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PostPosted: January 16th, 2012, 3:08 pm 
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Location: Peterborough
Hi everyone,

I thought that I would cross post this from Alqonuin Adventures forum as I think myccr may be frequented a bit more.

Hi there,

I was just curious, has there ever been any discussion by parks about reducing the winter camping fees in Provincial Parks?

I know they still have to have staff, operating costs etc. but I have always thought it would be great if places such as Algonqin Mew Lake could offer an "off-season" rate to encourage more people to learn about and embrace the off seasons.
There are less people, less amenities, less programing, less daylight, no fishing etc...It would be a great perk to pay less money to pitch a tent on snow in one of the campgrounds.
Particularly in light of the new planned winter weekend. It would be sooo much more affordable to have a reduced seasonal rate. The current $50+ a night in winter to shiver in a tent is pretty steep (the yurts book up sooo fast, and a lot of us can't afford a hot tent setup).

If they had $20 a night, even $30 a night off season fee it would be far more of an incentive to learn more about winter camping and enjoy the park at that time of year.

Thats just my lightbulb idea today...


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2012, 8:55 pm 
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Location: Cambridge Ontario
When we camped at Mew in winter some of the tenters had plugged heaters into the hydro to stay warm. The comfort station is also heated to provide running water. I would imagine the cost of that along with snow plowing of sites and roads keep the cost of camping the same as summer.

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2012, 12:38 pm 
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And I might add to Splashdancers comment..... they also have someone there in Mew Lake Campground, camping out in an RV, to help the other campers in case they have a problem. I don't think they get paid, but the park supplies them wood, along with a park truck to use, to haul wood and get other vehicles started when necessary. I think they might also clean up the washrooms and clear the walkways around the building all in exchange for no camping fees.

One year, I was surprised to find the hosts were an American couple from Maine who had volunteered. Another year it was a couple from Kingston in a 5th wheel RV.


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2012, 12:59 pm 
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Fifty dollars plus does seem like a lot to pay for camping next to a highway with the truck noise, along with the noise from other campers... the appeal in Algonquin is the quiet in the interior (no snowmobiles allowed unlike crown land) so I don't think I'd be willing to pay, unless I needed the electric heat.

Most of the parking lots at the roadside trails are ploughed out during winter and as long as it doesn't get too cold, shouldn't be too bad with interior travel permits... maybe wait until the weather warms a bit late Feb-March.

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PostPosted: January 18th, 2012, 11:23 am 
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Location: Guelph, ON
I have to agree with Frozen tripper. $50/night is a lot. But if you are just starting out winter camping it offers a way to try it out, at low risk, in case you do run into a problem.


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PostPosted: January 18th, 2012, 2:20 pm 
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Ok, made me look...

it's not quite $50.00 a night, but close.

http://www.parkreports.com/fees/camping/2011

Electrical (Regular) $40.71 HST $5.29 Total $46.00
(Non-electrical Regular) $35.84 HST $4.66 Total $40.50
(Non-electrical, no showers Regular) $34.51 HST $4.49 Total $39.00

It would be much cheaper to pay for backcountry camping, launching from Mew Lake, if you're not going to need an electrical campsite.

I definitely think the cost of maintaining the campgrounds in winter would be more expensive.

That said, I'm stunned at the cost of campground camping. I guess it's a lot cheaper than even the cheapest motel, though, and probably a lot cleaner.

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PostPosted: January 18th, 2012, 2:24 pm 
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And something that one should keep in mind, if you're depending on "electric" anything, including the yurts...

you would need a Plan B should another storm come along and knock out the hydro as is quite common.

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PostPosted: January 18th, 2012, 2:44 pm 
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We were at Mew a few weeks ago, and you could camp on the non-electric sites and use the privy there.

The Hosts were from Belleville, and very busy keeping and eye on things (someone had to, as there were some 40 something yahoo's party it up on Friday night and they absolutely trashed a yurt and the site- I guess their satellit TV got them wound up), looking after the yurts etc. These Hosts have also put in a skating ring in the parking lot by the comfort station.

Off topic - we did see wolf tracks, and there are at least 6 pine martins running around Mew, and they will find you. Lots and lots of birds, and I was surprised to see so many Blue Jays along with the Grey Jays)

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PostPosted: January 21st, 2012, 12:33 am 
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WHAT?? There are camp grounds OPEN during the winter?? With electrical?? WOW!! That's really cool!!

I recently camped for a couple of nights on Kiosk, but the road was not ploughed (why doesn't that spelling look right??) Anyway we just drove in with our fingers crossed that we wouldn't get stuck, and set out by snowshoe trailing our sleds of gear behind us. Was -25 one night, but we found plenty of dry cedar for a great fire and plenty of beer for cheer.

But to camp where there's electrical? That's cool. I'd like to try that. Maybe bring the kids, and have heat in the tent all night.

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