To Connect or Disconnect?

Parks Canada announced that it is looking for bids for contractors to install WiFi Hotspots in up to 50 of it’s parks this year. Now just so you know…that doesn’t necessarily mean campgrounds as Parks Canada has 44 National Parks, 167 National Historic Sites, 4 Marine Conservation Areas and 1 National Urban Park. The reasons people have given though are, what I think, a picture of what society is like now. People want to be able to:

  • Keep connected to work
  • Keep connected to friends and family
  • Keep in touch with the daily news
  • Give you a play-by-play of what they are doing (hello Twitter and Foursquare)
  • To plan on the go (weather bulletins, road maps, directions) and to monitor their home security.

Some of these reasons are valid like connecting with family or being able to plan on the go…you never know what the weather is going to do and you need to be able to change plans. However, I go away to Algonquin to get away from work….I may receive texts while I’m there but I ignore them until I get home. I am one to tweet or check-in while I’m in Algonquin if the cell service allows me to but I blog about the park and I want people to know the various things they can do. That being said…if I don’t have service I don’t worry about it.

This decision though makes me wonder about the future of WiFi in Algonquin and it’s got me thinking….why can’t we just take the opportunity to disconnect from the world around us and connect with our families? To me it’s a no brainer kind of question as I grew up when there were no cell phones, other than the huge Motorola’s, or WiFi. We played outside until the street lights came on and we went camping every summer, all summer as a family.

How do you feel about this?

Making Your Trip a Rewarding Experience

Going camping is great fun for the whole family.  If its your first trip it can be a little daunting.  Here are some general things to remember when staying within any organized campground.

  1. Staying on a hydro site may be more convenient for your hairdryer and tv but do remember they cost more.  You’re here to enjoy the great outdoors and most trailer batteries will last a long time if you use them sparingly.
  2. Be courteous of your fellow campers.  We don’t all want to hear you new speakers or loud parties especially at night.  Remember that there are families around you and people who are there to enjoy the peace and quiet.
  3. If you are there for the quiet, then perhaps look into the Radio-Free sections.  Music is only allowed if you use headphones.
  4. Driving everywhere in the campground is not necessary and will cause problems with the eco system in the future.  Besides walking after dinner and around the campground is a great way to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
  5. Take advantage of the activities available.  Most provincial parks have an evening interpretive program and a lot of them have museums and hiking trails.  There’s a program that teach the kids how to take care of the park so that it’s around for years to come, called the Good Camper Program.  Utilize them, you’ll learn a lot about the park’s history that way.
  6. Make sure that your food is properly stored.  Countless times there have been bears spotted within campgrounds because people have left food scraps out or didn’t lock their fridge up at night.  (Believe it or not, last year someone at Canisbay lake tent camped on a hydro site and brought with them on a trailer a FULL SIZE FRIDGE AND FREEZER.  They left said fridge/freezer unlocked.  Needless to say…that night we had bears in our area).
  7. Prepare for rainy days.  If you are camping with the kids bring along lots of rainy day activities like crafts or books.  It makes the time go faster and they are occupied rather than saying “I’m bored”.  For some great rainy day activities/crafts check out my Pinterest Board.
  8. If you are camping with kids then entertaining them could be challenging if they aren’t accustomed to being outside for long periods of time.  Have a bucket of games, puzzles, and books that they can read/do.  Go on nature hikes and discover the park.  I have another Pinterest Board that can give you some more activity ideas.
  9. Take advantage of canoe rentals if you don’t have your own canoe or you want to try it for the first time.  At Algonquin Park you can rent canoe’s on your way into the park from Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville or at their Oxtongue Lake location. You can also go to their Opeongo Lake location or have a canoe delivered to your campground from the Portage Store.  Prices vary so check out your campground bulletin boards.
  10. Take time to relax and unwind.  This is your vacation so treat it as such and return to work fully refreshed afterwards.
  11. Most importantly…spend time together as a family!  It builds memories that will last for years!  Kids don’t remember their best day gaming but they will remember the time you spent with them.

~Enjoy your trip!