Friday, June 15, 2012

Park Review Terms and Rating Guide

I was working on the review for Balsam Lake and realized I should probably spell out some of the terms I use or come up with some officially-written-down rating system so here you go, here's what I'll be using to come up with evaluations

Campsite types

1) Woodland - fairly self explanatory.  A woodland site is one that is surrounded by a wall of trees, usually enough to offer some privacy between you and your neighbour.  There may not be more than a few feet worth, but it offers a clear separation between sites.

Balsam Lake.  Not as private, but still surrounded by tall trees
A woodland site at Arrowhead.  Not much shade, but a good 40 feet of woodland between neighbours, sometimes more.

2) Field - Basically what it sounds like, an open field with a few trees scattered around.  The only real way to tell where one site ends and the next begins is by the placement of number posts.

At Balsam. This is actually more than one can see the road in the back and the sort of bare spot thats sort of a driveway.  The other side of that bare spot is the next site.
3) Meadow - This is sort of a cross between Woodland and Field.  When I say Meadow, I picture what looks like an overgrown farm field with a few small trees and lots of little shrubs and long grass.  A meadow site is one that is a mowed clearing surrounded by scrubby trees and tall grass.  Sometimes, they are well spaced and fairly private but you won't get much shade.


1 - There's nothing between you and your neighbour but an imaginary line or a fallen log
2 - A few trees with high branches between sites. Clear boundary but not much else. I also count those sites that look more like a narrow clearing meant for pulling over to let a car pass.
3 - A few feet of leafy trees form a wall around your site.  You can still see neighbours, and could probably see into their tent with little effort...not that I encourage such things.  I'm just using it as an example
4 - More than enough leafy branches to block visual access to your site and enough space that you can talk without worrying that your neighbour is hearing everything you least during the day.  At night, sound travels further so if you feel the need to discuss plans for a bank robbery or something else illegal...keep your voice down.
5 - You could almost parade around your site naked if you wanted to.  There's lots of space between sites and thick forest as well.  I'd give it a 5+ if the site has a little driveway in then opens up, limiting the visual from the road so people walking past can't see in as easily, especially if you block the view with your vehicle.

So far, the only place I've seen sites I'd rank a 5 were at Arrowhead in the East River Campground.  Some of the sites were so far apart you need a 100 foot extension chord to reach the outlet (spaced halfway between sites, so almost a 200 foot wall of trees between you and neighbours.  We tried going around to the row of sites behind ours to see if we could see our tent through the trees and couldn't see anything that way either.


Comfort Station - A small building with stalls, flush toilets, running water, and dryers.  They may also have showers and laundry facilities.  Many have an electrical outlet so you can dry your hair or curl it if you feel the need to primp for an evening of roasting marshmallows.

Mini Comfort Station - Rock Lake at Algonquin has a few of these.  They are a building as well, but rather than a larger room with a few stalls and a row of sinks, it's divided into four small rooms with flush toilet and sink in each one. There are lights inside.

Flush toilet outhouses - These are flush toilet stalls, but they look like outhouses from outside.  Usually there is two stalls and outside in the entry is a sink. Six Mile lake has these.  Not usually lit inside so bring a flashlight if visiting one at night.

Vault Toilet + Sink - Outhouses with a covered entry where a sink with running water can be found.

Vault Toilet - just what it sounds's an outhouse, no sink

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you on Arrowhead having the best privacy rating. I haven't seen any other that compares. I almost don't want to talk about it for fear that it will turn into a reservation fiasco like Killbear or Pinery