If you’re reading this site, chances are you’ve got a yearning for the outdoors. But after years and years of trying to pry some of my friends out camping, I get that the idea of relying on your city-grown wits to navigate a weekend of tenting, lighting a fire, cooking on a camp stove, etc., can seem daunting to the uninitiated. Forget enjoying it – surviving it would be success by many people’s standards.
Well, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way, and Ontario Parks aims to provide that knowledge through their Learn to Camp program. I originally wrote about this program back in 2011 when they first introduced it, and I noticed the other day that they’ve now introduced a “graduate program”, that teaches more advanced camping techniques.
The original 1- or 2- night Overnight Camping Experience, aimed at the 25% of Ontarians who have never spent a night in the woods, provides:
- All the equipment required to camp (participants are responsible for food, sleeping bag, and personal items)
- A campsite for up to 6 participants, including children
- Scheduled learning sessions and family-friendly activities led by experienced staff
- Access to flush toilets, hot showers and safe drinking water
- Campfire treats
- Near Ottawa the course is available at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, plus: Emily Provincial Park, which is just west of Peterborough.
- 1 night / 2 day program: $86.00 +HST
- 2 night / 3 day program: $130.75 +HST
This is a great way for newbies to get started!
And now they can augment their skills further through Ontario Parks by trying the Independent Camping Experience.
The independent camping experience is offered only at Grundy Lake Provincial Park, a solid 5½ hour drive from Ottawa, past North Bay. A long drive maybe, but this experience is your opportunity to practice a camping trip on your own while still having access to all the equipment you need.
They give you the same gear and let you try camping anywhere from 1 to 7 whole nights, but you’ve still got to bring your own food, sleeping bag, and this time firewood and ice, too.
I love this initiative from Ontario Parks to get more people out camping, even though I know it means more crowded campsites – a major pet peeve of mine!
What do you think about this plan? Know someone who should sign up?