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7/24/2021 7:48 am  #1

Ghost Tents?

I thought it might deserve a thread of it's own.  First off, I do not participate in this practice or condone it.  I live 5-7 hours away from Algonquin so when I book trips to Algonquin I go to Algonquin.  I can't be a fair weather back country camper and slip into the back country when the weather is nice or when it fits into my lifestyle.  So the question is what would you do or what have you done if you found one of these 'Ghost Tents'?  Dismantle?  Report it to the authorities when you get out?  Maybe this practice of 'ghost tenting' isn't even an issue in Algonquin.  Or maybe it is and the maximum stay of 16 nights on one site is way too many nights?  Maybe they need to cap the max stay like they have at other parks to discourage such practices.    

Anyway, I'm going back to base camping for many years in the future.  So in a few years when I can get the family out for a massive day paddle I hope to return and have all my gear there.  So before leaving for my day trips I need  to keep a clean campsite etc.  Which means I can't leave all my gear scattered around to make sure people would think that the site is actually being used.  But if I put it all away the site may appear to be a 'ghost tent' etc.  So far the only deciding factor on if it is a ghost tent is the cost?  And the cost of gear that's left behind?     


7/24/2021 8:04 am  #2

Re: Ghost Tents?

If you're going on a day trip you'll still likely leave behind your gear pack, food barrel, a chair by the fire, maybe a hung tarp, etc. it wouldn't be just the tent. And even if it was just a tent, you'd still have contents inside of the tent (clothes, sleeping bag). I do day trips all the time and I think if someone stumbled into my site it should be pretty obvious that it's actually occupied.

One time on Clydegale I actually taped a note to the front of my tent that said "Just out for a day trip, be back soon!" because you couldn't see the tent from the water, and it's the first site when entering the lake so many people like to camp there.

But the thing is, if I see a tent erected while I'm paddling, I'm not even going on land to investigate because the assumption is that the site is obviously occupied. So this scenario is really only relevant when the tent is pitched in a spot that's not visible from the water.

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7/24/2021 1:37 pm  #3

Re: Ghost Tents?

To make sure that nobody visits my site while I'm daytripping, if it's not visible from the water I'd leave some piece of equipment by the landing. A chair will do, for instance.


7/26/2021 1:09 pm  #4

Re: Ghost Tents?

When on Craig Lake last month I saw a ghost tent and a couple ghost tarps, one of which looked like a $250+ Aquaquest, occupying the double site on the island. First noticed it on Thursday when going to visit the beach ~200 m south of the double site and noticed 2 people in a canoe heading away from that vicinity. Then we never saw a hint of movement, fire, light, or sound from there until we left on Saturday when we crossed paths with 2 separate groups of ~9 people each, all on a weekend overnight tour run by a local outfitter.

I can't say for certain but by far the simplest explanation is that the outfitter "reserved" those two sites specifically for his weekend tour operation. Maybe they have a special arrangement with the park or perhaps just they paid for the site like us regular folk. Either way, seems like it's risky to just leave expensive stuff unattended, even in the backcountry. 


10/15/2021 1:41 pm  #5

Re: Ghost Tents?

We ran in to this a few years ago on Tom Thomson. 2 tents , a eureka bug tent and multiple camp chairs. No boats.  No action for 3 days. On our way out we stopped to check it out just incase someone was there injured or?? Nothing. Later learned of a guide operation in the area that uses this as common practice to ensure the best site on the lake .  Ethically absurd IMO. The park must be aware of this but obviously not a priority issue for them . Haven't come across this situation since .


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