Is old-fashioned camping going out of style?

August 8, 2010 with guest host Jacquie Perrin

"Is old-fashioned camping going out of style?"

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Guest host Jacquie Perrin's introduction to the August 8, 2010 program:

Our topic today: "Has old-fashioned camping gone out of style? Tell us about your best and worst camping experience."

Ah, the great outdoors...pitching a tent, sleeping under the stars...hauling a canoe on your back through the forest while singing at the top of your lungs to ward off bears...Consulting your compass or - these days - GPS when you've made a wrong turn... Who doesn't love a good camping trip?

A growing number of Canadians, as it turns out.

Even as Canada's first national park - Banff - celebrates its 125th anniversary, our national park attendence numbers have fallen by over 20% in the past 15 years, even though Canada's population has risen by almost that much since then.

Now Parks Canada wants to get Canadians back to nature...but the nature of that has changed. From hi-tech tents and equipment to GPS-enabled watches, even Wifi at some camp grounds...roughing it in the wilderness just ain't what it used to be.

But .. can you really trust all that high-tech gadgetry? After all, a simple map and compass will never run out of batteries...

And what about new Canadians? How welcoming are our national parks to families whose typical summer experiences don't include tents and bugspray?

Some national parks are introducing 'camping 101' initiatives to teach new Canadians all about the joys (and rules) of one of our greatest (or itchiest) summer traditions: CAMPING.

We want to hear about your experiences in the great outdoors. Are your long weekends incomplete unless you're sleeping under the stars? Or maybe you have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from your precious running water (or hair dryer)? But even city slickers can have life-altering moments in the wilderness, and every seasoned outdoorsperson has a camping disaster story or two to share.

What about you? What are your best - and worst - camping experiences? Maybe you have a favourite spot. Maybe you like to check out a different park every year. Maybe you can't imagine a summer where you don't air-out your sleeping bag. Maybe you're a gadget addict and can't leave home without them. Or..maybe you take it all with you in an RV or camper. Perhaps you've just returned from your first ever camping trip and you can't see what all the fuss is about. Either way, we want to hear from you.

Our topic today : Tell us about your best and worst camping experience.

I'm Jacquie Perrin ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius satellite radio channel 137 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.


Interviewed by guest host Jacquie Perrin on the August 8, 2010 program

"Tell us about your best and worst camping experiences."

  • Ryan Stuart
    Senior field editor of Explore Magazine.
  • Alex MacDonald
    Camp Interpretor at Sibbald Point Provincial park for Camping 101, near Sutton, Ontario.
  • Geoff Morrison
    One of the producers of the National Parks Project film series.
  • Les Stroud
    AKA Survivorman, star of the Outdoor Life Network's upcoming series Beyond Survival.
  • Robert Bateman
    Wildlife painter, naturalist and founder of the Get To Know Your Wild Neighbours Program to encourage young people to explore the outdoors.

  • Globe and Mail
  • Toronto Star


    My husband and I lived in Toronto for 40 years. During that period we camped in various parks in Ontario and several times travelled across Canada to the west coast camping along the way. We love nature and this was a chance to be a part of it. However, we soon learned that the best time to enjoy the experience was early May, before the parks were officially opened. We had some cold nights but it was worth it for the peace and quiet. Our worst campout was in Whiteshell Park near Winnipeg when a noisy party kept us awake until 3:30. They were more subdued as they watched us pack up our tent and drive away half an hour later.

    For us the nights meant sleeping when the sun went down or staying up to listen to owls or studying the stars. After that night in Manitoba, we sadly changed over to motels.

    Maybe we misunderstood the purpose of the parks. I would be interested in what your listeners think.

    Elva Kellington
    Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

    For me, camping is what one does in the back country on canoe or hiking trips. Such trips involve total immersion in the natural world with only a very limited amount of gear. Since all gear must be carried, there is an incentive to be minimalist in one's choice of equipment. Conversely, for many people camping involves going to campgrounds that are like small cities filled with high-tech stuff designed to make the outdoor experience as much like home as possible. Perhaps such campgrounds offer city dwellers the illusion that they are having an outdoor experience, but for people such as myself, mass campgrounds hold no appeal. Why would I leave a comfortable suburban home located in a park-like setting to live in a crowded campground with public toilets and annoying noises from neighbouring campers? The last time I walked through such a place I noticed that many of the motor home type of "campers" had small gas-powered generators that noisily provide the owner with electricity to power gadgets such as televisions. Such campgrounds also typically have a number of campers who enjoy noisy drunken parties.

    The best thing about the energy-intensive style of camping that occurs in conventional campgrounds is that it gives the masses something to do that keeps them out of the back country so that people such as myself can continue to enjoy nature there.

    Vancouver Island, British Columbia

    In the 1960's my parents liked to take their 4 children to Point Pelee each May for the annual bird migration. One cool spring my father went to Canadian Tire to look at tent heaters and decided they were too expensive on his clergyman's salary. He fashionned his own with a tin can and a volatile hydrocarbon.

    The family of 6 settled down after nightfall in the canvas tent with the german shepherd tied to the centre pole.

    Hearing the 5 am wake up call of squirrels, the dog slithered under the door flap bringing the entire flammable canvas tent down on the open heater.

    Yes, we all survived. But now I sleep in my car when others invite me camping.

    Christine Johns
    Ottawa, Ontario

    This spring, we went to a small town outside Toronto and were camping for the weekend. My boyfriend went there first with a friend and I went there when I was done work to meet them. It was pouring, pouring rain on my way and when I got there.

    When I got there, our 'tent' was up and about one and a half foot high because they had forgotten the correct tent poles. Since it was raining and the tent was one and a half feet high, it was also soaked inside and dripping like it was raining inside as well as outside. Our two dogs were in thre with us and it was so wet that they got up and had to shake themselves off in the middle of the night. This night was so wet and so cold there really was no sleep happening. I would have left and gone to a hotel but it was the middle of the night when I got there and I didn't know where to go!

    To add to this horrible campuing experience, there was a train that went by within fifty meters of our campsite. And, it seemed to go by every two hours through both the day and the night and was so loud!

    Needless to say... it was a very cold, wet and grumpy weekend!! And my last camping experience, at least for a long time!

    My best camping trip occurred this June when I went camping at Killbear Provincial Park. This was quite a feat since last year I was paralyzed for 6 months and I was just starting to walk. When I started my out-patient physio in January 2010, I said to my physiotherapist that I wanted to camp in June for my birthday. I was sitting in a wheelchair and I was not walking. She looked at me and said "Well, we definitely have a challenge!"

    Over the winter I went to physio 3 times a week and by June I was packing the car and driving to Killbear on Georgian Bay. Nine months earlier I was told that I had one month to live and my kids were told to start planning for a funeral. When I took my first breath of air at Killbear, I was overcome with the joy of being back in a park that I had been in since I was one month old and I was there to celebrate my 52nd birthday. Camping is such a spiritual experience for me and I am more than grateful to be taking another trip to Killbear at the end of the month and anticipate many more to come.

    Natasha Koziol
    London, Ontario

    We are avid campers - or were.

    Our frustration has been with Parks Ontario's reservation system. There are good sites and not so good sites. You can reserve a site up to 6 months in advance, however, there is no penalty if you don't show up or use the whole reservation.

    We had a terrible time reserving a decent site this year - so we rented a cottage instead. They need to radically change their reservation system.

    Rob Rae

    As a young boy I would go camping with neighbours as they had a trailor camper. This past half weekend my son took me camping. It rained and we came back early. As Canadians we are very lucky to have reserverd areas for camping.

    Geoffrey Vale
    Victoria, British Columbia

    I have been camping in Provincial Parks for about 30 years, since I was very young. I grew up in Northern Ontario and camped with my family at Finlayson Point in Temagami for at least a week every summer, and some weekends. We would meet some family from Toronto and spend the week together some years. My father always had a great set up, but mom would have always preferred to be close to the comfort station (family joke). We loved campsite 32 because right across the road there are rocks to jump off into lake Temagami. It's heaven up there.

    Since then I have camped all across the States and Ontario, Quebec and Mexico. Canada truly has some of the most beautiful Parks, we are so lucky to have it all just outside almost every city, every town and in between. I can't imagine a summer without exploring and enjoying our beautiful country and Parks makes it just a little easier to do that.

    We now camp in Marten River, every year on a long weekend my three siblings and I and parents and significant others and kids meet up and camp together. We have our family reunions there.


    Our family loves camping. We started with the two person tent, from my husband's single days, that was too tight for the 4 of us. We moved on to the big tent, which was quickly dropped. We now own a light weight, canoe camping friendly family size MEC tent. Last year we got our own canoe. Renting is way too expensive.

    Our kids really look forward to camping trips to find frogs, snakes and all kinds of other little animals. I have to say that going camping is not cheap activity, that might be one of the reasons that people are turned off, but NOT us!


    Some of the reasons that there is a decline in camping is:

    - Camping fees have jumped up in the last couple of years to over $20/person.

    - Most federal and provincial campgrounds in BC are made of gravel, which is fine for RVs, but not for tents.

    - Campfires are usually banned (for good reasons) when the weather is best for camping such as July and August in BC.

    The outdoors is still wonderful. We have gone out several times and filmed eagles, deer, and many other animals one doesn't see in cities.

    Editor, Wilderness Travels

    My name is Grace and I'm 11 years old. I just came back from two weeks on the ocean where I was camping on our boat. Camping depends almost entirely on the weather. We had great weather in Kitimat which made it so much easier but in Rupert when we were packing up it was pouring rain which made it hard! Also remember your gear! I've been on trips where we forgot cups and were an hour away from the nearest store, it was bad. My most "interesting" trip was when I was 7 or 8 and we went on our traditional trip to Camsell Lake but had to stay on a point instead of our usual island. Unfortunately one night a big squall came along and hit our point. Chaos. Mainly my camping has been great and I think it's really worth it for the experiences you get out of it.


    We are are in our mid-fifties. We have camped in a tent for three decades.

    This year is the first year we will stay home in the North Okanagan, BC. We live on a small acreage where there is far more peace, quiet and wildlife than on noisy provincial campgrounds. Between RVs with generators, t.v's, seadoos, powerboats et al we find a camping vacation an aural assault.

    Add to this the fact that you need to reserve a campground early in the season makes a spontanious camping get-away impossible.

    Planning a camping trip far ahead of unforseen personal events or unforseen weather when one is tenting makes this vacation option a no-go especially given the lack of peace and quiet.


    We just returned from a family camping vacation through the Rockies. Although we had a wonderful time, there were some things about our National Park system we found rediculous and uninviting. I understand why people travelling through the parks, may choose not to stop.

    Check out the difference in rates for our parks from our neighbours to the south. The day rates for visiting our parks for a few days, with children, were restrictive.

    We ended up stopping in Lake Louise for a few minutes...couldn't find a place to buy a ticket, but found signs everywhere threatening fines if we didn't have one. We were afraid of what would happen at a time that we had an extra person in our vehicle.

    We were happy to find a campground in Jasper with 'hot showers', but dismayed by the archaic plumbing, and showers that ranged from lukewarm to cold. It was painful listening to the mom in the stall beside me showering her young child, who was in tears. This after coming from a superb private campground in BC.

    On the other hand, we also utilized the IHA wilderness hostel system through the Rockies, and were greatly impressed.

    JJ Wall
    Courtenay, British Columbia

    The slide at Meager Creek near Pemberton, BC, reminds me of a particular camping trip in that area many years ago. We had set up our camp at the park there and decided to take a dip in the large natural hot tub before we had our evening meal. There were five of us in the tub to start, my partner and I, another two women and one man. We were enjoying our soak in the warm water when along came a group of six young men, employees of BC Hydro who were doing some geothermal drilling near by. They stripped down to the bluff and hopped into the water. The man and two women left.

    One very handsome young man came me and asked if I minded if he sat there. I didn't mind in the least. However, the sight of such a good looking nude male was too much for my then middle aged eyes. In short order I had to get out the tub and dip my toes in the cold water of Meager Creek.

    That's one trip I shall never forget.

    Carol McGregor

    I used to camp all the time and loved it. I went camping to get away from the city and to enjoy nature. We would load up the car and just start driving, camping along the way. We could stop and find a camp site almost anyway. We did not need a reservation. Now everything is based upon reservations, the cost is through the roof and the peace and quiet of camping is gone. What is the point of leaving the comfort of your home and to get away from it all when "it" pulls up beside you in a campsite. I shake my head when I see people with all their gadgets, TV satellites etc. I would like to see campsites where a person could truly rough it - no high tech, fifth wheels, RV's - a true back to nature experience. I'd sooner pitch my tent in my backyard or hike up the local mountain that spend my time in a government campsite.

    Eileen Williamson
    Nanaimo, British Columbia

    We love camping. We've tented across Canada but as we age we now have a Boler which helps keep us camping.

    We have had to stop visiting parks as the fees have become too high. We don't even stop at Long Beach or the Gold Mine Trail for a simple walk, for example, as it costs more than going to a play 'Good Timber' now being presented at the BC Museum.

    Too bad, as there are so many beautiful spaces to see.

    Keep it simple and keep it affordable and I think you'll find the visitor numbers will increase.

    Leona Taylor
    Victoria, British Columbia

    I have been camping all of my life since the age of 12 across Canada and now am doing so with my wife and 3 teenagers (and pets).

    Camping in the past has always been an economical way to see the country. For some it is the only respite from their home that is affordable, although at least in BC, this affordability is very much in question for many more families.

    We started paying about $8 per night about 15 years ago. This has now tripled. Additionally, some parks are almost exclusively populated with reservable campsites which adds an additional premium and lack of availability. Some families cannot plan their vacation months in advance and so find that many campsites are booked even before the season really starts.

    The campsites in BC are now using privatized campground companies to manage these parks. Campfire wood used to be free. A cord of wood typically is delivered to a Vancouver Island home for about $150. The size of box of wood that is available at the provincial campsite Strathcona Park now costs the equivalent of $650 to $800 per cord of very questionable quality. We bring our own wood, but others, especially international visitors, do not have this option.

    They have also cancelled most if not all provincially sponsored nature walks / lectures which were invaluable for instilling appreciation of nature for young and old alike.

    My son is camping across Canada right now and is finding many sites are $30 and over for just a single person with a motorcycle yet he can rent a motel for $60.

    Generally, my best experience was being able to spend quality time with my family while on an affordable vacation. I guess my worst experience camping was when the BC government decided to privatize the provincial campsites.

    No mystery to me why there is less camping.

    Keith Tombs and family
    Ladysmith, British Columbia

    My family immigrated to Canada in the 1950s. In the early 1960s, to my parents great credit having never done anything remotely like camping, we went to an outdoor store, got fully kitted out and off we went in our 1962 Plymouth to Silver Lake Provincial Park - about 70 miles west of Ottawa.

    The first task was of course to set up the tent ... to this day I'm not sure how my Dad did it but in attempting to pound in the pegs with a hatchet it twisted in his hand and badly sliced his hand open. The park ranger took my dad to the hospital in Perth for attention. So there were me (10 years old,) my sister (6 years old) and my mom - looking at a tent, bunch of cots, Coleman stove and lantern. So I took on the task and after awhile managed to get the tent setup. Mom and sister setup the kitchen.

    My dad eventually returned all stitched up. The only reason why he found us all setup was because my mother couldn't drive - if she had we would have been back in Ottawa with equipment unused and ready to be sold!

    The good news is that we ended up spending many enjoyable days camping over the next half dozen years including an across North America trip and almost yearly visits to PEI.

    Dan Lemkow
    Ottawa, Ontario

    For the last 5 years my partner and I have spent a week in Fundy National Park. Fundy has a wealth of trails and they have an added incentive to do them by having a geocaching tournament where if you find the 5 caches, you get a unique coin. Tghey also have a hiking incentive where after hiking 100km of trails you get a pin. These are things that get you on trails that you normally wouldn't go on because they cross brooks or cover some rough terrain. We've seen some beautiful scenery throughout the park and look forward to it every year.

    We love the outdoors but would rather not deal with making meals outdoors or clean up after a meal by heating water over a fire, so staying in a park for any length of time is limited to those that have facilities with electricity and hot running water. Fundy is one of the rare parks with cabins that have running hot water and electricity that you can rent for 100$ a night. But on top of that is the 8$ daily fee per person so staying for 5 days adds up to an extra 80$. It has made us think twice about going back next year.

    We have also noticed a gradual decline in the upkeep of the trails too. One of the trails we did this year was so neglected that you had to constantly look at your feet while you were walking for fear of walking through boggy areas or tripping over tree roots, so it wasn't an enjoyable trail. It was so bad that earlier hikers had started numerous alternative routes around these obstacles. I understand the need to keep it as natural as possible but there ust be a compromise. Some gravel over the roots or boardwalks would have made this a more enjoyable excursion.

    Jeff Johnson
    Middlewood, Nova Scotia

    My daughter attended community enviroment leadership program (CELP) in Guelph and then the Headwaters program and has moved on to Lakehead U and has spent this summer woodlands -caribou provincial park in Red Lake. From what she has shared with us it has affirmed her belief in her choice of careers. Time will tell but we are all behind her.

    Bob Shaw
    Guelph, Ontario

    In the 40s, 50s and even part of the 60s camping was a poor man's sport. Now it is a rich man's sport. The cost of campgrounds, camping equipment, travel.

    In the earlier years camping was to close to the way we lived, cooking over wood fires, heating water for dishes, washing in cold water, bugs,etc.

    Now we are trying to get back to that.

    Terry Demarco
    Winnipeg, Manitoba

    In the 1970's on a sabbatical year, we took our huge Woods heavy canvass tent with full length mosquito d.r. tent out the front door. On our first foray, we did not realize we had to to reserve a space, and found ourselves in a kind farmer's field that night. We also left the main cross pole at home and had to jerry rig the contraption. After a sleepless night we were awoken to sheep staring in the flaps bleeting an the intrusion.

    We found the lost pole back in our garage and on one subsequent trip with two young kids found ourselves at a huge campsite in Stratford, and set up shop among the civilized English with their tea-wagons and wee nylon tents. A BBC crew filmed our rustic works, thinking, because of the Mosquito netting, that we must be South Africans. Appparently the English don't know about Canada, mosquitos and black flies! We took the rig to France and also caused wondering looks with this huge canvass tent, whereever we went.

    Gail Benjafield
    St. Catharines, Ontario

    I go into the wilderness on horseback quite a bit. One amazing memory I have is riding to a remote site by a small mountain lake. It was late at night, with an almost full moon. I woke up to the sound of loud splashing in the lake. I sat up to see my horse, who was a very spectaculary spotted appaloosa, going for a midnight swim in the moonlit lake!

    Gail Jewell

    We have just returned to Nanaimo, BC from a 2 ½ month cross Canada trip in our camper van. We dubbed our return trip from Newfoundland to Nanaimo our "Parks Canada Tour". We tallied up about 18 National Parks and National Historic sites visited on this trip. We thoroughly enjoyed every campground and historic site we visited and were very pleased to have the option to purchase an annual pass. Having the pass allowed us to experience each site without debating the entrance fee (they vary considerably from site to site). We were always impressed with the campground facilities in each location. We especially enjoyed the spacious campsites (no parking lot feeling that you sometimes get in private facilities!). Comfort stations were well maintained in every location.

    We got to experience some magnificent landscapes and seascapes while visiting the parks and enjoyed some great hiking, as well. The interpretative centers were especially interesting and informative.

    A few of the highlights: Gros Morne, Forillon, Bruce Peninsula, Elk Island, Jasper and Banff.

    Historic site highlights: Louisbourg, Signal Hill, and Annapolis Royal.

    Keep up the good work, Parks Canada!

    Keith and Linda Allen
    Nanaimo, British Columbia

    I raised my kids as a single working mom. Needless to say, money was tight. We have camped through southern and central Ontario and most of Quebec. Time on the road and camping was my check-in time with my kids. They were my captive audience in the car. The best story I can remember was camping for 2 weeks in the outback in Algonquin Park when it rained for the 1st week and a half. We rigged a tarp suspended over the picnic table and fire pit as a makeshift shelter and made out fine. After going through every game we could think of, we finally got bored and did a 2.8 mile trail in the rain. Surprisingly we were not the only hikers that day. However by the time the sun re-emerged, we had no clean clothes left. I remember sitting on a rock in the middle of a creek washing our clothes with eco-friendly soap. Our tarp lines became clotheslines and we returned to the city with clean clothes.

    As for fees at National parks it would be nice if they were geared to income.

    Sacha Martin

    Several years ago we were hiking the West Coast Trail with our family and on about the third day out I discovered that I had left our camera behind somewhere on the trail. We completed the hike and left a note on the bulletin board at the trail head with our name and address indicating that we had lost our camera. Several months later we received a parcel in the mail, it was our camera! Apparently a young couple on their honeymoon had been hiking a day or two behind us on the Trail and they found our camera sitting on a stump somewhere. This was fortunate for them because the battery in their camera had died and they used ours to take pictures of the rest of their hike. Upon their arrival at the trail head they saw our note and when they finally got home from their honeymoon they mailed our camera and a lovely letter telling us what had happened!

    Further to this we have just arrived home from rafting the Tatshenshini River in the Yukon where ironically enough my camera slipped off my lap and into the river never to be seen again... once again we have a vacation without photos! Just a lot of really wonderful memories!

    Nora McNally
    Medicine Hat, Alberta

    The formula is simple. During the Mulroney years, a philosophy of parks as revenue centres prevailed; camping costs went up, interpretive services that would bring people into, and deepen their connection to the parks were slashed, and peak experiences such as the West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim and the Burgess Shales in Yoho became subject to large fees. At the same time, at least in BC, there has been a total neglect of the Forestry campsites, resulting in an explosion of unauthorized and often very destructive roadside camping. And, with respect to your Parks Canada guest, that situation persists to the present day. Of course, "glamping" is intended to bring people into the parks--but not the families and children that used to come, rather, the upscale tourist willing to pay for high-priced services. It will take a deep renewal in the federal government's commitment to our natural heritage to make the changes that will bring people back to the parks, and ensure the future of that heritage.

    Terry Pitt-Brooke
    New Westminster, British Columbia

    Last year I had the opportunity to take two Italians who were visiting our area on a canoe camping trip. I volunteered to take them on a three day canoe camping trip. The whole time they were amazed at what I had available to me...wilderness space. Their amazement continued to grow when they began to realize how big our back country actually is. The spread between our three oceans. Yes, sometimes we begin to take things for granted and once in a while someone comes by and wakes you up. Why do we see so much litter on the sides of our travelways? Everyday I try to pick up a piece of litter and I have never thrown litter to the ground because of my father. Thanks dad.


    I would like to address the comments raised regarding the cost of access to the National (Parks Canada) campgrounds. I am a former financial officer with Parks Canada and feel confident that I can speak to this. It is very misleading to compare the admission price(s) of private (for profit) campgrounds with the fees for the National Parks. First, the NPs are enormous -- it unlikely there's a private sector campground anywhere near the size. And, because of the size and Parks' mandate (future generations, etc.) resource management (flora and fauna) comprise a significant part of the salary and operational costs.

    Second, the Parks invariably include nature trails which are maintained to a high standard of safety (signage, boardwalks, bridges, etc.).

    Third, there are considerable costs associated with maintaining access roads (for the public as well as for emergency vehicles).

    Fourth, Parks employs a significant number of interpreters to make the camping experience educational. I could go on and on but, the point I'd like to make is: the price of admission is based on a cost-recovery model and Parks Canada provides the opportunity for safe and educational outdoor experiences beyond comparison.

    Joanne Steadman
    Ottawa, Ontario

    I was listening to your caller who talked about the cost of getting into national parks, and saying it was cheaper to go to provincial campgrounds. I did not hear what province he was talking about, but he shouldn't count on its being cheaper since the Alberta government privatized the campgrounds.

    A few years ago, with three friends, I went south into Kananaskis Country for a few days of hiking; we decided that the four of us would go in one vehicle, to be "green". No one had a huge tent so we were in two small backpacking tents. We were charged DOUBLE rates, i.e. $34.00, because we had two tents on the site. This, despite the fact that we had to set up the tents between the cow patties, and the outhouses were in poor condition. To add insult to injury, next door to us was an absolutely gigantic RV with half a dozen people and a generator that kicked in in the middle of the night. They paid $17.00.

    It put us all off on these private campgrounds ever since. Two of us wrote letters of complaint to the government. Clearly it did no good, because a year or two later there was an article published in the Elbow Valley Cycle Club newsletter, describing being charged double in the same place. They had two one-man lightweight cycling tents and two bicycles on one site and also were charged $34.00.

    The result of this extraordinarily stupid behaviour is that many people camp just outside the boundaries of K Country, where they pollute the water because of the lack of outhouses. It is infuriating.

    Carmie Callanan

    I'm not sure if this point was raised but if you have a Disabled Person Parking Permit, you get a substantial break on the costs at Canaian Parks and even a free fishing license.

    Just thought I would throw that out there.

    Thunder Bay, Ontario

    My wife and I have backpacked the "Berg Lake Trail" at Mt Robson Prov Park.

    I listened to one of your guests comment on the demise of the use of parks. Our National Parks have a limited amount of space or in other words, there is not much expansion because national parks are not allowed to expand so most people have to rely on provincial or other parks. I asked a ski coach why Lake Louise was not use as the mens/womens alpine events in 1988 and he told me the IOC criteria is an Olympic Village and also within an hours travel of the host city. Because Lake Louise was in Banff National Park expansion to build such a village was not allowed so Nakiska was the result. Bottom line is national parks have restrictions. The best way to see those parks is with a back pack.

    The nice thing about our national parks is that I believe they cater to our disabled so they have opportunities to ride the Tramway to the top of a mountain in Jasper (for example) and see what an alpine region looks like.

    I have seen the rise of RVs and boats, quads. Quads for example are not allowed in most National Parks so those type of recreational people turn to other areas.

    Les Stroud is correct in saying that backpacking is a lost art. Backpacking is simply the best way to see this country. Just do the Berg Lake Trail and you will know what I mean.

    Rob Rheaume & Susan Sarrazin

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