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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 14th, 2020, 5:54 pm 
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Joined: August 10th, 2006, 12:32 pm
Posts: 165
Location: Peterborough
I like the idea of having an upper limit “cap” fee on backcountry sites. Ie massassauga upper fee is the $46 per site, but if your solo or have less per person cost the lower fee is what you would pay. It’s an interesting change. Ontario Parks was moved from MNRF to Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) by the Ford government. . This change has likely paved the way for sweeping changes in operation under a new ministry.


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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 15th, 2020, 12:01 am 
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Joined: October 9th, 2009, 9:52 am
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Location: Toronto Beach(es)
I call bull$shit! $57(including booking fees and HST) for an overnighter for a soloist ... or for a party of 9???? Bull$hit!!! :evil: :evil: :evil:


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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 15th, 2020, 7:09 am 
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Joined: February 4th, 2008, 9:54 pm
Posts: 139
Yup, that's what I was hinting at.

And just try to get a reply to any letters of complaint or suggestion! It would be nice to see a response to any inquiry. Please post , if you get one. In my experience, comments are ignored.


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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 15th, 2020, 8:47 am 
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Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Yup, got the canned answer... next stop, the superintendent. Might be an idea to email in explaining why this is a pain. Maybe the government people answering emails are the same people that are being made to clean out garbage cans (been there, seen that).

Quote:
Thank you for your feedback. Ontario Parks is making this change in order to simplify the booking process by streamlining the backcountry fee structure and making it consistent with our car camping fee model.

We appreciate your feedback, and will share it with our reservation team.

Kind regards,

Ontario Parks

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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 15th, 2020, 11:39 am 
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Joined: August 11th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Sunny Wasaga Beach
Good luck in your quest, FT. I hope yours is better than the 1 I got from the FR PP a few years back!! :evil: :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 17th, 2020, 9:51 am 
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Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Wotrock... well, it's worth a try, sometimes emails are ignored other time they are not. I received some info on developments in Algonquin from a former superintendent a while ago, while emails to other park staff were ignored.

The superintendent for Temagami area parks is Kevin Pinkerton... email kevin.pinkerton@ontario.ca

Massassauga superintendent at Oastler lake is Mike Foley | Superintendent | 705-378-2401 ext 223 | mike.foley@ontario.ca

Also the minister for environment, conservation and parks, while you're at it... Hon. Jeff Yurek | Minister | 416-314-6790 | minister.mecp@ontario.ca

Will email on why individuals will be subject to these high fees, a real disincentive, while at the same time the Ontario government has made it a goal to increase visitors to parks. And why the individual fees could not have been retained. And what is "streamlining the back country fee structure". This should be a very simple matter of obtaining permits online.

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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 7:48 pm 
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Joined: April 16th, 2003, 1:50 pm
Posts: 340
Location: Toronto
Well that new fee, coming as it does without the semblance of an explanation, is a smack to the head no doubt. I've done a half dozen trips to nowhere else but Spider Lake in the past few years, as either two people or solo. This initiative instantly doubles that cost. Well one thing I can say, this ups the ante considerably when it comes to encounters with squatters. Thoughts of this hefty fee will put me in a most suitable frame of mind to make short work of them. I can rig that game to my advantage by deliberately arriving at my site close to dusk. Heck, at such comparatively luxurious price point I might just feel entitled to a little more firewood than I am used to taking. My e-saw is well under 10 lbs and totally pack-ready.


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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 19th, 2020, 8:28 am 
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Joined: January 25th, 2004, 2:59 pm
Posts: 244
Location: Ottawa
Here is my response from Ontario Parks.
-------------------------------
Thank you for your email.

Ontario Parks is committed to the protection of Ontario’s natural environments for future generations and providing world-class recreational opportunities in provincial parks. We manage a system of 340 provincial parks which is largely funded through user fees collected solely for the use of Ontario Parks. The money that visitors pay for services like backcountry access and camping in Ontario Parks stays in Ontario Parks and in 2019, Ontario Parks operated at over 90 percent self-sufficiency.

Ontario Parks is moving from the current per-person-per-night fee to a flat-per-campsite fee model for backcountry camping. By doing so we are streamlining the backcountry fee structure across the province and making it consistent with our car camping fee model.

The per night fees at The Massasauga and the Temagami Cluster of Parks are reflective of the amenities available at the respective parks. The per-night fee for Massasauga backcountry campsites is higher than the fee for the Temagami cluster of parks as campsites at The Massasauga are outfitted with a picnic table, fire pit, and box privy and some have food lockers. The Temagami Cluster of Parks offer a more rustic experience with no extra amenities.

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. Hearing from visitors to Ontario Parks helps us to continually improve what we have to offer in the future.

Sincerely,
Ontario Parks


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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 19th, 2020, 8:47 am 
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Joined: December 12th, 2019, 12:40 pm
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the reply did not mention the cost of battling forest fires,, i think that is the reason for the increase in fees,, as we all know the last few years in the near north have been brutal . the cost has to be enormous ?


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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 19th, 2020, 9:27 am 
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Joined: January 25th, 2004, 2:59 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Re Firefighting costs. Different Ministry, different budget. AFAIK Ontario Parks falls under "Ministry of Environment, conservation and parks while the fire fighting falls under Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.


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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 19th, 2020, 9:37 am 
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Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
SP, IMO t's unlikely that forest fires have anything to do with these fees... MNRF is responsible for firefighting, while MECP carries out parks management. You might recall Doug Ford's firefighting budget cutbacks to MNRF last year. But the cuts to MECP were much greater with almost half the budget being cut, IIRC, more cutting at MECP than at any other ministry.

Also last year, Dave Smith MPP in Peterborough was made a special advisor to managing Ontario parks. His goal is to increase parks revenues by 10% by a variety of measures.... eliminating the individual fees may have been one of those.

I've emailed all three of the above addresses, to superintendents and the minister... even if there is nothing new in return, it's worth the time spent to give this problem recognition These first moves made towards streamlining and operating efficiency may be on a trial basis... if there are no objections, further steps may be taken. Objections being raised, OTOH, may be a preventative or might provide for a reversal.

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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 19th, 2020, 9:54 am 
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Joined: February 4th, 2008, 9:54 pm
Posts: 139
In reference to MikeD's response from Ontario Parks:

It seems to me that Ontario Parks has no appreciation for the service they provide. They indicate that the increase in back-country fees is "stream-lining" , This apparently means eliminating the folks who travel solo or in pairs .

Their response seems to indicate that the vision is to extend these extreme costs to other parks as well.

With so many areas being converted to something other than crown land in the last few years, I have wto wonder where they think we're going to go.


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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 19th, 2020, 11:31 am 
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Joined: January 25th, 2004, 2:59 pm
Posts: 244
Location: Ottawa
chicopeesnowshoe wrote:
In reference to MikeD's response from Ontario Parks:

It seems to me that Ontario Parks has no appreciation for the service they provide. They indicate that the increase in back-country fees is "stream-lining" , This apparently means eliminating the folks who travel solo or in pairs .

Their response seems to indicate that the vision is to extend these extreme costs to other parks as well.

With so many areas being converted to something other than crown land in the last few years, I have wto wonder where they think we're going to go.

------------------------------
My thought as well. How can it be that it costs more to maintain a campsite for one person who visits, as opposed to a group? With that logic, and using say the toilet, it would be *cheaper* to maintain a sh**house for solo folks as opposed to a group, unless they are thinking of my buddy who constantly amazes me with the size of ........but I digress :)

MikeD.


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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 20th, 2020, 10:50 am 
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Joined: September 4th, 2014, 4:53 pm
Posts: 38
MikeD wrote:
chicopeesnowshoe wrote:
In reference to MikeD's response from Ontario Parks:

It seems to me that Ontario Parks has no appreciation for the service they provide. They indicate that the increase in back-country fees is "stream-lining" , This apparently means eliminating the folks who travel solo or in pairs .

Their response seems to indicate that the vision is to extend these extreme costs to other parks as well.

With so many areas being converted to something other than crown land in the last few years, I have wto wonder where they think we're going to go.

------------------------------
My thought as well. How can it be that it costs more to maintain a campsite for one person who visits, as opposed to a group? With that logic, and using say the toilet, it would be *cheaper* to maintain a sh**house for solo folks as opposed to a group, unless they are thinking of my buddy who constantly amazes me with the size of ........but I digress :)

MikeD.


To be the dissenting voice -- I bet the cost of maintenance for campsites with similar amenities is probably pretty comparable regardless of the size of group camping. The have to send one or two employees out to each site a couple of times a year to do basic maintenance.

The other thing is that if you think of a campsite as a rented space - that you're renting the space for set period of time, and you get to decide how many people are there, then the rationale is logical. For example, if I rent a community hall, they don't care whether I have two hundred people or two, the price is the same per hour.

So, I can see there logic. Not that I necessarily want to be paying more :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Backcountry fees
PostPosted: February 20th, 2020, 11:39 am 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
My view... the increased costs have more to do with increasing revenues from parks... the goal of increasing revenues by 10% that came on with the special advisor and the Doug Ford administration, matches the 10% shortfall in funding from park fees since currently, park fees only cover 90% of their operating costs from Ontario totals.

In addition to higher fees, Temagami paddlers can expect more logging in non-park areas... the Ford administration's new forestry plan proposes a doubling of volumes to be harvested off. Protected parks will be exempt from logging but canoe routes often extend into non-park areas, where more cutting and roadbuilding can be expected.

The only exception in parks is Algonquin, where logging is still allowed.

The Ford administration, in addition to the funding cuts made to the MECP, has shown it's anti-environment bias in numerous instances, including....

- eliminating the Environmental Ombudsman's office, where complaints could be made against government by citizens

- changing Ontario’s Endangered Species Act to "streamline" processing of land development, and increase business and industry profits

- weakening the Environmental Assessment Act, for the same reasons as the above.

The increased user fees fit into this larger agenda of "streamlining" and "increased efficiency"... in the last election the Ford government got the green light to move forward with this.

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