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8/19/2020 8:47 pm  #1

Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

I've been getting a bunch of questions about the Park this year from people new to Algonquin who have stumbled onto my website. I'm not so sure about their choosing me as someone whose advice they want to take, but it did prompt me to put together a FAQAA (Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin). Thought folks here might enjoy it. Let me know if there's anything you think I should add.



8/20/2020 7:14 am  #2

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

This probably isn't the feedback you are seeking, so take it with a grain of salt or just ignore it.

You could consider adding a warning about the language.  A pet peeve of mine...I don't think it is necessary to include it in openly accessible sites.  I understand that it is used for effect to embellish the mundane but it is often a writing crutch akin to how "um", "uh" and "like" are speaking crutches.  You clearly have a gift for delivering a written narrative - I believe it detracts from the message but many others may disagree with me.

I also would add wider margins to condense the content - typically an FAQ page is designed for quick reference and a scan of subjects to select the one that is appropriate for the user.  As it is, this reads like a blog post or report.  The margins may be defined by the template you've chosen or due to optimization for other devices but it isn't quickly accessible like an FAQ usually is.  This could be your preference, but if it is for utility instead of entertainment/engagement then you could consider altering the formatting.  I expect your bounce rate is sub-40 on desktops so you likely don't really need to make any changes, assuming you are satisfied with that activity level. 

I could offer other insights and critiques to the content but, unsolicited, I wouldn't be comfortable delivering that in a public forum.  Overall, it's an excellent medium to share your passion and process.  Like many things, as we put time and distance between our creative outputs and our advanced development we often see many flaws in the retrospective that were concealed in our zeal of the moment.


8/20/2020 8:05 am  #3

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

Echoing the above, the formatting could definitely be more eye friendly.

Also, I love your style of writing but a food for thought moment. You may very well take over as the top Google search result for Algonquin faq. This page may be read by people who don't at all understand sarcasm or may not take seriously your content because it contains cuss words (seriously!). with that sort of unintentional responsibility in mind, you may want to pursue a more formal and direct method of delivering the information. Particularly the section about garbage. Maybe begin your answer to the question what do I do with my garbage with what you should actually do, not what you've seen others do. Perhaps after the formal answer you can give examples of the atrocities we've seen (solicit pictures, even?). But right now it's not a direct answer and that's what new trippers may very well need.


8/20/2020 9:50 am  #4

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

Thanks for the feedback guys, it's both good and welcome. Re: the formatting, I'm not sure that there's much I can do about that because of the template I'm using in Wordpress. Your point is taken though, and I'll see if I can figure something out. 

Question for you, is there content in there that you would consider to be incorrect? That to me would be the biggest risk if people unfamiliar with my style of writing were to treat this as the only document they used before setting out on a trip (which is not something I want them to do and I've made a note to that effect in the intro). I get that it's not in the style of a typical FAQ, but I'm less concerned with that and more concerned that the information that is coming across is correct. To be honest, this isn't meant to be a typical FAQ, and as Zemantics points out I probably do need to think about that a bit more deeply. I'm going to make that clearer in the introduction and link to the Park's official FAQ.

Re: the language. I'll tone it down. I tend to sprinkle a few swear words in here and there for emphasis but I guess I overdid it here. 

Last edited by AlgonquinLakes (8/20/2020 10:04 am)

     Thread Starter

8/20/2020 11:13 am  #5

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

I'm noticing the same thing as you, lots of people reaching out with questions that they should be asking directly to the park. One person actually tried to make a reservation through my contact form

When I have some spare time I was going to do something similar except focus more on the leave no trace aspect. "First time tripping in Algonquin? Before you read any of my trip reports / campsite reports, read this about Leave No Trace." 

I just got back from my first trip of the season and the sites I stayed on were nice and clean, but some other ones that I visited were disgusting. Face masks, dog food, uneaten bananas, etc. in the fire pits.

In terms of your actual content I agree with the other comments, if it's going to be a FAQ page make it look like a FAQ page. Question > Answer. If there's sarcasm and/or profanity people also aren't likely to take it seriously.

If you need any help with the layout or adjusting margins etc. in Wordpress feel free to send me a message. 

Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures

8/20/2020 11:25 am  #6

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

I am going to dissent. There are lots of places you can go to get FAQ's on Algonquin. Both official and unofficial. I don't think you should change your tone or make it more direct and informational for this audience. That's not who you are. Not what you deliver. I wouldn't try to be all things to all people. PS on my screen the margins are fine.


8/20/2020 11:45 am  #7

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

Regarding the question of "is everything accurate?", I would say yes with one minor exception:

One area you may want to reinforce or clarify is around firewood.  Virtually all governments and regions recommend using firewood gathered locally regardless of interior or car camping to reduce the spread of disease and/or parasites.  It's why we see a plethora of those little stands in front of so many homes offering the $5 bundles - buy it or harvest it locally.  So car campers at campgrounds and interior campers should do the same thing on this one.

You could consider adding to the 'don't cut down a live tree' great advice with 'don't cut down a dead tree either' since those are sources of housing and food for many birds and small mammals (think woodpeckers and red squirrels).  Dead wood that has fallen is the best option.  This one is probably the most nit-picky of my points, but it never hurts to create awareness as it might improve behavior.

I think MartinG's inputs are also quite valid...and the point I was tip-toeing around with my statements of utility vs. entertainment.  Most of your posts are informative and entertaining - it would be a diversion to start wearing a bunch of hats.  Referencing where the best info can be found (just like you did with the PCI index on AA) can allow you to do what you do best and be a handy source to learn more as well.

I appreciate your openness and attitude - feedback is one of the most precious gifts we can receive but not everyone can take it well.  It is also a difficult task to deliver it constructively.  Hopefully we are all doing as well as you on this matter!


8/20/2020 12:17 pm  #8

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

What Martin said.


8/21/2020 8:44 am  #9

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

here is a question,, now that there is a new reservation system (l.o.l.) that will block trippers from hitting little/big otter slide lakes in one day from the canoe lake access point,, a warning balloon pops up stating that only experienced trippers should attempt that first day paddle distance,,,
     i ask myself why is burnt island lake not broken into east/west sections like a few other lakes?? ensuring that a campsite is reserved at the east end of the lake,, instead of paddling to the far end of burnt island only to find all the sites occupied,, especially west/east west lake like burnt island blow up real good,


8/21/2020 12:05 pm  #10

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

@swede - whoa!  There's no room for logical design to ease the user experience within the system.  Hold your horses!


8/21/2020 3:04 pm  #11

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

Hey Drew. Since you're now actually answering 'frequently asked questions', I suggest you consider including a 'disclaimer' somewhere on your website. Many years ago, I included a 'disclaimer' link that's always visible in the top menu bar of the website. It reads ... provides the information and images in this web site for your enjoyment and entertainment. Should you choose to utilize this site in the preparation and planning of outdoor activities, you are cautioned with the following statements ...

- Terrain characteristics and field conditions will vary with the season, weather and passage of time. Anticipate and be prepared for adversity.
- Individuals' physical abilities differ with health, age and condition. Be honestly aware of your limitations.
- Skills are acquired over time through seriously cautious and progressive experiences. Develop familiarity and capability with your equipment before heading out.
- Make prudent use of numerous references and sources of information. Details are important! contains information links to other pages and sites. The nature and accuracy of their content is not the website's responsibility. also receives submissions from the public. The accuracy of their content is not the responsibility of the website. also contains advertisement links to other pages and sites. The website accepts no responsibility for inspection, verification or guarantee of these other parties' products, services or conduct.

I know it sounds kind of over-the-top. But it does provide me with peace of mind that I have provided such cautionary comments.


8/21/2020 4:29 pm  #12

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

Great idea Barry, hope you don't mind if I basically copy and past but change Algonquin Adventures into All of Algonquin!

Thanks to everyone else for the feedback. To the comments on information vs entertainment, I definitely approached this through an entertainment lens, with the caveat that any information I'm conveying had to be correct and useful. It may not come across the way people would expect from an FAQ, but my guess is it comes across exactly how you would expect something that I'm writing to. I'll make sure to link to some more straightforward sources for anyone who stumbles across my page who may not be familiar with my style.

Have a great weekend everyone, hope you're getting out on the water.

     Thread Starter

8/21/2020 6:16 pm  #13

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

Hi Drew. Feel free to copy it. No problem.


8/24/2020 10:02 am  #14

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

Drew, came across the FAQ a few days back and had a good laugh.  I'll periodically check sites like your's and Cody's and the McElroys just in case there has been some non-Algonquin stuff posted etc.  Please keep up the great work and don't go changin'.  
Or in fewer words - yeah, what Martin said.  


8/25/2020 7:22 am  #15

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

Pa Paddler "Virtually all governments and regions recommend using firewood gathered locally" sorry, I had to laugh at this because OP is one of the worst offenders- the firewood contract for the Bruce region parks went to a company in Kanata, and Algonquin went to one in Timmins. those contracts go to the lowest bidder regardless of location.


8/25/2020 11:33 am  #16

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

trippythings wrote:

When I have some spare time I was going to do something similar except focus more on the leave no trace aspect. "First time tripping in Algonquin? Before you read any of my trip reports / campsite reports, read this about Leave No Trace." 

I would emphasize LNT as well.

Maybe also add an etiquette question. Example:

Is there any canoe camping etiquette I should be aware of?

Yes there is! Remember that Algonquin is a shared space and as such there are some things to keep in mind. At a portage don't leave your equipment in the way. If you fish, don't clean your fish at an empty site, somebody may camp there later. Leaving some firewood for the next campers is always nice! Don't store your axe in a tree. Although a nail in a tree from a previous camp may come in handy, don't add anymore nails. Ditto with camp "furniture". Remember that noise carries across a lake very easily. Double carrying a portage and heading back one way empty handed? If there are people heading in the opposite direction offering to carry a something may be appreciated, even carrying a fishing rod or paddle can make a difference...(and so on, giving people a bit of general dos and dont's)

(OK that last one doesn't seem to be common etiquette but I think it should be



11/02/2020 3:27 pm  #17

Re: Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin

Hi Ya'll
Just new to this forum and thought I would comment on the FAQ. I have been humping APP for over 40 years. Each time I get in (at least 2 times a year) I fall in love again. Lately I have been doing the backcountry solo.  The older I get, the less BS I want to hear from anyone. Not that I am crusty, just like my peace in the park.
When my wife and I do a couples thing, she only wants 5 star, so we stay at Kilarney Lodge.

Anyways, now that the intros are done, many years ago when the internet first came out, I had one of the first billboards out there for APP. For you younger types, that was a predecessor to a web site. After a while, I had to shut it down as I was bombarded with questions that people where just to lazy to look up the answers for. 

There is a world of information available on the net for APP that anyone can get answers to within minutes. 

So my 2 cents worth is not to have a FAQ discussion on this forum.

I hope to many conversations with all of you APP lovers!


Been humping in Algonquin for over 40 years!

Board footera

LNT Canada is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships.