Stop Ontario Parks Backcountry Camping Fee Changes

Sign the Petition: http://chng.it/8kLdx9DKtG

Summary of backcountry fees for 2021: https://www.ontarioparks.com/fees/bac…

2020 thread on MyCCR: https://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/view…​ 2021 thread on MyCCR: https://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/view…

GOVERNMENT POLICYMAKERS TO EMAIL: Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) Inbox: minister.mecp@ontario.ca MECP Minister Direct Email: jeff.yurek@pc.ola.org Superintendent for Temagami: kevin.pinkerton@ontario.ca Superintendent for the Massassauga: mike.foley@ontario.ca The individual directing this rollout: greg.wake@ontario.ca Find and email your MPP here: https://www.ola.org/en/members/curren…​ Copy and paste all here: minister.mecp@ontario.ca; jeff.yurek@pc.ola.org; kevin.pinkerton@ontario.ca; mike.foley@ontario.ca; greg.wake@ontario.ca EMAIL

Last April, a flat-rate price was adopted for the backcountry in some parks namely the Temagami cluster of parks, where a backcountry site now costs $32.50/night regardless of party size, and in The Massasagua Provincial Park where it’s $40.75. Instead of paying ~$9/person for backcountry sites like in most parks, it’s now this flat rate. (This is before HST and the $10 reservation fee.) So for a soloist, the price is as much as quadruple what it would normally be, and double what it would be for a party of two. If you’re a group of larger than three, you stand to pay less (which seems odd in the pandemic). Small groups pay more, larger groups pay less. Why introduce a policy that penalizes soloists? Imagine charging a flat rate for an amusement park or move theatre. $50 for a single person, and $50 for the group of nine. How can that be rationalized? We’ve been told that Ontario Parks (OP) is “streamlining” the backcountry fee structure across the province. Does streamlining mean financially discriminating against soloists and small parties so that OP’s backcountry becomes unaffordable for them? This flat rate for the backcountry now approaches the cost of a car camping campsite! Front-country sites require significantly more staffing, infrastructure, washrooms, paved roads, signage, etc. These fees are not justifiable when a backcountry site may have no infrastructure at all, and given how little funding there is for maintenance of routes from the province. I realize there are some costs in maintaining backcountry routes, but they can’t be close to the costs of campground sites, so why is the price? This is a two year trial set to end April 2022, but the really concerning part is that it sounds like this pricing is going to be phased in elsewhere in the OP system. I support Ontario Parks’ quest for financial self-sufficiency, but it should not be on the backs of soloists and small parties. If additional revenue is needed, that burden should be distributed proportionately across all rate payers and revenue streams. The pricing for our wilderness parks should make them financially accessible for all. This non-tiered pricing is creating a barrier for people who are alone or in small groups, turning our parks and wilderness from a public resource into something for the wealthy. A flat rate is not an effective or fair policy, and the pricing should revert to a per-person basis.

Sign the petition: http://chng.it/8kLdx9DKtG

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