Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ's


Can I run a small generator on my RV in the National Parks?

Yes, but there is proper etiquette not to disturb others. Do not run your generator before 10AM and after 7PM. If your generator is a loud older model, expect to have your day ruined. Inside the National Parks generator use is now limited to between 9AM -10:30AM and 5PM to 7PM daily.

Can I pitch a tent anywhere in the National Parks backcountry?

No, backcountry permits are required for designated backcountry campgrounds. There are a few areas that allow random camping. Search the National Parks web sites for details. Banff National Park or Jasper National Park.

Can you send us some maps and guides for the local area along with motels, B&B's and other accommodations?

Try contacting local government agencies such as Travel Alberta.

Do you have a camping check list?

Yes, there is extensive camping checklist here.

Who took all the pictures found on ?

Mark Townsend took all the photographs found on this site in their natural location. None of the pictures have been staged or propped.

How much does a National Park Pass cost?

Current National Park Pass costs can be found here.

How do you make reservations for campgrounds?

Use the official web site links that can be found on all the Campground pages listed on this site. Not all campgrounds take reservations. You'll need to check the official web site for details. More info here.

How did you take those pictures of mushrooms, lichens, fossils, etc.?

I leave the camera's Macro setting on and carry the camera in my back pocket or my jacket breast pocket for quick access. I pickup a short stick or rock to rest the camera on for stability. I find that the easier it is to access the camera the more pictures I take. Also frequent stopping to dig through a pack can be very annoying to others you're hiking with.

Is a motor home or trailer better?

Both have pluses and minuses and are often debated. In my opinion a motor home is for road trips and touring and is the best option for tourists. A holiday trailer can also be used for touring and is better suited for spending more time in one area. The holiday trailer allows you to leave your temporary home in one spot and then tour around with the tow vehicle. You can also carry more gear. If you're staying in a motor home and need to or want to go anywhere you'll have to break camp. However, if you're a tourist planning a holiday the motor home is a perfect solution as you'll be on the move from one campground to the next. Rental (insurance) would be cheaper as there is only one vehicle involved. The National Parks are full of rented motor homes and are perfect for touring the parks.


Is that mushroom I viewed on your web site edible?

I'm never sure which ones are edible, but I do know for sure that several of them are poisonous and if eaten or even handled can lead to a gruesome death. See the NAMA web site for poisoning details. I did complete a mushroom picking & identification course. This certainly made me realize that eating wild mushrooms is a risky endeavor. Wondering if I was going to get sick or die after eating what I had picked just took the fun out of it. I could never enjoy a meal with wild mushrooms, especially if wine is served since some mushrooms react badly to alcohol. Although mushrooms are very interesting to look at, the microscopic spores found on the gills can contain serious toxins. Wash your hands well after handling wild mushrooms. I quote a mycologist who said the following "Fungal species are too numerous to identify and no one can claim to be an expert. There are several deadly look-alikes and some have not even been documented". The deadly look-alikes could be your last dinner.

What do you camp in?

We camp in an 8.5 meter (28 foot) holiday trailer. Any RV over 8.5 meters (28 feet) will severely limit it's use. Most campgrounds will fit an 8.5 meter (28 foot) trailer comfortably. For over 20 years we camped in a tent and in some areas we miss it. Backcountry tenting in the National Parks can be a rewarding experience to say the least. We have found over the years, that we enjoy ourselves much more with a few comfortable amenities. There is a lot to be said about a heated recreational vehicle after spending a long day out in the rain. When backpacking I use a good quality 3-4 season tent.

What do you take with you to eat?

With a holiday trailer or RV, you can take and eat anything that you would find at home.

When do you start camping?

Early April to Late October. You could start earlier and go later but the night time temperature will drop below zero. This of course is not a problem when camping but can freeze the trailer pipes when not in use. I winterize our trailer at the end of October and de-winterize in April. Most of the National Park campgrounds close in mid-September. There are still several nice campgrounds located throughout the Rocky Mountains outside of the National Parks. I've included an official web site link for open and closed dates on all the individual campgrounds indexed on this web site. This web site has an interesting 'Calgary Seasons' page showing photographs the 1st of each month for a one year period that will give you a good idea of the monthly temperature and conditions. If you're planning a trip to Alberta I would come between June15th and September 30th. Early spring and late fall can be colder but considerably less crowded.

Where can I get a fishing license?

The National Parks and the province of Alberta require a separate fishing license. If you want to go fishing outside of the National Parks you will need an Alberta Fishing License. This license can be obtained online or at most sporting goods stores. Larger store chains such as Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire also sell provincial fishing licenses. If you want to go fishing in the National Parks you will require a National Parks Fishing Permit. This license can be obtained inside the National Parks at information centers, ranger stations, hot  pools, larger campground kiosks as well as some local retail outlets.

Are you afraid of Bears?

No. Fatal bear encounters are extremely rare and I don't let the fear of one ruin an outing. However I'm certainly aware of the dangers and do all I can to avoid one. See 'Hiking and venturing into bear country'.