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3/18/2020 7:17 pm  #1


Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

"all provincial parks will be closed to the public from March 19, 2020 until April 30, 2020. This includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day use opportunities and all public buildings.

http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/news/2020/2020-03-14_covid19.php

https://news.ontario.ca/ene/en/2020/03/ontario-update-on-ontario-parks-operations-in-response-to-covid-19.html?fbclid=IwAR3nJdBZil8-DMcn8GSmsFOAwwlLh9gpqBO0HFS8cjhglQd3MhCGKPQvOd8
 

Last edited by tess (3/18/2020 7:18 pm)

 

3/18/2020 9:25 pm  #2


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

Every day there is a new tweet from Ontario Parks about how important it is to get out into nature for our mental and physical health.  Outdoors in a park - at least Algonquin - there is an unparalleled opportunity to both social distance and experience huge benefits for mind and body and immunity.  Not to mention the need for people who work in parks to keep their jobs.  Close the gates, close the washrooms, maintain the basic stuff that allows us to enjoy and breathe fresh forest air.  Sigh. Who are the hypocrites that made this decision?

(just sent an email with the pretty much the same content to my MPP)

Last edited by GordK (3/18/2020 9:48 pm)

 

3/18/2020 9:44 pm  #3


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

Not good for those who like to camp at Mew Lake.  I only hope it opens on May 1st for my yearly Algonquin Park interior trip.  I can quarantine myself on a number of lakes to not affect or get affected by others re the coronavirus.  This is terrible because it is very possible we could have an early spring ice out and still Algonquin Park could be closed.  


CAMPING IS WHEN YOU SPEND A LOT OF MONEY TO LIVE LIKE A HOMELESS PERSON!
 

3/18/2020 9:46 pm  #4


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

You need to keep in mind that COVID-19 can live on surfaces for several hours and possibly days.

Thunderbox. Cooking grills at the campsite. Fire pit seating. Even tying tarps to trees. You touch a lot of things in the backcountry, and even worse at a campground. And you pretty much never properly wash your hands. Not to mention canoe rentals, paddles, PFD's, etc.

It's not just who you're camping with that matters, it's who was camping at the same site that morning or the day before, and who was using that canoe and PFD and paddle the day before. Outfitters could take extra sanitization measures, but you can't sanitize the campgrounds/backcountry.

Obviously the risk in Ontario Parks is much less than in the city life, but the risk is still there. If they're making recommendations to avoid having friends over for coffee or dinner , then it makes sense to close down a popular but unhygienic hobby.

It seems extreme but we're dealing with extreme circumstances and as much as the decision sucks for us campers, I support it.

edit: also consider the logistics prior to the trip. Needing to purchase equipment and supplies, needing to stop for gas multiple times (since most people come from GTA). These are all things that aren't "social distancing".

Last edited by trippythings (3/18/2020 9:48 pm)


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3/18/2020 9:56 pm  #5


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

Sorry Cody, not buying it.  I can get in my car and drive up and have an amazing hike on Track and Tower trail, all without breaking the rules.  I'll pump gas with a glove on : )   This is exactly what I was planning to do with my family in a day or two for reasons noted in my first post.  Closing the parks is a step in the wrong direction for an issue that will potentially be with us for many many months and hopefully not a year or more.  I completely understand the logic in flattening the curve but depriving people of this outlet won't help our health.

 

3/18/2020 9:58 pm  #6


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

 I know coronavirus is rampant in the USA, but not in Ontario.  I have nothing negative to say about Gord K's post.  No one ever said that camping is 100% safe. There is always health concerns especially re interior camping, i.e. appendicitis, heart attacks, broken ankle and/or leg, etc.  Appendicitis is my main concern re interior camping!  

I have my own equipment and I seriously doubt anyone would have been at my designated campsite the day before I go in.  I fill my car with gas in Ottawa and this is enough for me to get to where I want to go and get back to Ottawa.  I understand though the point re people renting equipment from outfitters and who go in after some have already gone in and come back out.  Plus I am going in for 15 nights so I will be quarantined.  The early bird gets the worm as the saying goes!  Let's just hope Algonquin is back open in May!  I myself am not concerned about getting the coronavirus even though I am 70 and have had heart problems.  I practice all the safety rules and feel strongly that I won't get affected or affect others. Now that  Ontario's parks are closed until end of April, then what is next.  Closing cities????  Where does all this end?????  As I have heard and read often, believe that you have the virus and take all the safety rules in order to beat this damn thing!!!!  That is how it ends!

Last edited by boknows (3/18/2020 10:22 pm)


CAMPING IS WHEN YOU SPEND A LOT OF MONEY TO LIVE LIKE A HOMELESS PERSON!
 

3/18/2020 10:20 pm  #7


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

GordK wrote:

.....This is exactly what I was planning to do with my family in a day or two for reasons noted in my first post. 

boknows wrote:

I have my own equipment and I seriously doubt anyone would have been at my designated campsite the day before I go in.  I fill my car with gas in Ottawa and this is enough for me to get to where I want to go and get back to Ottawa.

I have no doubt that both of your trips would be well thought out and follow every precautionary measure. The people on this forum aren't the problem, it's the other vast majority who might not have the best camping etiquette or precautionary measures. We've all witnessed first-hand the lack of preparedness and carelessness that some people have while camping in Algonquin.

Last point I'll make... with the long incubation period of the virus, what happens if you start your trip and fall ill on day 2 or 3? That would be a really, really bad scenario. How are you going to portage back or get help when you have a fever and difficulty breathing? Maybe you have an InReach, but the average camper doesn't. Even if you have an InReach and need to get rescued, your access to medical care would be delayed and you'd be using resources that the community can't afford to spare right now. You could have the virus before you even leave for the trip, and not know it.

I get how everyone is upset with the decision, I'm just saying that in my eyes, there are many different variables and risks to consider, and given that we're in the early stages of the viruses exponential growth and we're not sure exactly how bad it's going to hit us, we need to be doing everything we possibly can to mitigate risk.

I've never gone on an ice-out trip and I was really hoping this year would be my first. It's not looking like it will happen now. It sucks, but if the decision to close the parks was made with the health of the community in mind, it's a sacrifice I'll accept.

Just my 2 cents. Not trying to change anyone's mind if they're upset with the decision just wanted to share my opinion on the matter. I've been following COVID-19 extremely closely since early Jan and although I'm happy that Canada is starting to take drastic measures, I do believe that this is a more serious issue than most of our community recognizes.


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3/18/2020 10:27 pm  #8


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

boknows wrote:

 I know coronavirus is rampant in the USA, but not in Ontario.

With all due respect, if that's your belief then I don't think you're paying close enough attention to the data. Every country that's been severely affected by the virus didn't think it was an issue until it was too late. In the past 4-5 days we've reached the rate of exponential growth and passed 100+ cases in Ontario. Based on every other countries data, those two points together means the following two weeks are going to see a major surge and our hospitals are going to start to feel the effects. The actions we take now are critically important which is why such drastic measures are being recommended.

I'm starting to sound like all those government press releases I've been watching... time to sign off for the night. 

Regardless of anyones stance on the virus and park closures, here's to hoping that things will resume as normal come summertime and we'll all get to enjoy the beautiful interior as much as possible, even if the experience is delayed a little while.


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www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

3/18/2020 10:40 pm  #9


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

Just for the record, you can still camp on Crown Land.  And I definitely will be camping somewhere before summer!  After all, I still need my sanity after a long winter and lately staying indoors as much as possible which is giving me cabin fever to the utmost extreme.  Thank God I have an Algonquin Park map to peruse over and over and over again.

Not knowing everything about this virus is definitely a problem for me and others.  Time to just wait and see just how bad this virus is going to affect people in Ontario and our beloved Algonquin.  Once again, pretend you have the virus and practice all the safety rules in place.  Tell others to do so as well.  This will help stop the spread of this dangerous virus.  End of my rant!  I am leaving the pulpit and looking forward to reading others views on this subject and hope I don't see you on Wendigo Lake come May!



 

Last edited by boknows (3/19/2020 12:35 am)


CAMPING IS WHEN YOU SPEND A LOT OF MONEY TO LIVE LIKE A HOMELESS PERSON!
 

3/19/2020 5:23 am  #10


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

For those who think the park should remain open:  what about the risk to the personnel manning the permit office?  Is it reasonable to think they have to breathe the air a meter away and handle the pen and paper from every single permit-seeker that walks through the door?

What about Randy at Algonquin Outfitters?  Is he well enough insured if he stays open and an employee renting out canoes dies as a result of contracting this virus in his place of business?

This isn't just about you, the camper seeking solitude and joy.  It's about the risk to others and the risk to our community.  These are very difficult decisions with far-reaching repercussions on our economy and livelihood.  We need to trust and respect the decisions that community, regional and national leaders make after their consultation with subject matter experts. 

 

3/19/2020 6:32 am  #11


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

I don't think permit offices should open, no - that's not safe for anyone right now. 

Which means it's time Ontario Parks got their heads out of their behinds and let us print out our own permits. 

 

3/19/2020 6:38 am  #12


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

We have a yearly pass... we could go in walk the trails and never encounter a soul. They could also sell day permits on line. I understand they don't want the front line workers dealing with tourists from all over, but I do wonder if there wasn't some way to mitigate the risks and leave the hiking trails, bird watching and photography opportunities open.

     Thread Starter
 

3/19/2020 7:13 am  #13


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

"what about the risk to the personnel manning the permit office?" there are easily a half dozen ways around that- online permits like most Ontario Parks, and self serve stations like they use all winter are both tried and true methods, they could also simply put up screens like many hospitals and Drs. offices have done- no need to even sign the permit- legally you use of a credit or debit card is proof  of your agreement.

 

3/19/2020 8:16 am  #14


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

Cody made pretty much every point I would make. It sucks to not be able to use the parks before May (and, tbh, my guess is it’ll be later than that), but I’m definitely in support of the decision. I’m sure that the people on this forum would be very careful, but the whole purpose of these measures is to stop people traveling. No matter what you’re planning on doing in the park you’re going to have to travel some distance to get there. That means gas station stops, maybe an extra grocery store run for supplies. No matter how careful you are there’s no guarantee that you won’t be exposed to (or spreading) the virus.

It sucks. I get that. And no one likes being told what to do, but this is one of the few times where I think excessive caution is warranted.

(And please, if you’re telling yourself that it’s a problem in the States but not here, rethink that position. Less than a month ago the U.S. was saying the same thing. It’s a problem everywhere).

 

3/19/2020 8:39 am  #15


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

I think the biggest concern with such a broad directive (ie close everything) is that we are at a very very early stage of the pandemic. At the same time, I would argue that there is absolutely ZERO risk to the population by backcountry camping in March (given so few people actually do it, and those that do are in very small groups)

If all goes to plan, this infection will be circulating at a low level in the community for the next year and longer (until vaccine available). If the social distancing is not as effective as hoped, the pandemic will peak in the summer months.

So I'm either case, we are at the very start of this. But now we have closed down everything. There is no question the infection burden in the population will be worse by May, and even worse by the summer.

So when there are 10000 cases in Canada on May 1st, will they open the backcountry?

Last edited by Marko_Mrko (3/19/2020 8:40 am)

 

3/19/2020 9:05 am  #16


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

Marko_Mrko states:

So when there are 10,000 cases in Canada on May 1st, will they open the back country? 

That is a good question that no one knows at this time.  There are many different opinions on this coronavirus and yes I am fully aware that it will more than likely get worse as the months go by.  The more people are tested, the more people get in the statistics of having this virus.  I just heard today on TV that a prominent physician stated that should you catch this virus and then recover, your immune system would prevent you from getting it again.  I hope this is true, but to be honest, no one knows 100% what the months ahead will be like living in a coronavirus world.  

Now, there is a site called Providence.org that states the following:

100 Million Mask Challenge: Volunteers Making Masks to Combat Shortage

So if you are bored staying in and want to do something to help in our war against coronavirus, take up the challenge and help out health care workers who are looking after those infected.  And maybe even you in the future!


 

Last edited by boknows (3/19/2020 9:11 am)


CAMPING IS WHEN YOU SPEND A LOT OF MONEY TO LIVE LIKE A HOMELESS PERSON!
 

3/19/2020 9:13 am  #17


Re: Algonquin Park Closed till at least April 30

I really understand that a lot of us are disappointed in this decision. I think we really need to look at the larger picture like mentioned earlier. What happens if you get sick on your trip, what happens if someone hurts themselves and needs backcountry rescue? Our first responders and hospitals are already taxed. do we want to be contributing to this problem? Our front line workers have higher priorities than trying to rescue someone who has slit a vein in their hand with an axe, or flipped a canoe and is hypothermic. 

I am sure everyone has seen that even for rescuing a dog its usually a minimum of 5-10 first responders between police, fire, etc. 

Do we expect our Ontario parks workers to be in a confined space in a float plane or helicopter getting people out of the backcountry?
Do you think that parks needs to deal with some a#hole camper in a yurt or cabin that sues parks for getting the covid virus because they feel that facilities weren't cleaned properly? 
Most parks are operating at limited staff capacity already because its "off season". what is their capacity if workers get sick? 
How do staff respond to problem black bear issues because campers are careless with their food, garbage etc? They need a team of staff, not 1 tracking down a black bear. 
What if there is a fire in a provincial park? remember the fires from a few years ago? who do you call on to evacuate camper and  put the fire out?
I am sure Parks is thinking about how they hire for seasonal staff and summer students right now. The issue is, how do you hire these people if you can't conduct mandatory training because you can't have people in groups? How to you onboard new staff to their job duties and keep a distance? is it fair to put staff in that position?

And really, how do you expect government to be messaging social distancing without setting an example that they are following the rules themselves? It would be extremely hypocritical not to. 

We need to flatten curve, collectively. We will be camping later... 

Last edited by Sunfish (3/19/2020 9:52 am)

 

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