Backcountry campers petition change

by Steve Galea | May 17, 2021
Camping in a Forest. Late Evening on a Camp Site. Green Illuminated Tent Between Spruce Trees.

An online petition opposing a Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP) pilot project that has increased the cost of backcountry camping by as much as 400% in Massasauga Provincial Park and the Temagami cluster of parks is gaining support.

The Change.org petition started by Hugh Carey in April 2020 is asking MECP Minister Jeff Yurek to abandon the pilot project model. It had more than 10,000 signatures as of press time.

As the 2021 canoe trip season approaches, paddlers who have seen the daily rate of regular backcountry permits rise from a base rate of approximately $10 per person to $32.50 in the Temagami parks and $40.75 in Massasauga Provincial Park, excluding HST, point out the price of backcountry camping is now prohibitively expensive for solo campers and those who travel in pairs, and not in line with park amenities provided in the backcountry sites.

MECP says the change in pricing will benefit larger groups who venture in the backcountry. The pilot project will run until the end of the 2021 camping season. After that, a decision will be made based on usage that might be applied across Ontario’s Park system.

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