Ontario Parks Backcountry Camping, Pilot Fee Structuring System. Is it Fair for Everyone?

In April of 2020, Ontario Parks implemented a 2 year pilot fee structuring system for select backcountry Provincial Parks that follows the lead of their car camping fee structure. The old system was a fee system that was a pay per person, per day and the new pilot system is a flat rate per campsite, per day system not to mention the booking fee and applicable taxes.

The parks that are currently affected by this pilot fee system are the Massasauga Provincial Park and the Temagami Cluster of Provincial Parks.

Despite both fee structuring systems being so different, both are flawed and unfair to all or most backcountry campers. For the old system of pay per person per day made using the backcountry for canoe, kayak and backpacking trips expensive for larger groups of 4 or more people. The new system of the flat rate per site, per day is beneficial to larger groups but it impacts the smaller groups of solo and tandem paddlers at 200% – 400% increase putting it out of reach for many of the smaller groups.

This pilot project has caused quite a stir and many people are looking to voice their opinions as neither system seems to be a fair fit for the masses. There are many great arguments on both sides of the fence and Ontario Parks needs to address these issues to come up with a fair system before they roll these fee structuring systems out to all the other operating backcountry Provincial Parks.

There is currently an online petition circulating to put the stop to this Flat Rate Pay Per Site Per Day Fee… if you are interested in signing this petition, Click Here

In the meantime, on March 23rd, 2021 Canoehound’s Outdoor Adventure Show featured a show on this topic with Special Guests, Hap Wilson, Brad Jennings (YouTube, Explore the Backcountry) and Jonathan Ontario (YouTube, Lost Lakes). We discussed many of the scenarios and some of the politics of the current and pilot system. This show is well worth the watch time. The show also featured many viewers who also gave their opinions and fronted many fantastic questions. If you would like to view the show… Click Here

No matter how you look at it, fees for camping in Ontario’s Provincial Parks will always be in existence as Ontario Parks is trying to be 100% self sufficient financially. But they still need to do this in a fair and just manor that suits all users of the backcountry parks.

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