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Thread: campsite selection etiquette on raft trips

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    Default campsite selection etiquette on raft trips

    Is there any sort of etiquette about how close/far one should set up camp from other parties?

    Just wondering. Thx....

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Stevesch.......Some rivers like the Gulkana River have "traditional" designated camp sites and camp areas. The camping areas can get quite crowded during the peak, late June to early July, of the rafting/fishing season.
    And the camp sites on Lake Creek can become "zero lot-line camping areas" also. Just great to have the "community toilet" within yards of your tent.

    I do not really have an answer about etiquette. I could not even spell it so I just copied yours above......
    Of course we all want some privacy, especially on remote rivers.
    I know that I have passed up a lot of camp sites that were occupied so I could find an isolated area.

    Once on a sheep hunt I was nine miles up-creek from where the airplane dropped me off at. No other hunters in the area. But on the third day two guys hiked in and set up camp next to me. I mean very close, like 15 feet away from my tent. I hinted several times that this was a long canyon and there were many other areas better for camping and for ram glassing. But they didn't get the hint and stayed that day and night. I think they were just lonely and "concerning" about being so remote. Anyway, the prior evening my hunting buddy and I shot some rams and we were eating the meat by the full frying pan after full frying pan. I didn't feel the need to offer any to them. My bad?

    The next day we hiked up to retrieve the horns and capes. They didn't hunt that day, resting in camp and recovering from their hike. Their second night in camp they again watched us gulping down a large amount of sheep meat. If they had originally indicated they were moving upward and onward away from me, I would have told them which glacial bowls contained more rams. Oh well.

    Anyhoooo.......on truly remote rivers it sure is nice to have a gravel bar to yourself. On the crowded rivers I think we all need to expect the worst possible camping condition, and then be happy if reality is any better. Except in the most remote locations, expect some lonely soul to want to be your neighbor.

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    Member Spanman's Avatar
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    If I establish a space and there is plenty around (not within 20 feet) I express my desire to be with the wilderness, as in "I came out here to get away from *********s" and they usually see my point and move on. If there isn't sufficaint space for allot of down stream movement I usually set the boundries early (and often if needed).
    But if I am drifting and there is someone in a space, I keep going I try and give as much space to others as I would want. Etiqutte is treating how you would want to be treated...but remember that these days, not everyone knows what that means anymore...
    Now that is Fishing or just a lazy weekend, Hunting gets into an entire differant set of rules!!!
    Yesterday I ran into an Old Girlfriend and I thought I missed her...
    So I backed up and hit her again, ya know sometimes I really do miss her!!

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    i never camp on the same bar as anybody else. nor do i ever pitch camp within sight of anybody else, even if the proximity is still relatively short in some cases (if no other choice). the way i see it is if i wanted "neighbors" i would've camped in town.

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    When I see any other camp, when in the wilderness, my fun is diminished. We go out to get away, not bid for front row parking. This is much easier to do in a kayak, or other solo person boats, because the trip choices are greater by far. I did see a guy last year on a trip, but I knew him from Fairbanks, a boating comrade. I guess in a raft you could take guns and pitbulls, that would give you some elbow room.
    No seriously, the concerns posted here are becoming a real problem on a few runs. I don't think there is a simple answer except to be nice, and courtious, and hope it comes back at you. Just to many peeps.

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Something folks should pay more attention too while rafting is their desire of target practice at camp. I've rafted twice last year and set up camp with no one in sight but have woken up to gunshots and 1 required making my presence known.

    Stopping short on a good stretch for camp is great but always know someone could be around the next bend, or even 3 or 4 and still not be too far off as the crow flys.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesch View Post
    Is there any sort of etiquette about how close/far one should set up camp from other parties?

    Just wondering. Thx....
    Steve,

    Excellent question. Personally I always try to get as far away from other parties as possible. Especially on a float hunt. Think of it like this. Let's you are set up along the river. What is the farthest point to which you would travel to pursue an animal up and down the river? 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 2, 3, etc. Whatever that number is for you, I would say make sure you are twice that distance away from another party. That way both parties have a buffer zone which would not interfere with one another's hunt. So for example let's say that number is 1 mile, because you are moose hunting and you don't intend to shoot anything more than a mile away from camp. Then in this case, I would make sure you are at least 2 miles away from any other parties if at all possible. That gives you and them both a 1 mile radius to hunt without stepping on each others toes.

    Now, there has been a few occasions where I have been on the river until dusk and intended to camp somewhere only to find out someone else got there first. In those rare cases, I have camped right next to the other party, but I made it clear to the other party that I was just passing through and I did not have intentions of hunting there. I let them know that first thing in the morning after breakfast I would be packing up and moving down river. Personally, that is the way I would like to be treated by others, so I try to show the same respect in return. At least that is my opinion.

    Now if you are just floating for fun or fishing, I would say your radius need not be that far. Maybe only 1/4 mile away or so, but ultimately you have to decide what you think is adequate space given the situation. And, it never hurts to stop and ask someone. Sometimes I will stop and talk to someone to see what their travel plans are. Sometimes, they might just be stoping for lunch, or maybe they are just getting ready to leave. You can find out what their plan is and you can coordinate with each other so that you are not stepping on each others toes. I have found most people to be quite friendly and it never hurts to have a friendly neighbor on the river. You never know when you might get into a bind and need some help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesch View Post
    Is there any sort of etiquette about how close/far one should set up camp from other parties?

    Just wondering. Thx....
    This is a good thread and question... I'd like to see it get more posts for the reasoning that there are no hard written rules or accepted code of conduct.

    The issues with 'Campsite Selection Etiquette' on raft trips are the sum total of social values, multi-use, communication (or lack thereof), and finally respect (or lack thereof) for other people, the wilderness their outdoor experience. In short, adds up to or breaks down into social challenges on a river float.

    Something further to define and often overlooked is that while one recreational venture is at play another can be of commercial nature at work. So we are not just addressing what may or may not be socially acceptable playing outside... we could find ourselves midst business operations/interactions.

    Then is there such a 'Alaska' river trip camp spot 'norm' proximity to others? Well - no... just as there are no absolutes or guaranties that you'll be the only rafter on such a river. All a caring person can do is treat/communicate/demonstrate with others the way they would like to be... by genuinely sensing some boundaries of others that in turn need not be camped upon without invite.

    Sooner or later you'll encounter the aggressive-style, sense of entitlement, and territorial-types... ever notice more often than not it's routinely some non-resident guide business that should be sun-set or a private party (res. or non-res) partaking a bit too much of the bottle or litter-bugs after leaving camp.

    I pride myself in knowing the land and rivers, my boating and outdoor skills, a social sense with communication skills, using versatile gear and the people I'm with to make the best setting no matter what the campsite selection or potential folks are on the river. I'll be the first relate --- on a rare occasion, even that's not enough to solve the issues of bad etiquette.

  9. #9
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesch View Post
    Is there any sort of etiquette about how close/far one should set up camp from other parties?

    Just wondering. Thx....
    i think it is directly related to how good your beer is.. the better the beer... the closer the camps
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Sorry to most-probably butcher a quote from our former president Abraham Lincoln, but it goes something like this:

    If you can see your neighbor's smoke from their chimney (i.e., campfire, in this case), you're too close.

    I agree with Honest-Abe.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    ...Sooner or later you'll encounter the aggressive-style, sense of entitlement, and territorial-types... ever notice more often than not it's routinely some non-resident guide business that should be sun-set or a private party (res. or non-res) partaking a bit too much of the bottle or litter-bugs after leaving camp....
    Yes. For me - sooner, more than once; thankfully, a minority of the trips. But no, my experiences of close-camping didn't have anything to do with drunkenness, non-residency, or heavily used areas - could be anyone, and probably more AK residents than others, including a memorable group of euros (I'll resist the urge to comment further). Happens in the middle of no where - I mean almost no other people around - and camping literally 10-50 feet away. The try to be friendly and all, you say you'd appreciate it if they gave you some space and they set up camp anyway (or - they move to 50 feet away instead of 10). Once a group did move, but they made a stink about it.

    I'm not convinced it's anything more than selfishness. I usually occupy a site based on the scenery, fishing, ground surface, and/or protection from sun/wind; they see someone already camped there; recognize the benefits of it and drop anchor like you don't exist. Sure - it may be a great campsite, but it's occupied. My personal minimum distance would be a mile or beyond sight, sound, or smell (as in smoke from campfire), whichever is farther.

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