Ontario campers can’t wait to go as the province’s parks and campgrounds reopen

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Davis Moore and Isaac Sanderson look forward to spending their summer months outdoors now that the pandemic crisis is easing and Ontario’s campgrounds open.

The first step of Friday’s reopening in Ontario means that access is re-permitted to provincial parks and overnight camping.

Moore, from Paris, Ont., And Sanderson, from Sydenham, in the Kingston area, usually take porterage trips with their roommates and friends. These trips typically include a hike in the woods with a canoe, a swim in Ontario’s lakes, and nights at a new campground. It has been 10 months since they took a trip.

One memory stands out from their 80-kilometer, three-day hike in Algonquin Park last August.

“We tied our three canoes together and threaded a rope through the tarp. It worked really well as we sailed from the lake access point to the northwest about an hour and a half faster than if we had to paddle, ”Moore recalls.

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On the same trip, Sanderson remembers when their group was left alone on an island and found a rope swing. He said it was “one of the best nights of our lives”.

Another highlight of this adventure: before finding their island with ropes, the group had to fight against a strong wind to cross the lake.

“We paddled through the biggest waves and strongest winds I have ever seen,” said Sanderson. “We had two friends with us who were less experienced paddlers and the look on their faces after the short one mile paddle in the wind was hilarious. Next time we go, we’ll be careful not to bring the two less experienced paddlers together in a canoe.

Sanderson and Moore both said they were very happy with the announcement of the reopening and keen to start planning a trip.

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A scene from an adventure in Algonquin Park last August with Davis Moore, Issac Sanderson and friends.  Davis Moore / Supplied / Current Capital
A scene from an adventure in Algonquin Park last August with Davis Moore, Issac Sanderson and friends. Davis Moore / Supplied / Current Capital Photo by Davis Moore / /Supplied / Current Capital

“I plan to take advantage of the reopening,” Moore said. “I will likely start considering trips to Bon Echo and Algonquin shortly as restrictions ease and the weather warms.”

Sanderson will also be planning a trip later this summer to enjoy the return to the great outdoors. “Many campers and travelers take advantage of this time of year to enjoy the outdoors and lead trips for young people,” he said.

For them, camping and canoeing is a great opportunity to relax and get away from their normal life.

“I love the feeling of being separated from the business of our life. Being in nature allows me to slow down and take the time to live in the moment and appreciate my surroundings, especially when I go out with friends or family, ”said Moore. “I feel like I have nothing to worry about in the world. It is a very stress free state of mind and feeling.

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Sanderson agreed. “I take these trips for new experiences and to get away from it all,” he said.

The two said they were eager to make more memories with their friends this summer.

Moore said he wished he could go on a trip in May after completing his third-year college exams. But Sanderson said the pandemic spring restrictions didn’t affect him too much because he didn’t camp much this time of year.

“I felt the restrictions were unnecessary. Personally, I didn’t feel at risk of contracting COVID-19 when I went camping last summer during the pandemic, ”Moore said.

Sanderson said he understood the closure of some parks, such as Sandbanks near Picton, which sees hundreds of daily users. But he believes the recent COVID-19 bans could have been more selective.

“I felt like a backcountry park like Algonquin didn’t offer high risk to its users because it’s so large and uncrowded,” Sanderson said. “Perhaps it could have been slightly more selective rather than a park-wide closure.”

Moore added, “I am very excited for my next trip. It’s been almost a year since the last one, so I can’t wait to go back, ”says Moore.

This story also appears in Current Capital, the community news site run by the Carleton University Journalism Program.

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