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Monitoring - Human Use

Firth River Campsite Monitoring

Rationale

Wolf Tors campsite.
Wolf Tors campsite.
© Parks Canada

Approximately 80 percent of park visitors use some of the 35 campsites along the Firth River in Ivvavik National Park every year. A number of these sites are used repeatedly each summer by large groups of people. Potential impacts to these campsites from human use include damage to vegetation, soil erosion and improper disposal of human waste and garbage. All of these impacts can affect the park environment and the quality of the wilderness experience for park visitors. Campsites along the Firth River are monitored annually to identify impacts from human use, and to determine if sites should be closed and restored.

Objectives

  • To identify and track human caused impacts to campsites along the Firth River.
  • To provide park managers with information necessary to make decisions about campsite closures and restoration.

Methods and Information Collected

  • Thirty-five campsites are monitored along the Firth River between Margaret Lake and Nunaluk Spit.
  • Campsite monitoring is conducted in the spring and in the fall every year.
  • The monitoring focuses on campsites that are not affected by seasonal spring flooding. These campsites are generally located upstream and downstream of the canyon section of the river. Campsites in the canyon section of the river that receive frequent use by large groups are also monitored.
  • Spring monitoring occurs before the first visitor trip. This monitoring is conducted to identify wildlife threats or concerns, such as wildlife carcasses near the site and active nest or den sites in the area.
  • Fall monitoring is conducted to identify impacts resulting from human use of campsites during the summer. This involves comparing the composition and density of the vegetation at the campsite with the surrounding area, determining the presence and extent of bare soil, bank erosion, trails and root exposure caused by human use of the site, identifying damage to vegetation in the surrounding area and removing any waste or garbage left by people.
  • Photo monitoring points were established and photos taken at every campsite. These photos help with monitoring vegetation cover, and other changes to the campsite. Daubermire squares are used for measuring plant cover in areas that have been impacted the most.
  • A campsite reporting program began in 2000, asking park visitors which campsites they used. This information is used by Parks Canada to identify which campsites are likely to be most impacted by human use.

Results

  • Camping at Eagle Nest campsite on the Firth River,  Ivvavik National Park.
    Camping at Eagle Nest campsite on the Firth River, Ivvavik National Park.
    © Parks Canada
    Campsites were monitored in the spring from June 12 - 23, 2003 and in the fall from August 21 to September 12, 2003.
  • Cut firewood was found at the Crooked Creek campsite and 2 campsites were found to have distinct trails starting to form above the high water level.

Years of Data

  • 1997-ongoing

Funding

  • Parks Canada

Data Location

  • Parks Canada, Inuvik