Algonquin Park is getting a $3 million infrastructure boost
This major project is in response to the soaring demand for Ontario's beautiful parks. In 2022, Ontario Parks recorded more than 12.1 million visits, with overnight camping increasing by nine per cent over the previous year. Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, David Piccini, said, "Building more roofed accommodations and bridges are an important part of ensuring visitors can enjoy a memorable experience at Algonquin Provincial Park year-round."
Eight new roofed accommodations, including four yurts and four cabins, will be constructed at Mew Lake Campground, increasing opportunities for overnight camping. The project also includes the replacement of two bridges at Rock Lake and Pog Lake campgrounds, roadway paving, and improvements along Highway 60.
Ontario Parks is also planning to update three additional yurts at Mew Lake Campground this year, offering modern camping amenities. This investment is in direct response to visitor feedback. In a 2021 survey, close to one-third of Ontario Parks visitors said they would be more likely to visit in the future if more roofed accommodations were available to rent.
John Yakabuski, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, said, "Reinvesting in Ontario Parks infrastructure at one of Ontario's most beloved parks will ensure visitors can enjoy a quintessential Canadian camping experience."
This infrastructure investment is part of Ontario's $41.7 million investment over two years to upgrade and maintain Ontario Parks infrastructure, ensuring a modern and enjoyable parks experience. Every dollar spent at Ontario Parks, from annual passes to purchases from the online store, is re-invested into Ontario Parks, helping to create a better park experience for visitors, improve services, programs, and amenities and protect 340 provincial parks and 295 conservation reserves across the province.
Established in 1893, Algonquin Provincial Park is Ontario's first provincial park and Canada's oldest provincial park, drawing about 1.1 million visits in 2022.
The park protects more than 1.9 million acres of land - that's bigger than the province of Prince Edward Island. With the addition of 26 new roofed accommodations in 2022-23, Ontario Parks now has a total of 201 roofed accommodations across 31 parks.
Of course, all is not yurts and sunshine in Algonquin. As environmental group Earth Roots has pointed out, there is still active logging in the provincial park, and more should be done to protect it, especially the old growth sections of Algonquin.
Ontario's world-class system of provincial parks is one of the province's greatest strengths, providing health and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike for more than 125 years. The investment in Algonquin Provincial Park's infrastructure will boost local tourism, strengthen the protection and health of local wildlife and the environment, and ensure that visitors can continue to enjoy this gem of Ontario's natural beauty.