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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Ontario Parks' campgrounds are coming to life after a dormant, cold winter


   One-Tank Trip for April 27-19
  
     (c) By Jim Fox

   Campers are getting ready to come out of hibernation after a long, cold winter.
   Roughing it in the wilderness beside a lake, stream or river is entrenched in the Canadian psyche and, for newbies, there couldn’t be a better time to learn all about it.
   Trading the urban wilderness for the wilds of the woods isn’t all that difficult and Ontario Parks can help with its Learn to Camp program.
These campsites will soon be filled in Ontario Parks. (Barbara Fox photo)
    Family camping is one of the great summer traditions, with the launch of the season traditionally on the coming Victoria Day holiday weekend.
   Ontario has more than 100 provincial parks that offer drive-up camping, with most parks open from late spring (May or June) until fall (Labour Day or Thanksgiving weekend).
   For those hardy souls, parks such as Algonquin, MacGregor Point, Pinery and Killarney offer camping year-round.
Some people like to “camp” with the comforts of home at McRae Point Provincial Park near Orillia. (Jim Fox photo)
    Here’s how
   For anyone interested but not sure where to begin, the Learn to Camp program can help, said  Jeff Brown of Ontario Parks.
   “Reservations open on May 6 for this popular program that teaches first-timers the basics of camping at overnight programs offered in June, July and August,” he said.
   Participants are provided with the equipment and instruction to pitch a tent, build a campfire, make classic camping treats and more.
    “With more than 20,000 participants to date, the program continues to help create family memories that last a lifetime,” Brown said.
   Ontario Parks offers a variety of “roofed accommodations” including backcountry and camp cabins, deluxe furnished tents built on a wooden platform, yurts, lodges, cottages, cabins and heritage houses.

   What’s happening
   Among the upcoming activities are migrating bird festivals.
   - Rondeau Provincial Park’s Festival of Flight from May 1 to 19 features guided walks with naturalists and birding experts along with breakfast and lunch for participants.
   - Pinery Provincial Park hosts its annual Migration Weekend from May 17 to 20 to join park naturalists, local birders and banders mark the arrival of colourful birds and signs of spring.
   - Frontenac Provincial Park has a Spring Nature Walk on May 4 to examine plant and animal life along the Doe Lake Trail.

A couple heads out to do some fishing from a provincial park dock. (Jim Fox photo)
   - Algonquin Provincial Park has some of the best viewing opportunities for beavers in the spring exploring the many ponds and ice ledges.
   The recent Earth Day was marked by volunteers helping to “restore and maintain” several parks.
   Visitors now are urged to “try a new environmentally friendly workout trend” called plogging – a combination of jogging and picking up litter.
   “Take some time to explore Ontario Parks – with more than 330 parks, covering nine-million hectares that attract 10-million visits each year,” Brown said.
   Reservations can be made at ontarioparks.com/reservations; 1-888-ONT-PARK (1-888-668-7275).

   Camping week
   The fifth annual Canadian RVing and Camping Week returns May 21 to 25 at “select campgrounds” across Canada.
   Developed by Go RVing Canada and the Canadian Camping and RV Council, it marks the start of the camping season.
Trilliums, Ontario’s official flower, will soon be in bloom at provincial parks. (Jim Fox photo)
    Participating campgrounds will be offering specials and discounted rates for reservations made on those dates.
   For a list of the planned events, activities, promotions and participating campgrounds, visit campincanada.ca

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

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