NCC introduces fee for snowshoeing in Gatineau Park

Snowshoeing is no longer a free pastime in Gatineau Park.

Season passes cost anywhere from $30 to $145, National Capital Commission says

NCC to start charging daily, season passes for snowshoe trails this winter. 3:13

Snowshoeing is no longer a free pastime in Gatineau Park.

The National Capital Commission announced Monday that it will charge $7-$17 for snowshoeing day passes, and anywhere from $30 to $145 for season passes.

"The time has come to ask the snowshoe enthusiasts to contribute toward the services that are targeted to them," said NCC spokesman Jean Wolff.

"For decades, camping enthusiasts, people who go to the beaches, cross-country skiers, they have all been asked to contribute toward the cost of services specifically for them and not other park users."

Wolff said the park's snowshoe trail network has grown from 15 to 57 kilometres, equipped with signs, fire pits, shelters and more. The trails need to be maintained, parking lots need to be cleared of snow, and professional and volunteer patrols are used to keep visitors safe — all of which cost the park money.

"The idea that this would be different or would be a sign of commercialization of the park, I think is totally wrong. It does not meet the test of reality," Wolff said.

Those with cross-country ski passes will be able use them to snowshoe without having to get a snowshoeing pass.

People can also use their library cards to borrow a ski pass from public libraries in Ottawa, Gatineau and the Outaouais region. The ski passes allow access to snowshoe trails.

The are 150 passes available at the Ottawa Public Library, another 150 available at the Gatineau municipal library, 190 at the Outaouais regional library, and 10 available at the Chelsea library.

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