There are a number of parks known for their unique landscape, but previously the Understand section did not provide an obvious place to include that information. Landscape may not be the best term (caves are really part of the Landscape) but something like "Natural features" seemed unwieldy. Of course, "Flora and fauna" is also a bit unwieldy, so if anyone has better suggestions feel free to make changes. -- Wrh2 13:30, 23 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Is this American English? It's a term that I've never heard used anywhere except on Wikitravel. It's kind of clear in context what it means, but it's going to result in a lot of repetition of definitions like "outside designated campsites" or something like that in non-American articles. Hypatia 15:07, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
It may be - in the US "backcountry" generally refers to undeveloped wilderness areas in an otherwise accessible area - the "backcountry" of Yosemite National Park is those areas that are not accessible using the park roads. In the context of the template it's meant to denote how (if at all) you can stay in the park outside of organized lodging or campgrounds. Is there a word that would be better for non-US readers, or can we leave it as-is with the idea that the purpose can be inferred from the fact that the other two headers are "Lodging" and "Camping"? -- Ryan 15:20, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
I have written quite a few park articles from scratch and confess I had no idea what this term meant. It is very American. I would be happy if it were removed from the standard template and folks can add it if they want.--Burmesedays 21:05, 5 January 2010 (EST)
Any suggestions for a more universal term? Something like "Backpacking" or "Trail camping"? The fact that Bear Grylls is known internationally is proof that Americans aren't the only ones silly enough to wander off into the woods with a tent strapped to their back, so there seems to be some need for this section :) -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:17, 5 January 2010 (EST)
I doubt we will find a better word. I personally think the need for it arises from the style of many U.S. parks where there is a big distinction made between visiting a park (done by hoards of millons) and visiting the less developed parts of the park (done by many fewer). I think the best bet might be to drop the requirement to use the heading at all in parks where the distinction isn't that great, or its use isn't appropriate to the park. Oh, and who is Bear Grylls? --inas 21:28, 5 January 2010 (EST)
Ah but Bear Grylls always takes a camera team and the requisite modern luxuries with him (ever wondered how those scenes are filmed and the camera team fed?) :).
Being a bit of a parky and mountainy person myself, I am not really sure I understand the difference between the existing Camping and the propsed Trail camping? Maybe that distinction exists mostly in the USA. If the camping sub-section is meant only for campsites (as the template says!) then it should be called Campsites. I have always included all camping options (organised or otherwise) in the camping sub-section. I am not seeing the need for a separate sub section for what many folks would regard as proper camping away from toilets and hot dog vendors. I propose changing the description of the Camping sub-section, rather than trying to find a name for non-organised camping. The section header followed by something like:
Listing of developed campsites within the park.
Name of Campground, Location (extra directions if necessary), phone number (email, fax, other contact if possible) . One to three sentences about reservations, the number of sites, amenities (shower, vehicle hookups), environment, what have you. $lowprice-$highprice (extra price info).
Also describe informal camping options within the park. Include information about restrictions on where you may or may not camp, known dangers, known water sources, what have you." --Burmesedays 21:49, 5 January 2010 (EST)
This term is standard U.S. park administration parlance referring to trekking off to camp by yourself as opposed to camping near other campers. Since many parks around the world don't allow the former, this is the first and most important thing I look at in any park article (to me, camping ain't camping if you're surrounded by people). So using a different, better understood term would be great, but I don't want to see the section omitted—if this type of camping is not an option, then I want to know in advance to avoid a disappointment. Either of Ryan's terms could work in the context of being in the sleep section; so could "Wilderness" or "Wilderness camping," I think. --PeterTalk 21:55, 5 January 2010 (EST)
In that case, I guess there is a cultural thing here and we do need to make a distinction for the benefit of American users, rather than to include proper camping with the "plug in your RV version". I would therefore suggest the existing Camping header is changed to "Campsites" and we use "Trail camping" for the other. --Burmesedays 22:05, 5 January 2010 (EST)
Changing the former to "Campsites" is definitely good, but trail camping doesn't quite capture the range of what I'm talking about—I'm not on a trail in the picture to the right. --PeterTalk 22:22, 5 January 2010 (EST)
The fact that you needed a picture to convey it, probably highlights the difficulty of putting it in a two-word heading :-) --inas 22:24, 5 January 2010 (EST)
It is never easy is it? :) Wilderness camping is wrong as in the world ex-USA, we are not talking about wilderness, rather just camping without facilities. If Trail camping doesn't do it, how about Informal camping? Lovely spot by the way Peter. --Burmesedays 22:35, 5 January 2010 (EST)
Maybe "Backcountry/Informal camping?" Backcountry is a good term for the Americans (and there are a surprisingly large number of us), while the second term might at least help to clarify for all others? --PeterTalk 23:02, 5 January 2010 (EST)
What about "Campsites" for the existing "Camping" heading, and "Backcountry/Wilderness camping" for the current "Backcountry" heading? As to this being an American-only thing, the parks I visited in Patagonia offered developed campgrounds while also allowing (with a permit) backpacking, so there are at at least a few non-US destinations where this distinction is valid. In US national parks it's particularly important due to the often different rules, regulations, fees, and preparation needed for backcountry camping vs. organized campgrounds. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:13, 5 January 2010 (EST)
There is no doubt that parks in other countries offer organised and informal camping Ryan. It is not so obvious to non-Americans though that these options require separate sub-sections in a travel guide (hence my earlier suggestion). I think we now all agree though after Peter's post that we should have different sub-sections. "Campsites" and "Informal/Backcountry Camping" make most sense to me. I do not think "Backcountry/Wilderness" is right as we are often not talking about wilderness (a very specific term), merely informal. --Burmesedays 23:44, 5 January 2010 (EST)
"Informal/Backcountry camping" works for me. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:54, 5 January 2010 (EST)
I just noticed that "Fees/permits" is included here as a top-level section header. That breaks our standard practice of using imperatives—any reason why it shouldn't simply be a subsection of "Get in?" --PeterTalk 15:09, 18 September 2009 (EDT)
That heading is a remnant of the very first draft of this template, created before Wikitravel had standardized headings. The three concerns I'd have about making it a sub-header of "Get in":
It would be a bit of work to update all of the park articles. That's not a huge concern, but it's worth pointing out.
Any change would need to be clear that "Fees/permits" is a REQUIRED sub-heading - it's important enough that it should always be there, even if the content is simply "There are no fees or permits required to visit this park."
The current heading encompasses more than just fees/permits for getting in to a park - some places add fees or require permits only for accessing specific areas or for specific activities. For example Carlsbad Caverns National Park charges extra fees for cave visits or ranger tours, so we'd need to be clear in how to address those scenarios. This information could be addressed under "Do", but it seems beneficial to have a section that clearly calls out what charges to expect for seeing/accessing the park.
Provided those concerns could be addressed then I'd support a change. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:58, 5 January 2010 (EST)
Point three is compelling. Perhaps it's best to leave this be. --PeterTalk 17:05, 5 January 2010 (EST)