Highway 60 in Algonquin Park is shown in August of 2019. Photo by James Wood/MyMuskokaNow.com staff
With the opening of backcountry camping, Ontario’s oldest provincial park is seeing an influx of reservations.
In an interview with MyMuskokaNow, Assistant Superintendent at Algonquin Rick Stronks says, since the province’s announcement, they’ve felt the impact in their backcountry bookings.
“When the announcement went through we saw quite an influx of bookings, certainly relative to the same period last year. We know people are pretty eager to get out and enjoy nature, and we want to make sure they do it in a way that aligns with recommendations.”
With the province gradually reintroducing camping in Ontario Parks – Algonquin has begun taking reservations to give people more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors while staying safe and practicing physical distancing.
No more than five people will be allowed to occupy a backcountry campsite during their stay unless they live in the same household.
Stronks says this will allow people to reconnect with nature in a careful and cautious way.
“For us, backcountry camping is a low-risk activity,” Stronks said. “Typically, campers are in small groups, fully equipped with their own supplies, and they don’t normally need a lot of facilities such as washrooms, showers or other amenities.”
The opening will impact access points, paddle and portage routes and backpacking trails.
As far as measures in the park, Stronks says they are taking all the proper precautions to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.
“We’re looking at the recommendations the health unit is putting out and trying to adjust our services that way. But we’re also counting on people to be responsible as well. So, when they are enjoying our parks, we want them to also follow public health measures such as physical distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, the closure of developed camping has been extended to June 14.
At this time, Stronks encourages people to make their reservations online.