreational activities on Crown land, while a minority may cause issues by acting irresponsibly,” de Launay added, noting that site visits to Crown land camping areas on Kasshabog and Bottle lakes revealed no garbage or evidence of “excessive cutting of trees.”

He said local ministry staff will continue monitoring the sites and take “appropriate enforcement action where it is warranted.” He also encouraged township representatives to conduct a joint site visit with ministry staff “to identify and further investigate concerns.”

This week Gerow expressed his opinion of the ministry’s stance in no uncertain terms. “I think we need a new minister of natural resources. We’ve met with him three times on this matter and he does not get the issue, he just doesn’t get it. So regardless of what happens in the election, I just hope that whoever forms a government will take a look at this.”


Gerow stressed that the problem with campers is an ongoing issue with the residents of Lake Kasshabog. “It’s a specific area,” he said, stressing that council is not trying to restrict camping on vast tracts of crown land. “We have two basic problem areas in Methuen Township in the area of Kosh Lake. And I just can’t for the life of me understand why it takes so many people with so much time to make a decision like this.”

Gerow said council has met with the MNR, explained the problem and asked the ministry to declare the problem sites no camping areas. “But nobody has the political fortitude to do anything about it,” he charged.

Deputy Reeve Andy Sharpe moved to send a letter to the Kasshabog Lake Residents Association, noting the ministry has denied the municipality’s request to close the sites. “We’ve certainly put in a lot of effort to move forward and help solve some of the issues there,” he said.



http://www.communitypress.ca/ArticleDis ... chive=true

------------


Report from several days ago, with some improvements maybe as a result of enforcement cracking down on offenders.

Quote:
MNR to address residents camping concerns

By Mark Hoult

Posted 4 days ago


Havelock-Belmont-Methuen — Ministry of Natural Resources area representative Bruce Mieghton will meet with residents of Kasshabog Lake to discuss their concerns about campers using nearby crown land.

Residents of both Kasshabog and Bottle lakes in the township have told council members here some campers are building docks, clearing trees and leaving smouldering fires at campsites. During the past four years, campers have moved trailers onto crown land, cut down trees, dug toilet pits, left garbage and even moved in makeshift docks and boat houses.

Reeve Ron Gerow told Mieghton the situation has improved, but there are still concerns.

"We're concerned about the campfires left going," he said. "That's a very serious one, where people leave fairly serious fires going, because we've had some pretty dry weather."

Mieghton said he visited one campsite last year following complaints and received positive response from campers.

"This is not an unusual situation on crown land," he said. "Camping on crown land is a privilege, but there are always some bad actions that concern us, especially anything to do with public safety."

Mieghton said the MNR usually tries to correct the behaviour of campers.

"Just making them move somewhere else doesn't correct their behaviour. But positive reinforcement, usually with the help of signs, helps."

Mieghton said campers on crown land can stay on one site for 20 days. Then they must move at least 100 metres from the site. People can hunt, fish, camp, hike and pick berries on crown land, but they can't erect any kind of permanent structure, Mieghton said.


Coun. Jim Martin said he has received numerous complaints from Bottle Lake.

"They are camping on an island now, and they have docks in the water. And people are calling us and we are getting the heat."

Mieghton stressed complaints from lake residents should be directed to the MNR.

"If you get calls that's my problem and the MNR's problem and we need to hear about it."

Gerow suggested Mieghton meet face-to-face with lake residents who have real concerns to discuss the issues and attempt to find some solutions.


http://www.communitypress.ca/ArticleDis ... ?e=3271562

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PostPosted: August 29th, 2011, 12:31 pm 
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This is mostly funny.

Especially the part about the outhouses. Particularly since they are a perfectly legal thing under the jurisdiction of the MOE and just need to be 50' back from the water (give or take drainage blah blah blah ...).

Oh, I understand why the cottagers are ticked off that the campers are getting to enjoy *their* lake for FREE when the cottagers not only have to pay huge property taxes on inflated market value assessments, probably in exchange for almost 0 services but have also been forced to put in full septic systems and no they can't add an extra 2' to their decks.

The boathouses might actually break the rules on permanent structures. If the docks are post docks or floating docks then they probably don't break the rules and certainly don't require any sort of permit.

Not cleaning up the garbage is just plain rude and there's no excuse for it.
The fires being abandoned (if they really are, you always have to wonder when the 'community association' starts making claims about someone else's behaviour) is also bad.

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PostPosted: August 29th, 2011, 12:53 pm 
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There's tons of illegal stuff that goes on within "crown lands" everywhere.

Road building, excavation, construction of buildings and docks, etc. are all illegal without the proper permits from the MNR. Lots of fines have been handed out, along with orders to restore or rehabilitate.

http://www.ocoa.ca/Pages_MNRnews/index.htm

The archive site (do a search for "crown land") is under the "News" tab on the left.

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2011, 7:30 am 
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This sort of thing is becoming all too common: I can't count the number of moose hunting "camps" that I come across in the North - usually blue tarped pole shelters, outhouses out back, docks on the shore, garbage everywhere... it a real piss-off to find something like this deep in the otherwise pristine wilderness.

Closer to home, we see the same thing:
We live on Pigeon Lake, part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, and every summer we see these "squatters" set up on Boyd Island - a large undeveloped island in the middle of Pigeon Lake. Again, tarp shelters, outhouses, docks built out of scraps, and completely trashed campsites remain after the squatters pull out in late August.

Unfortunately, these guys don't seem to be breaking any laws. Until the laws change, this sort of abuse will continue unchecked.


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2011, 10:22 am 
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Barbara - thanks for the link. I do see the charges for leaving trailers over the winter which clearly exceeds the 21 day limit on camping. I also see the charges for littering and dumping garbage along with the charges for illegal logging - which all seemed to pretty clearly be commercial operations. I didn't see any charges for building docks - maybe I missed them - but I expect if there were any it would be for building crib docks which do require a permit and would count as permanent structures.

I'm still going to laugh at the complaints about the outhouses. Seriously folks, would the cottagers prefer that the people legally camping on crown land not use an outhouse?

Mike - tarp shelters are part of camping to me. Maybe I'm not picturing quite the same set up as you are.

To be clear - I'm not claiming that there aren't abuses going on. Dumping garbage etc. isn't acceptable.

Let me try to push this on to a different track.
1) As canoeists, many of us fervently champion our right to access to lakes, rivers and crown lands. Whether it's the NWPA or whether it's complaining about camping fees and making comments like "that's why I always camp on crown land"
2) Canoeists aren't the only folks entitled to camp on crown land.
3) If we want to protect our own acces to crown land - including in the Kawarthas then we really need to be willing to support other folks who also want to camp on crown land.

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2011, 11:01 am 
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Mike,

Quote:
Unfortunately, these guys don't seem to be breaking any laws. Until the laws change, this sort of abuse will continue unchecked.


I've been told that the OPP were charging those boozing and boating along with non-compliance with boating regs... an island on Bark lake has since been cleaned up. There, it's easy for an OPP boat to catch offenders since it's a long motor in to the island, other places, maybe not.

Splake, you'd probably have objections if a lake you canoed on at times had one of these slums going up. Most crown land campers are respectable but at times a few won't care about their crummy behaviour & appearance. Or maybe they're too dumb to realize what they're doing.

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2011, 11:47 am 
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Splake wrote:
Mike - tarp shelters are part of camping to me. Maybe I'm not picturing quite the same set up as you are.


Tarp shelters are fine when you're camped there, but my beef is that most of the hunt camps I come across seem to feel that it's alright to leave them "standing" once you leave for the season.

They don't seem to stay "standing" for very long:
A wind hits these things, knocks them over, then they become a tangled mess of logs, nails, and shredded blue Canadian Tire polytarps.

In the end, these tarp shacks that are becoming so popular just turn into more garbage heaps on the land...


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2011, 12:52 pm 
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Frozen - I'll agree there are limits and a quick picture might be all it takes for me to agree that the situation in the articles really is overboard. I happen to own a cottage and I can tell you that every cottage association I've heard from would really like to believe they have more power than the municipal government and there will be at least one person on the executive who honestly believes they can tell you what colour you are allowed to paint your cottage. So forgive me if my first read of that article is that the local cottage association is getting a bit snooty.

- if there is garbage dumping then that's littering or worse and not acceptable
- if they are building permanent structures, then they are no longer camping and that's a use not permitted on crown land (although I'll still argue in favour of the outhouses)
- etc, etc.



Mike McIntosh wrote:
Tarp shelters are fine when you're camped there, but my beef is that most of the hunt camps I come across seem to feel that it's alright to leave them "standing" once you leave for the season.

They don't seem to stay "standing" for very long:
A wind hits these things, knocks them over, then they become a tangled mess of logs, nails, and shredded blue Canadian Tire polytarps.

In the end, these tarp shacks that are becoming so popular just turn into more garbage heaps on the land...


I was wondering if that was the sort of thing you were picturing. If they are left standing, then they arguably become 'permanent structures' which would break the rules for crown land camping - even leaving them up past the 21 day camping limit would break the rules.

So here's a question - for the location in the article - were folks actually camping or were they setting up establishments that were essentially permanent? If that's the case then I'll switch my criticism to the author of the article for not doing their homework and properly stating something along the lines of "While camping on crown land is perfectly legal and Canadian citizens do not require a permit to do so, the situation on Bottle Lake goes beyond what is defined as camping."

[Edit was just to correct a spelling mistake]

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Last edited by Splake on August 31st, 2011, 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2011, 2:31 pm 
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A cottage association using the MNR in an "us vs. them" war against those "freeloaders" that infest "their" lake every summer. Gee, that's a new one.


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PostPosted: August 31st, 2011, 11:27 am 
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frozentripper wrote:
Most crown land campers are respectable but at times a few won't care about their crummy behaviour & appearance.



Jeez, I hope nobody judges me by my crummy appearance on the water. I'll be the guy in an old, beat-up camo-painted canoe, wearing decidedly retro clothes (unless I am skinny dipping), and there will definitely be a blue tarp over my cooking area if it's raining.


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PostPosted: August 31st, 2011, 12:10 pm 
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NB, if I catch you paddling on my lake, I'm calling the cops.

(jest keeding)

;)

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PostPosted: August 31st, 2011, 1:02 pm 
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There's a big difference between a tarp over a kitchen area for a short time, and the tarp encampments that are the hallmarks of the squatters on crown land.

Geez.

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PostPosted: August 31st, 2011, 1:52 pm 
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Barbara wrote:
There's a big difference between a tarp over a kitchen area for a short time, and the tarp encampments that are the hallmarks of the squatters on crown land.

Geez.


I guess my reaction to this is similar to my reaction to the enforcement of "drunken paddling" rules. The solution is to have and enforce as limited a set of rules as possible about the behavior that is a problem--in this case, apparently that's littering (about which I assume there is already a law); overstaying at a campsite (which appears to be covered by the current 21 day campsite limit); and installation of docks.

If we need a rule about docks at campsites, let's have one--presumably because they damage habitat and the like.

But let's be careful not to create the impression that folks aren't welcome in the backcountry unless they own a composite canoe, a fancy cookstove, and Silnylon tarp. I spent a lot of nights sleeping under blue tarps, and I dug privies and cut down firewood on those trips. (Would it be better if I didn't dig a privy?) ``Some of them were even in aluminum boats instead of canoes--sometimes for moose camp.

Just saying . . . . .


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PostPosted: August 31st, 2011, 3:11 pm 
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I've seen where people abuse the crown lands by building their "summer homes" without paying for permits or property taxes, etc.

It's a cheap alternative to buying or renting a cottage, for the Ontario residents who know about it.

It's got nothing to do with fancy gear, or hunting or fishing. It's got everything to do with people taking advantage of the opportunity that exists. Knowing that the MNR is stretched to its limits just trying to catch the really bad guys, it's easy to get away with a "lesser" offence.

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PostPosted: August 31st, 2011, 7:07 pm 
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“Our lake is at capacity as far as residences are concerned, and our official plan controls further development. It is clear that there are no rules to limit the number of campers, which has escalated dramatically in the last five years, and without control will lead to disaster for our lake.”

He's calling it "our lake". Heck, I didn't realize MNR were selling off whole lakes now!! :doh: . If I was the part owner of a lake I wouldn't want folks coming camping on it w/o our permission either! :tsk: But seriously though, I think that's the nub of the problem here. The cottagers think they own the lake.


"...... de Launay added, noting that site visits to Crown land camping areas on Kasshabog and Bottle lakes revealed no garbage or evidence of “excessive cutting of trees.” So it seems to me that there was some 'creative storytelling' going on here somewhere.

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