Does anyone know where one can find the map that lists the 3-digit site codes for backcountry reservation? This seems to be new this year.
After booking my trip this morning, I had a look at the itinerary and noticed some of the codes were wrong. When I called back to correct them I was told my map was out-of-date LOL and that newer maps with these codes are available.
I asked if they had a map of Algonquin handy so that we could walk through it site-by-site (code-by-code) as the one that needed correcting appeared to be at the beginning of the route (a different body of water) I chose which is nowhere near the body I want to stay. They responded that they do not have a map just a set of 3-digit codes corresponding to the particular access point. As an example code 000 - Body of Water - above P315 is what's indicated on the confirmation. I want to stay at 001 - Body of Water - below P315.
This is going to pose a major issue because already the locations (body of water) I chose to reserve is obviously not what is indicated on my confirmation.
I guess we'll all have the same lake reserved on and after opener!
Have you reported that problem to the Park? They might want to know. I am sure they want to work out as many bugs as possible.
(Removal or disturbance of cultural heritage features or artifacts is strictly against the Parks Act and the Heritage Act.
Information regarding historic sites or artifacts discovered should be reported to the Park Superintendent. Archaeology in the Park can only be done under license and with permission.)
So we know, code 520 is the site that corresponds to Lower Nipissing - below P915 as indicated on my confirmation which is at the mouth of the Nip @ Cedar. This is nowhere near where I want to stay on my first day. Crossing Cedar would take me 40 minutes or so tops to cross.
I told them I would like to continue my first day on the Nip and asked if I could stay near the Luckless Portage or Rolling Dam area which they coded as 465 - Luckless. This is confusing as it could also be Luckless Lake which when I called confirm this reservation was on the Nip, they said no, 465 is Luckless Lake which as you can see poses the issue. This is not where I want to reserve.
They are now using codes corresponding to particular geographic areas, this means they are now allowing for what seems to be site-specific or segment-specific reservations to be made.
Every time I call I get billed $10 for the change for their mistake.
And on top of this, I am told my Algonquin Park Map is out-of-date. He said there are new maps with these codes on them which is completey new to me.
So now are we reserving a particular site on a lake? Have they all been given numbers? Or is it still where you reserve a site on a lake and you take the one you like or the one that is open depending on your route and how busy it is?
Just wondering, I haven't attempted to book any interior camping yet, but would like to be prepared when I do.
first off, how come no one else talked about this issue (or even about this new system)?-- as a few others have booked already. did you guys notice anything different in how you specified your sites?
mg-- get your money back. sounds ridiculous. how can the park charge you for you getting your numbers mixed up, when the reason you have them mixed up is because you're holding a map that has just recently opposed their digitized map? i dont understand how whoever you spoke to could witness that you have the wrong map, and at the same time allow that you get charged for untangling the issue.
and how is it that you came to know codes were wrong in the itinerary? you must be looking at a map with codes on it. but where/when did you get that map? can you point to it online, if online? or even take a pic of it?
I just got off the phone with a "John" at the reservation service. He assures me that the old method of "date - lake, date - lake" is still being used. However, he did indicate to me that when it comes to rivers, there is now an "area" system which allows more specific designations for sub-groups of campsites.
Myself, typically not being a "river tripper" and not having the last canoe route map, I cannot swear as to the presence of such river "area" designations on the latest (2009-10) map edition.
I do know that the new canoe route map is in the finalization stage and will be printed shortly for availability hopefully by April. This new edition may have such river "area" designations. I'll try to contact Rick Stronks (map manager) on Monday to get clarification on this issue.
I caught the error after I received the confirmation this morning. When I looked it over I saw 1. 520 - Lower Nipissing - below P915. When I looked on the map for P915, I noticed they booked me at the mouth of the Nip and Cedar.
The codes are new this year it seems whereas in previous years it has always been 'date - lake' on the confirmation.
As for the change, for any change there is a fee
*** For administrative changes such as changes to name and campsite number, the $7.50 (call centre) or $5.25 (internet) change fee will be applicable.***
The map I refer to is Jeffrey's 3.0 Map. Could it be that FoAP has produced a new map with such codes? No idea!
When I called this morning to make the reservation, I used lake and river names. OP provided the codes on the confirmation.
Barry - Thanks for looking into this. The remaining itinerary shows 3-digit codes for the remainder of our destinations - all lakes. They aren't grouped by date - lake.
Clearly OP still has some work to do on their beaut of system. Reservations are made, no need to get my money back, whether right or wrong is for OP to figure out. We clearly stated where and when to the outsourced call center we spoke to this morning
I'm not sure I understand the problem completely, but can understand the difficulties that are sometimes had in reserving interior routes. I booked my spring fishing trip about a month ago by naming the waterbodies and dates I wanted ... no codes. But, my return confirmation included the following codes:
This reservation took four calls, including one because their system was down, one because the person on the line couldn't identify the site on the crow river, one because I was disconnected ... fourth time lucky.
I expect you had someone inexperienced trying to make your reservation, but its no fun paying $10 for that service.
I recall that previously when CAMIS was operating the system their software had codes to allow quick entry of lakes by operators; this would allow someone entering a reservation could memorize or have a 'cheat sheet' of commonly used lake codes to help them quickly enter reservations. Specifically, I saw this at Kiosk two years ago.
Really, to me it doesn't matter how CAMIS wants to internally manage their reservation system, but it's important that these be internal and NOT for end users - quite unsurprisingly that causes needless confusion.
In terms of codes representing individual sites, the reservation system seems to be quite specific with sites on rivers; for instance, near the junction of Nipissing and Loontail Cr, the reservation system differentiates between Loontail Cr, Grass L, the 240m portage west of Grass L and the 365m portage are all booked separately (I personally got a bit pissed off at that level of detail when I was descending the Nipissing).
I think it is important to also point out that, as Marc has found, CAMIS has always done a poor job at describing and booking sites on rivers. At least prior to the operator that they just replaced (ie in 2009), CAMIS' computer interface gave absolutely no suggestion of any landmarks, distances between sites, etc to those inputting route reservations (I doubt they've improved). So, if you are looking at your map and saw that you want the site 'near the 365m portage,' their staff wouldn't have a clue what you're talking about. Since their internal system gives names to places that aren't on any map (ie the sites on the 245m portage on the Nipissing near Cedar are 'Plumb Cr Junction') there is even more confusion (exactly as Marc experienced with Luckless).
My thoughts? CAMIS has been the one to cause all of this confusion. Clearly Marc did everything he could be expected to do, and any of his 'misinterpretations' were caused by the manner in which CAMIS presented information to him.
hi mg, no im not suggesting you are making anything up. (if i wanted to suggest it i would just say it to you lol). i was simply shocked/confused that there was some new site reserving system that only you knew about. i didn't understand how that could be. well now it seems more clear how that could be, thanks to what jeff and barry said, that these site reservations do not apply to all sites in the park, but only to some. as John's itinerary hints, the codes are not for sites only, but for bodies of water as well. how can we think this? because he has 3 waters listed, each having a code that is more or less consecutive with the others. that would be unlikely if the codes were for sites on those waters instead of for those waters. your post gave an impression that through reservations we will now be needing to book particular sites. if that was true we would expect anyone who has booked already to have mentioned this change. hence my suspicion (not of you but of this).
anyway, to be honest i don't really care if, as you have said, OP charges everyone who changes their route/dates. that is a meaningless thing to me. what i care about is that they charge those who have changed as an outcome of their own control, not as an outcome of OP's control. and it seems what happened to you was the latter. i hope not more than once. accidents are to be expected in changing/adapting systems. how not? but quite as smoothly it is to be expected waiving the penalties produced by accidents.
The OP needs to be informed at the discrepancies occurring with respect to Backcountry reservations. This creates double booking if you will. They really should consult a map for backcountry reservations to avoid these **** ups!
It really boils down to this I wanted to stay at the Plumb Creek junction (on the Nip) near the portage into Luckless. I call OP to reserve it, they send me my confirmation and Im happy. Now had I not realized the error on my original reservation that as indicated on my confirmation as 1. 465 Luckless, I would have stayed on the site near the Portage into Luckless thinking this is the site I reserved or close to it. The reality of the erroneous reservation for Luckless would prevent the next camper to reserve on Luckless given the second site is already reserved leaving that extra site on Luckless (that OP mistook for as the one at the Plumb Creek Junction) vacant yet untouchable because of the error in location I caught in my confirmation this morning.
Cant they hire a seasoned Algonquin Tripper to take these reservations? Jeffrey? Markus? Barry? Any volunteers? The world would be a better place!
I've been forwarded an actual confirmation email. The reservation office has the individual reserved all over the place, none of which is apparently where he asked to be placed, and which are logistically unviable! I've also talked with a representative at the reservation office.
I get the distinct impression that the reservation process may not have a currently viable protocol for dealing with river reservations. I gather that the reservation office has a clickable-map with water area numbers designated on it, but which has no indication of a river's dam names or junction names. The reservation office seems to be taking it for granted that the general public all has paper copies of this same map and should be reserving by these same water area numbers.
When a caller tried to reserve a number of nights on the Nipissing River using the description of on the Nipissing near the Luckless Portage, Rolling Dam area or Plumb Creek Junction, the staff person appears to have latched on to the word Plumb and accordingly assigned the water area number # 470 for Plumb Lake which ironically cannot be reached by navigable water directly from the Nipissing River.
When the same caller then tried to reserve following nights on the Nipissing River using the same description of on the Nipissing near the Luckless Portage, Rolling Dam area or Plumb Creek Junction, the staff person appears to have latched on to the word Luckless and accordingly assigned the water area number # 465 for Luckless Lake which can only be reached by a 3 kilometer portage due south of the Nipissing River!
Unless the public calling for river campsite reservations has such water area number maps, or the reservation office staff refers to maps containing common dam and junction names, and the confirmation emails are more detailed and clear .. there could well be more inaccuracies and confusion resulting in this part of the reservation system.
To the left of any given camping location is a quick entry code, then the name, and then the number of sites booked out of the number of reservable ones. There is no context regarding the relationship between lakes, so as a result I know someone was once told that they should stay on Hogan since Big Crow was full (they were going down the Crow R, so it was a bit of a detour to say the least).
that actually looks exciting somehow. realistic. it's like looking into our possibilities or something lol.
they should have a system maybe where any item whose name or part of name belongs to another name or part of name causes a special effect--- all those names come up at once, showing their subtle differences, allowing person to pick correctly.
Here's the first page of my email, converted to a PDF, converted to a JPeg image...
I personally thought the reservation process was simple and easy to accomplish but I was not using a river route. When I heard the representative refer to three digit numeric codes for each lake I assumed it was part of their software package and had no bearing on my destinations - just a simpler and more clear manner of identifying a particular lake without the hassles of misspelling or poor pronunciations. I also thought my email was clear and easily understood. Hopefully the image will show up appropriately so that others can see the information.
I also made a reservation earlier this week and the confirmation I received appears below.
1. 209 - Big Crow 2. 209 - Big Crow 3. 213 - Dickson 4. 213 - Dickson
5. 213 - Dickson 6. 202 - Opeongo East Arm 7. 202 - Opeongo East Arm
Obviously, bodies of water have been assigned numbers but perhaps rivers have not. When I was working through the details with the agent, he asked me, for example, where is Dickson? I asked if he had a map in front of him which he confirmed, so I got him to Dickson by telling him where it was relative to what he saw on the map (ie. north of this, east of that). I didn't have the impression that he was looking at a screen like the one Jeff posted but I could be wrong.
A couple of days later I ended up calling and adding a second night at Big Crow at the beginning of the trip, which, along with the initial reservation, was completed quite easily aside from 'guiding' the first agent through the park. I was not charged a fee for adding an extra day at the front end.
Thanks Joe and Fred. That nails it down pretty well .. that the confusion stems from the complexities of communicating "river area" designations.
When the reservation staff don't know the river areas first-hand, their maps don't contain "common river area names", the public's map doesn't contain "river area numbers" and staff choose to use parts of "common river area names" to assume a "lake name" ... well, thats when the system seems to break down.
In preparation of me contacting park staff tomorrow, could anyone with the latest (2009-2010) canoe route map please scan a section on the Nipissing River upstream and downstream from the portage to Luckless, and email it to me? I confess to not having that edition. I'll need to be able to ascertain to staff the way the latest available map portrays the "river areas".
I just got off the phone with Rick Stronks. I'd pre-sent all the documentation I have on the situation, so by the time I phoned, he was already starting to look it over. I'd cc'd the email to Jim Murphy also, in case Rick was out of the office.
Rick picked-up really quickly on the "information-perception-gap" between the reservation system's identification of "river sections" and that of the backcountry "end-users" method of identifying them. Rick confirmed that the official canoe route map had never identified "river sections".
Rick said he'll be advising the two backcountry managers and the park's CAMIS liaison of this "information-perception-gap". Hopefully, there will be a correction or "work-around" arrived at. Rick appears to fully appreciate the problem, and said he'll keep us updated.
it seems fair to me that, for anyone who has absorbed penalties due to this error, a simple letter or call to Rick, seeing that Rick appreciates the error, would update their pockets as well as their knowledge of the system. just putting it out if there is one person or many people who lost money for this and prefer(s) not to have, and who think(s) a request would fail. im sure corrections will be swiftly made, as the error is swiftly clear.