Discover camping, nature this summer with Ontario Parks

These people learned how to camp last summer through the innovative program offered by Ontario...

These people learned how to camp last summer through the innovative program offered by Ontario Parks. (Courtesy Ontario Parks)

Jim Fox, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:21 PM ET

With the onset of warmer weather, it’s time to get out and about with Ontario Parks’ Learn to Camp program.

“This hands-on training is exactly what new campers look for in their first camping experience,” said program coordinator Jeff Brown.

Learn to Camp teaches newbies how to pitch a tent, build a campfire safely and cook on a camp stove. Park staff members lead the overnight experiences, with all camping and cooking equipment provided. Participants just need to bring along their own food and bedding and choose between one night or two in the wilds.

The program, offered between June and September, is available at Bronte Creek, Darlington, Earl Rowe, Emily, Grundy Lake, Murphys Point, Selkirk, Sibbald Point and Six Mile Lake provincial parks.

The fee is $80 for a group of up to six people and $123.75 for two nights, plus tax. Book early at ontarioparks.com/learntocamp

FISH LIKE A PRO

Join one of three summer trout fishing workshops in Ontario Parks' Algonquin Provincial Park lead by Greg Betteridge of the Algonquin Fisheries Assessment Unit.

Presented by the Friends of Algonquin Park, 12 participants in each session will learn about the basic equipment required for trout fishing and how to use it before heading out in search of the park’s two trout species.

As home to one of the world’s best trout fisheries, “many anglers familiar with warm water fisheries to the south find Algonquin's brook and lake trout a mystery” and end up in a frustrating fishing situation, Betteridge said. Details: algonquinpark.on.ca.

ONTARIO'S NATURAL WORLD

Last year, 37,000 youngsters participated in Natural Heritage Education programs at Ontario Parks.

“Connect kids to nature and they become tomorrow’s conservationists,” said Lori Waldbrook of Ontario Parks.

“These entertaining, hands-on activities led by park staff introduce kids to Ontario’s natural world: one that is home to 81 species of mammals, 483 bird species, 26 species of amphibians, 27 reptile species and 154 freshwater fish species.”

More than 40 provincial parks feature these free program activities every summer.

RENT A HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Yurts (tent-like structures), cabins, heritage houses, cottages and even lodges can be rented at Ontario Parks.

Arrowhead Provincial Park near Huntsville added four new cabins and yurts late last year, while Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron and Murphys Point in Eastern Ontario have new yurts and cabins.

Additional accommodations are planned for more parks this season, Waldbrook said. For a list of what’s available to book: ontarioparks.com/roofedaccommodation

TAKE THE PARKBUS

Forget traffic hassles and travel to that wilderness getaway on the Parkbus.

It travels to and from Algonquin, French River, Grundy Lake and Killarney parks – and new this year to Six Mile Lake Provincial Park – from Toronto, as well as Algonquin to and from Ottawa.

Also new are trips to Georgian Bay Islands and Bruce Peninsula National Parks.

The round-trip fare to Algonquin is $85, adults; $77, students/seniors (60 plus); and $43, children, two to 12. parkbus.ca.


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