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Canada Boondocking


karenanddusty

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  • 1 month later...

We rarely stay in a RV park in Canada. In B.C, Alberta and the Yukon there are endless possibilities for Boondocking and I don't mean a Walmart. On a 28 day trip to Alaska we stayed in a RV park for a total of 6 days. Most of the lakes have camping possibilities and you are OK to camp unless it is posted.

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  • 8 months later...

Last year on our trip to Alaska, we encountered many "no overnight camping" signs along the Alcan and Cassier. I was told by some locals they do not enforce this, but not told that by the Mounties or any law enforcement.

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Yes there is a little lake just past Mountainview called Payne Lake . Its a pretty place and is either free or very reasonalble. No hookups however. Just stay on the hiway past Mountainview towards Waterton Park and you will see it.

 

Waterton is also a fantastic and little known National Park that has several campgrounds. You really should check it out..its an awesome place in the mountains not far from mountainview. You might even be lucky enough to see a grizzly bear there....they hang out not far from the park entrance on the right side of the road....I have seen one there several times. The campground at the townsite in Waterton has full hookups if you need them.

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I don't want to jinx a good thing, but I have generally found.. in western Canada anyway.. the Canadians are "extremely" tolerant of boondocking just about anywhere (posted or not). They seem to have an "oh sure" attitude if you ask and are respectful of the space.

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Public Land Use Zones website will give you a pretty good idea of some boon docking, but even then not all allow it!!! IIRC, you have to be 5kms from an organized CG. Kananaski's for example they will knock on your door before 6am in the morning and tell you to move into a organized campground, happened to several of our friends over the years and family members. We used to have a lot more options 20 years ago than we do today. BC there are several options usually up logging roads, but be conscious of the logging vehicles joining the gravel roads from a safety aspect (dust in the air typically gives you advance warning). Most Big Box Stores, strip malls, casinos allow over night parking with no problem we've found, during our travels throughout Alberta, Sask' and BC. Found it more challenging on Vancouver Island to find much in regards to rustic boon docking options around Nanaimo to Victoria Corridor, Port Alberni, Tofino. Heard heading up to Campbell River more opportunities, and can't comment re Comox Valley etc having not visited there yet.

 

We boondock every chance we get versus organised CG's, and for sure prefer not to be black top but rustic - we don't find Canada offers anywhere near as many options for that as we experience south of the border in the Western States with your BLM, Trust Lands, NFS etc.

 

Hmmmmm, just noticed this thread was started Spring 2014, and shows OP only did the one post. Never mind sure this info will be of interest to others with spring upon us.

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we don't find Canada offers anywhere near as many options for that as we experience south of the border in the Western States with your BLM, Trust Lands, NFS etc.

 

I must be blessed. That has never been my experience. On the face.. maybe it seems a little more restrictive, but I found the key up there is just to be a bit cordial. "Wow. It's really gorgeous out here.. do you mind if I stay for the week?".. "oh sure". :-)

 

A personal touch can go a long way.

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  • 1 month later...

I must be blessed. That has never been my experience. On the face.. maybe it seems a little more restrictive, but I found the key up there is just to be a bit cordial. "Wow. It's really gorgeous out here.. do you mind if I stay for the week?".. "oh sure". :-)

 

A personal touch can go a long way.

I DREAM of boondocking in Canada!!

One thing that is stopping me from accomplishing that... Waking up face to face with a BEAR!!!!

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Deerfoot Inn and Casino (Calgary AB) and I called them to which they have confirmed charge $21 per night to overnight on their parking lot. I was shocked they have this small minded thinking, so our friends that asked us who are travelling from up North heading south have said "Oh well if that's their philosophy, then we'll drop our few hundred bucks gambling money somewhere else where we are more appreciated". Guess that's a case of a business not looking at the big picture by nickel and diming. Just sharing recent direct from the horses mouth info on that Casino for RVers intending to stay overnight. Flying J is just across the highway though :)

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Lethbridge Casino has a separate free parking lot for RVs.

 

The Few.....I boondock all the time in the Rocky Mountains here in Canada ....bears have not been a problem. I wouldnt sleep in a tent but I feel safe in an RV. You have to use common sense and dont leave food laying around and that kind of thing. I have run into bears while out ATVing but again they havent been a problem.

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I DREAM of boondocking in Canada!!

One thing that is stopping me from accomplishing that... Waking up face to face with a BEAR!!!!

 

I think there is a lot of "hype" about bears up North, but it's not really all that. Of course.. a little common sense goes a long way... keeping your site clean, food properly stored in air tight containers, and keeping a can of bear spray handy at all times. I've seen my fair share and had to run one off once, but they're not the man mauling monsters some make them out to be. They're generally just looking for an easy meal and spook fairly easily to a warning shot fired into the ground. Of course.. certain times of the year a gun shot will actually call them in. During hunting seasons they've learned that gun shots can often mean a nice gut pile for em.

 

If you're really concerned.. up North they sell what they call "crackers" and "cracker whistlers". It's a special shotgun shell that travels around 100 yards or so and then explodes and whistles. They are extremely effective, but aren't cheap for something you will probably never use.

 

One tip I learned was not to toss food remnants or used paper products into your campfire. It's like broadcasting the dinner bell. :P

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Humans are more the problem to our bears than ever the bears are to humans. Unfortunately it's humans that have caused the problems, that's led to many being destroyed so unnecessarily if we two legged creatures had just learned some basic common sense when in "THEIR" country. We watch Japanese tourists in Banff and Lake Louise right in the middle of rutting season get up way too close to bull elk trying to get photos and then hope a tree will save them when they charge = head shakes.

 

Hubby and I were up fishing in Alaska, kept my eye on a young juvenile black bear, noticed he'd moved from the log a fair way away from where several folks in a line were fishing. All of sudden, he'd sneaked up the road up above the area us fisher folk were and snuck around and down the pathway we'd came down = the only easy way in and out. I turned around and said to the guys on the end, don't panic but there's a bear about 12 ft from you, he started to run, and I shouted don't run. Got him to turn around and back up slowly and we all backed together into a group to look large, pregnant ladies and all. He came up to my hubby's bait, grabbed it, sat on his haunches and had himself a nice picnic. We just had to wait patiently till he finished and went off. That time and through a windshield on many occasions have been our closest encounters and we hike a lot in bear country.

 

I remember we pulled into Lake Tahoe really late in the pitch black one night in the late 90's with our fifth wheel, and I distinctly remember hubby and I hearing a rustling and crashing in the bushes when we were setting up the stabilsers with a torch, making sure we made our presence known. Worked quickly and thought nothing of it, next morning in the bathroom stall heard women outside talking about this bear that went through their campsite (tents they had) and another woman stating how this bear had her husband pinned against the tree the night before etc. It sounded quite likely that it was a bear as is known in the area to be plentiful. Our gut feeling was though that the pinning against the tree was likely a bit over dramatized, and exaggerated, as to be honest if that bear wanted to swipe him it likely would have but sometimes it's what good stories are supposedly made of. Yes once in a blue moon an unprovoked attack does happen but they are very very rare and usually come about through stupidity for the most part - you are more likely to be hit by a bus. Respect and being bear aware usually results in a win win for both us species.

 

When walking in bear, moose, cougar country we always whistle or sing or wear bear bells hiking, so we don't surprise a bear which is what is most likely to cause an attack above all else, especially mama when protecting her young. There's always an exception, but respect and responsibility is what we have found has served us well living with these wonderful creatures for over two decades. No we personally wouldn't tent camp out in their territories though many do, but we don't hesitate to hike or RV, taking appropriate realistic precautions as possible. I strongly don't recommend anyone try to bring any pepper sprays or firearms into Canada without checking border control requirements beforehand.

 

Above all enjoy our wildlife and keep them wild, we can co-exist together with mutual and beneficial experiences for us all. Most of our parks have bear awareness info sheets, read them and string your food up high if tent camping, don't leave coolers on display in cars, avoid all association for them that we are their food source. A fed bear, sadly is a dead bear.

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We were out riding a trail with our quads one time in the mountains and came across a group of hikers who were milling around acting scared. We stopped and asked what the problem was and they pointed out a black bear in the woods not far away watching us. One of our kids pulled out a pack of firecrackers and lit it and tossed it at the bear....far as I know that bear is still running.

 

From then on I carry a bear banger, a pack of firecrackers and a road flare on my ATV....bears do not like that kind of stuff. Firearms are a last resort and the only firearm I would even dare point at a grizzly is either a shotgun with a slug or buckshot, or a hunting rifle of a decent caliber.

 

One other tip...if a young woman is having her periods....better to stay at home. We had a woman stalked and killed by a bear in Canmore , AB for that very reason. Bears have better noses than bloodhounds.

 

Truth be known....more people are killed and injured by Moose than bears....an angry bull moose will scare away a bear...get it?

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Truth be known....more people are killed and injured by Moose than bears....

 

Very true. A moose can charge you with no warning for absolutely no reason whatsoever. They just 'onery... and at well over 1000 pounds.. well.. that'll leave a mark. :P

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The bear that entered the park where we were tent camping stole a few packs. Hang them up in the trees, people!

 

We hiked out instead, No idea what our then young daughter would have chosen to sneak into our tent for snacking if we'd stayed. Even clothes you were wearing while cooking bacon can be an invitation to a hungry bear.

 

Linda Sand

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If you have a Mac, there's a new Canadian Camping app available. It shows 2,645 public campgrounds across Canada, many of which are free (you can set it to show only free campgrounds). More info: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ultimate-canadian-campground/id974913545?mt=12

 

There's now an iPhone / iPad version of the the Ultimate Canadian Public Campground Project:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ultimate-canadian-public-campground/id974998633?mt=8

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We have plans of doing the highway to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, taking the 5-day trip to Nain and back on mail boat, continuing on to Carthart, Red Bay, Blanc Sablon, across to Newfoundland etc this summer.

 

From what we heard from Newfoundland/Labrador Tourist Board:

1. Do not go before 1 July since it takes that long to re-do the road

2. Pretty much boondocking from Goose Bay to Cartwright

3. Be aware of gravel damage to windshield from passing trucks

 

Anyone know of a good way to protect the windshield. Have seen the metal screen netting used on Baja Racers. Should we try to fabricate such? If so, any plans?

 

Reed and Elaine

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  • 3 months later...

One of our friends was mauled by a bear after he and a friend cooked steak, rubbed juices and fat over their clothes got drunk and then went to sleep leaving everything outside their tent. Sure enough a local bear smelled them and came to investigate and stayed for breakfast. My buddy learned his lesson the hard way and was super careful after that but we used to drag him camping with us on the basis that while being mauled once was rare, getting mauled twice was really unlikely. He was an effective good luck charm since we never had a problem when he was along.

 

Getting back to the original question. we are fullltimers and spend half the year in Canada. Boondocking in the US has been super easy and we have camped in awesome places. We know of good places close to our old home in Calgary but finding other spots further away has been a problem. We use Days End and Freecampsites.net but they dont have many listings in Canada. We havent been able to find a lot of info - for example, the BC forest service has listings of campsites and does have some free ones but there is no map showing areas for dispersed camping. I think us Canadians need to do a better job of putting info on Days End especially.

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One of our friends was mauled by a bear

 

Well that's just "camping 101". NEVER invite a camping buddy out in the sticks that can run faster than you can.

 

Personally, I completely enjoy Canada boondocking. It takes a little more effort finding a good spot to hunker down into, but the scenery and wildlife are hands down and well worth the effort. The last time I was up there I woke up to probably 50 head of mountain goats milling around my rig and spent a couple three hours watching a herd of elk in a school yard on the way up to Anaheim Lake. Beautiful country, that.

 

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Yarome you've referenced in a couple of threads about there being a lot of boon docking in Canada, yet myself and kinseypw who both are avid boondockers when in the USA or opportunity presents itself feel that Canada doesn't tend to be as easy to find such locations. We are not talking black top or dry camping in carparks such as malls, HD, WM, Casinos etc, but true boon docking opportunities.

 

Maybe you'd be kind enough to share for Alberta at least these places that seem to be alluding us locals so to speak.

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