Quetico Campsites- Star Rating

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On a trip to Quetico this summer, the first time we'd been, our trip partners had maps from an outfitter with campsites marked and a star rating for each one. Although at first this seemed a good thing I came to develop a love hate relationship with these ratings

We often couldn't figure out why some sites only rated a 3 while others rated 5. It seemed rather arbitrary and liable to change over time and with water level that could impact ease of landing etc.

Paddlers are drawn to sites with higher scores potentially leading to lower scoring sites being neglected and overgrown after a few years. Once a site becomes overgrown it seems to be against the rules to clear vegetation so a site would then be lost unless park staff come out to maintain sites.

Any thoughts? Do these these ratings exist outside the rental world?
 
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BV, Quetico doesn't have formally designated campsites so AFAIK you can camp wherever you want... unless something has changed recently. Camping at a site where no camping has been done previously will mean some vegetation will probably be affected unless it is on bedrock... you might want to email the park to get some clarification on this.
 
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Several web sites and BEJ have ratings but the rater may value things differently than you. I want LEVEL tent pads and open to breeze and sun, and couldn't care at all about landing. Camped once in Q where it had not been used before - sort of emergency - not fun and not really in spirit of LNT. Ultimately I may make some notes on my maps of good ratings but probably use them less than half the time.
 
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The outfitter might need to explain their rating system. We probably all have different campsite / tripping values as per our preferences and expectations. Personally I would've ignored their rating system and evaluated them myself on the go.
 
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Yes, we pretty much ignored the ratings. With two small tents we were able to make good use of sites that other might ignore.
Although they say you can camp anywhere other policies do tend to contradict this. I had to take down three standing dead trees this weekend at a Crownlands site, the only flat camping spot was just a little too at risk of a tree falling in the night.
I'm not usually too worried about landings but I do usually like a site that has good access whatever the wind direction and our companions were looking for good access for swimming.
 
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We rate campsites while on family trips for future coming-back reference. Not “star ratings”, but scored on seven different criteria that are important on summer family trips, each criteria rating earns 1, 2 or maximum 3 points on our scale:

Tent Capacity. One tent, two tents, three of more tents. We need space for three tents on family trips.

Landing Ease & Canoe Space – Four solo canoes to unload , carry up, flip over somewhere on shore for the night.

Views and Water Proximity – We all enjoy a water-view breeze, and don’t need to bushwhack gear 200 yards to camp.

Bugginess – Summer trips. We don’t use a screen house. Nuff said.

Swimming Potential – My wife and sons prefer freshwater to chlorine, and will spend much of the day swimming.

Site Wanderability – Hiking or just taking a stroll from camp can be important. Please do wander off and leave me in quiet.

Sun & Shade – The only rating that is scored 1 or 2 points. The missus needs sun, I need shade; 1 point for one (unacceptable) option, 2 points for a combination.

The cumulative possible point total, times 5, would equal a “perfect” site, six 3’s, and a sun/shade max 2, times five, would equal 100%.

We each rate the criteria individually, compare notes and, after some discussion (and occasionally minor democratic, majority rules debate), arrive at a final agreed upon 1-2-3 score for each criteria. More discussion than debate; our individual rankings have always been very close. We have gone back and re-rated sites on later trips; no site has yet changed more than 5% on revisitation.

OK, we are not just doing site evalluations for future reference; stopping at unoccupied sites for a ratings looksee and discussion quickly became an enjoyable family tradition. Scoring every single site on Little Tupper, Rock Pond and Round Lake took a few years, but we were eager for that challenge. Other places too.

There are, so far, no pure nirvana 100’s. But we have found a bunch of delightful 90’s and 95’s. Other tripper’s site preference criteria might be very different from those family desires; “Privacy”, “Quietude”, Pristine-ness” or “Aloneness”. “Firewood availability” or “Portage” remarks. Whatever floats your boat to an A+ site.

Someone else might be able to remember each and every specific about different sites over the years of hazy memory. I’m not that someone; I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday. I have recently been struck, when going back to places I hadn’t visited in some years, about how different the actual appearance was from the (sometimes enhanced) image I held in memory.

Yeah, yeah, all of those site rating criteria are on a spreadsheet, with macros for the Total Score and Perfect Score. If I go out solo tripping, or go off-season, I can extrapolate the score for my single tent, single canoe, or for cold weather no swimming/no bugs evaluation.

A site rating record also depends on where. In places with an abundance of possible sites an annotated map and some handy printed reference reminder is convenient. On long downriver trips sometimes more than just convenient. “Hey, wait, just above that last fastwater back there, wasn’t that the awesome spot where we stopped 3 years ago?”. Nice spot, oops, too late now, carry on.
 
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