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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Comforts of camping in the woods, by the lake in Ontario Parks

   One-Tank Trip for June 28/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Camping out in the woods was never like this.
   Taking a page from glamping – or camping with glamour – five Ontario Parks now offer new roofed accommodations and there’s a pilot project creating more options.
   No more pitching a canvas tent or sleeping on the ground, as these cabins, cottages, yurts and even lodges take camping to a higher, more-comfortable level.
Visitors to Finlayson Point Provincial Park can stay in a cottage by the water. (Ontario Parks)
   The roofed accommodations are “popular,” said Lori Waldbrook, senior marketing specialist for Ontario Parks.
   “The accommodations appeal to visitors who want a little extra comfort and they attract new visitors who may not have camping equipment” she said.
   They are also ideal for dedicated summer campers who want to try visiting in the colder months while staying warm and dry.

   Suiting your nature
   Anglers are enjoying the new cabin at Fushimi Lake Provincial Park, north of Hearst, while Finlayson Point, near Temagami, and Bon Echo, north of Kaladar, also have new cabins.
   A new backcountry cabin accessible only by water has also opened at Charleston Lake park near Brockville.
   Additional options are becoming available this summer in a pilot project to test new types of roofed accommodation at three parks: Arrowhead (Huntsville); Murphys Point (Perth) and Pinery (Grand Bend).
   Three types of accommodations are available:
Deluxe tents are now available for campers at Arrowhead Provincial Park. (Ontario Parks)
   - Deluxe Tents are a reminder of the canvas prospector’s tent that sits on a wooden platform and is equipped with rustic log furniture and two queen-size beds with comfortable mattresses.
   A kitchenette includes a mini refrigerator, coffee maker and counter space while there’s an outside gas barbeque.
   - Camp Cabins consist of one room that sleeps five with a queen-size bed and double/single bunk, all with comfortable mattresses.
   There’s also a kitchenette, propane/electric fireplace and outside gas barbeque along with a screened-in porch for bug-free space.
   - Deluxe Yurts are an expanded version of the existing Ontario Parks’ version with additional floor space and an entrance vestibule.
   It sleeps five with a queen-size bed and double/single bunk and has the kitchenette and gas barbeque.

   Cabins, cottages, heritage houses, lodges
   Overnight accommodation options now available are varied at other parks across the province.
   - Backcountry Cabins: The Ranger Cabins in Algonquin, northwest of Huntsville, were built in the early 1900s for use by park workers.
   The Jacques Cottage is available for overnight stays at Sandbanks Provincial Park. (Ontario Parks)
   These log cabins have been refurbished to provide a “unique shelter” for visitors, with most only accessible by canoe or portage but a few can be reached by road.
   They offer basic amenities including sleeping platforms without mattresses, table and chairs and an outside closed-in toilet.
   -  Rustic Cabins: These are a little more spacious than yurts with a few more features.
   At Bonnechere in Killaloe, four cabins are along the banks of the Bonnechere River with each having rustic pine decor, two bedrooms, kitchen and a sitting area. The Cabin on the Hill at Bon Echo is from the 1870s.
   - Cottages/Heritage Houses: These are former private cottages, a large farmhouse and a superintendent’s house.
   The Maple Rest Heritage House at Sandbanks at Prince Edward was once a farmhouse and has four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and a gas fireplace, screened porch and other amenities.
   The cottage at Balsam Lake in Kirkfield was once home to the park superintendent while the Stone Cottage at Awenda, northwest of Penetanguishene, has a private beach overlooking Georgian Bay.
   Finlayson Point and Sturgeon Bay (Point au Baril) parks also offer these facilities.
   - Lodges: Killbear (Parry Sound District) and Sleeping Giant (east of Thunder Bay) have well-appointed lodges available from September to late spring, that sleep more than 30 people in double-occupancy rooms.
   Common areas include a modern kitchen and living and dining space.
Kids enjoy the bunk beds in the roofed cottages at Murphys Point Provincial Park. (Ontario Parks)
   - Yurts: These round tent-like structures for up to six people are mounted on a wooden deck floor and offer electric heat.
   They have windows and are furnished with two sets of bunk beds and a small dining table while outside is a propane barbeque, picnic table and fire pit.
   There’s a “comfort station” nearby and some yurts are heated and have electricity.
   Yurts are available at Algonquin; Bon Echo, Bronte Creek; Charleston Lake; Killarney; MacGregor Point; Pancake Bay; Pinery; Quetico; Silent Lake; and Windy Lake.
   For more information or reservations: www.ontarioparks.com; 1-888-ONT-PARK (1-888-668-7275)


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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