Major change made for campers at popular Ontario Provincial Parks in 2023

Campers used to being able to book three-week trips at an Ontario provincial park may have to adjust their plans this summer.

Starting in 2023, the maximum length a group can stay at some of the busiest Ontario parks will be reduced from 23 nights to seven of 14 nights between the Canada Day and Labour Day long weekends.

The new rules do not apply to backcountry and roofed accommodations.

The change was announced in a letter sent to park users on Monday.

“With reservations on the rise, it has become more difficult for people to make reservations at some of our busier parks,” the letter says. “Reducing the maximum length of stay at select parks will provide more people with the chance to camp and experience Ontario’s Parks.”

Over the last two years, demand for campsites in Ontario has increased drastically. Some experts attributed this to the public health measures put in place during the pandemic, in which residents were being urged to stay home except for essential reasons.

Sites at campgrounds started to fill up months earlier than normal. Some campers even started mass-booking sites, only to cancel or reschedule them at a later date. Residents noted that some of these permits were resold on sites like Kijiji.

In August 2021, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks vowed to clamp down on campers reselling sites for profit.

Ontario Parks says that camping has grown steadily over the last several years, from 4.3 million campers in 2014 to 6.6 million campers in 2021.

The maximum length changes only apply to select parks, but most appear to be popular and busy destinations.

There also may be flexibility for longer stays for trips that overlap with the two long weekends.

Here is a full list of Ontario parks that will be changing their maximum length policies:

Parks where campers can book for a maximum of seven nights during peak summer:

  • Algonquin
  • Bon Echo
  • Killbear
  • Pinery
  • Sandbanks

Parks where campers can book for a maximum of 14 nights during peak summer:

  • Arrowhead
  • Awenda
  • Balsam Lake
  • Bass Lake
  • Blue Lake
  • Bonnechere
  • Charleston Lake
  • Chutes
  • Craigleith
  • Darlington
  • Driftwood
  • Earl Rowe
  • Emily
  • Esker Lakes
  • Fairbank
  • Finlayson Point
  • Fitzroy
  • Fushimi Lake
  • Grundy Lake
  • Halfway Lake
  • Inverhuron
  • Ivanhoe Lake
  • Kap-Kig-Iwan
  • Kettle Lakes
  • Killarney
  • Lake St. Peter
  • Lake Superior
  • Long Point
  • MacGregor Point
  • Mara
  • Marten River
  • McRae Point
  • Mikisew
  • Mississagi
  • Murphys Point
  • Nagagamisis
  • Neys
  • Oastler Lake
  • Pancake Bay
  • Point Farms
  • Port Burwell
  • Presqu’ile
  • Quetico
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Rene Brunelle
  • Restoule
  • Rideau River
  • Rock Point
  • Rondeau
  • Rushing River
  • Samuel de Champlain
  • Sauble Falls
  • Selkirk
  • Sharbot Lake
  • Sibbald Point
  • Silent Lake
  • Silver Lake
  • Six Mile Lake
  • Sleeping Giant
  • Sturgeon Bay
  • Turkey Point
  • Wheatley
  • Windy Lake

The maximum length of stay remains 23 nights for all other provincial parks

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