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2/01/2020 4:43 pm  #1


Flat rate per site coming soon?

Temagami area parks and Massassauga park are going to charge a flat rate per campsite per night, rather than per person per night.
https://www.ontarioparks.com/fees/backcountry/2020

It’s too bad. I was planning to check out Massassauga this summer for the first time, but as a soloist, it is now getting out of reach. I chose this hobby because it was relatively cheap (once the up-front camping equipment costs are paid). Looks like crown-land camping for me, if this catches on and spreads to places like Algonquin.

$12.43 per night at Algonquin. $46.05 per night at Massassauga. 
Mon-Fri trip in Algonquin is $62.15.  In Massassauga it will be $230.25. Yikes.
So parties of four or more? It’s a deal for you. The rest of us, not so much.

Maybe the backcountry parks in Southern Ontario will morph into “only medium-to-large group” destinations.



 

 

2/01/2020 4:51 pm  #2


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

As someone who travels solo most of the time, it would be terrible if they rolled this out to Algonquin as well.

From a business standpoint, it would make sense if they implemented this for the summer long weekends. The park is basically booked solid in most areas for Canada Day, Civic Holiday, and Labour Day... so when supply can't keep up with demand it makes sense to raise prices. But for pretty much every other weekend demand > supply... making a flat rate would deter smaller groups and seems like a really bad decision.


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www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

2/01/2020 10:52 pm  #3


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

Well that is interesting.  I usually am with my family so after paying for 5, things are a wash for me but I have certainly used the solo adult rate or even 2 adults and don't like the idea of a flat rate that is so high.  It is tough and I get it in terms of making money to support the parks and I do love what is offered by the parks -- not so much paying for an almost tent size patch of dirt but more so the care taking aspect -- but on the other hand there is the accessibility factor.  Is this pricing things out of people's reach?  Maybe there could be a scale rate declining on the amount of portages you are will to undertake : )   

 

2/02/2020 10:30 am  #4


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

I can fortunately afford it but a $40 or so flat rate fee in AP would likely spell the end of me soloing there. Would push me to other areas. Likely non permit required routes for solo trips. Just wouldn’t make sense at that price.

And not saying I would condone it but they would have to allocate some of the incremental revenue to more Wardens because if they think there wouldn’t be an increase in no permit solo trips they’re crazy. The increase of off permit campers would disrupt campsite availability for  everyone else too. May not be pretty.

Better solution that increases revenue while not unfairly punishing soloists would be a flat rate for groups  and a flat rate for soloists . Say $45 group and $23 solo. Or some version of that. Would need to have access to avg campers per site data to figure out numbers that would both increase revenue and still be fair.

Just keep the per person fee and add a minimum charge per site might work too and be far less punitive to the solo canoeist.

Last edited by ShawnD (2/02/2020 3:01 pm)


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
 

2/02/2020 11:24 am  #5


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

This is a stupid cash grab that is going to negatively impact the parks. Some burocratic site counter who has never camped in his/her life is just looking at triangles on a map and the potential revenue per site. Think of the difference in impact a group of 9 people has on a park system vs. A solo traveler. The rates should clearly be different. It's not surprising this change has been rolled out very quietly.

The other troubling thing is that the increase in fees at Massassauga and Temagami w/o a corresponding increase at APP and Killarney is going to push more users to these already overused and stressed parks. I am struggling to see how that is a good thing. This disparity tells me they are going to try to roll this out everywhere.

People would for sure do no permit trips. Did you know the fine for parking your car overnight in the park  w/o a permit is $20. 1/2 the price of a permit!

 

2/03/2020 7:42 am  #6


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

On the plus side, if you bring one youth or senior with you, the whole site gets discounted....? Or do they only give the deal to a whole group of teenagers who are camping without an adult?? This doesn’t seem well thought out for a few reasons. Hopefully never to be implemented in Algonquin.

 

2/03/2020 9:42 am  #7


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

John Connelly wrote:

Interesting comments and discussion fueled by some fear mongering thoughts as it may or not relate to Algonquin Park fee schedule .
I'll wait till the cows come home and chew their cud .

how is it fear mongering? it's a FACT that they did this, it's also a FACT that people on a tight budget will always lean towards the cheaper option.
I'm starting to suspect there will be more of this type of action, to make people complain and protest so the provincial government can turn around and say" this model doesn't work, so we'll privatize the parks" same as Harris did with the frontcountry staff at most parks.
 

 

2/03/2020 1:32 pm  #8


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

Soloing in Massassauga is definitely not worth $50 per night. But Massassauga is different because most sites are accessible from motorboat on Georgian Bay. Maybe that's why there is the change. The change is not fair to smaller groups and if this type of change comes to Algonquin then it will be a disaster. Makes you wonder if they are trying to somehow crack down on a single group of traveling companions obtaining multiple permits specifically to exclude other groups from a lake. I don't know if that is a problem but it certainly has the potential to be one.

 

2/03/2020 3:12 pm  #9


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

solos wrote:

Makes you wonder if they are trying to somehow crack down on a single group of traveling companions obtaining multiple permits specifically to exclude other groups from a lake. I don't know if that is a problem but it certainly has the potential to be one.

Again a minimum site fee fixes that problem too.. I often solo and while no one will ever be crazy about paying more I like to think I'm a reasonable fellow. I understand that $11 a night plus tax  for use of an entire campsite likely isn't a spectacular business case for the Park. 

If the Ministry ever feels its necessary to change the fee structure for AP a little common sense and innovative thinking could keep things fair while balancing  business needs.
 


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
 

2/03/2020 6:15 pm  #10


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

Wow.  I sure hope this doesn't happen, or if it does that the rate is not crazy.

As a foreigner (from the U.S.) I bet this would be like fishing licenses....out of towners, open your wallets a bit wider.  Economics, right?  In general, if you raise the cost for overnighting in the park, fewer people will come (or at least fewer solos in this instance), though it is very possible to bring in more revenue with fewer parties with the rate-by-site model.  I'm sure all campers would feel the difference, but there's something that can be done to ease the burden of an increase on Canadians - if you target the cost increase more toward out of country visitors, then the increase can be made less impactful to Canadian citizens. I totally get that too.  I mean it kind of stinks for me, but it makes sense - after all, the park feels like it is in my back yard, but it is in Canada of course! 

The thing is, the park draws people from all around the world.  I met two couples from Poland there once.  It would be a shame to reduce (originally I wrote "eliminate", poor choice of words) visitors from foreign lands coming to share in the outdoor wonder that Canada has to offer, particularly in this park.  I'll still come - I'm sure it will sting a bit financially to do it, but I'll do it.  Will that couple from Poland?  

Even if they don't change to a "by site" rate for Algonquin, it wouldn't surprise me if at some point there became rates for out-of-country visitors, and again, I can only hope that the rate wouldn't be too severe.

In the end, it is entirely out of my control, so I guess I'll just cross my fingers and we'll see.

Last edited by MooseWhizzer Dave (2/03/2020 10:03 pm)

 

2/04/2020 10:09 pm  #11


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

Interesting to hear people's thoughts on the topic of park fees. 

I recall doing an online Ontario Parks survey a few years ago that involved a lot of questions asking my feelings about certain price points, along the lines of "Would a fee of $X change the number of times per year that you would visit the park?" etc. I think I said $20 a night was a threshold I'd not be too happy about exceeding.

I can see where there would be a lot of pressure on Ministry staff to increase revenue in the southern Ontario parks that support the rest of the park system. 

In this thread, some ideas:

1) a minimum fee per site...(like Temagami and Massassauga will implement this year)
2) a long-weekend rate increase
3) a location based rate (Quetico charges more for certain entry points)
4) residency based rate (Non-residents pay more; this is already the case in NW Ontario)

Looking at the back-country fee page for 2020, there is a great variety of rate schemes. I get the feeling that maybe they are trying out all kinds of stuff to see what works. maybe in the future every park will have a different scheme.

Worst comes to worst, I think some combo of those ideas in the list would work well. A higher rate / or flat rate per site for popular lakes on Highway 60, with cheaper rates for less-travelled lakes a few portages into the park. Then a surcharge for long weekends.

As for as charging non-residents more, I'm not sure we ought to be chasing visitors off. Anecdotal, but one group I spoke to in Quetico last summer was pretty sore about the extra fees they had to pay, to the point that they were considering staying in the BWCA in Minnesota this summer.

     Thread Starter
 

2/05/2020 7:05 am  #12


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

Methye wrote:

... A higher rate / or flat rate per site for popular lakes on Highway 60, with cheaper rates for less-travelled lakes a few portages into the park.

The problem with that is it incentivizes people to book the cheaper rates. They would be incentivizing people to try and undertake trips they may not be capable of doing, and/or can lead to a lot of off-permit "I'll just book xxx because it's cheaper but then I'll go camp on xxx instead"


Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures
www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

2/05/2020 7:57 am  #13


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

solos; if the motorboaters are the issue, why not just charge a vehicle fee like they already do in most parks for extra cars? A simple $10 per night to use a motor solves both the revenue and usage issue, while at the same time putting another enforcement option in the wardens' toolbox.

 

2/05/2020 11:03 am  #14


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

scoutergriz wrote:

solos; if the motorboaters are the issue, why not just charge a vehicle fee like they already do in most parks for extra cars? A simple $10 per night to use a motor solves both the revenue and usage issue, while at the same time putting another enforcement option in the wardens' toolbox.

I don't know if motorboats are a problem. I was just speculating why they choose Massassauga for the change. Maybe they think if it's accessible by motor boat then they treat it like car camping? I don't know. Someone mentioned Temagami is also affected and I think some sites are motorboat accessible too. Again, I'm not sure, only went to the Temagami area once and back then it was free to go into the Scarecrow Lake area.

 

2/06/2020 8:12 am  #15


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

"The fees for the privilege of paddling Algonquin are unchanged this year"
Where did I even mention algonquin??
Algonquin is a far cry from the Mass or Temagami! it has very restricted boat access, where those two have many totally unrestricted lakes, with all the inherent issues caused by quick, easy access- garbage, oil and gas spills, and partiers.
And did OP NOT impose these changes???? Do they NOT apply these same changes to other parks if they increase revenue? You may think it's worth it, but the reality of the situation is that many will no longer be able to FINANCIALLY afford to trip in Temagami or the Mass. I know this will affect me greatly as I'm on pension and can't afford to spend money that'll buy a month's groceries on a 4 day trip!

Last edited by scoutergriz (2/06/2020 8:13 am)

 

2/06/2020 11:39 am  #16


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

MartinG wrote:

Think of the difference in impact a group of 9 people has on a park system vs. A solo traveler. 

The other troubling thing is that the increase in fees at Massassauga and Temagami w/o a corresponding increase at APP and Killarney is going to push more users to these already overused and stressed parks. I am struggling to see how that is a good thing. This disparity tells me they are going to try to roll this out everywhere.

These we're my exact thoughts upon hearing the news. 
This will encourage larger groups to camp, causing more impact on the land with a lesser fee per person using.  Undoubtedly this will eventually roll out in APP, Kawartha etc. 

I'm all for increased cost's due to maintenance needs and inflation, but a per site fee does not make any sense.

 

2/06/2020 1:57 pm  #17


Re: Flat rate per site coming soon?

TripperMike wrote:

I'm all for increased cost's due to maintenance needs and inflation, but a per site fee does not make any sense.

This argument might make sense if there was maintenance, which in Temagami is not the case. I do not see any rhyme or reason to triple a price for almost non-existent services in an under-used area with almost non-existing enforcement. Even if  there are more rangers than bigfoot in Temagami, this difference is negligible.

 

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