Can You Go Camping On Crown Land? (Read This First)

Can You Go Camping On Crown Land

Crown Land is vast and has various locations that offer fantastic camping experiences. You can discover rivers, beaches, lakes, and other unique Landscapes.

These lands have dispersed campsites where camping is possible under some conditions. There are also green zones where you can’t camp. 

Since the provincial government owns this land, camping laws can be unclear. Fortunately, this article will enlighten you on Crown Land camping.

Canadians and other residents who spent seven months out of the previous 12 months in Canada can camp freely on Crown Land for 21 days. Also, non-residents with a permit can camp for 21 days on Crown Land but only in northern areas of Mattawa and French rivers. Typically, there are designated sites for campers in one calendar year.

The article will highlight the regulations regarding Crown Land camping for residents and non-residents. 

Reading on, you’ll understand the costs associated with campsites for residents and non-residents. Furthermore, you’ll learn some tips for camping on Crown Land successfully.

Does Canadian Law Allow Camping in Crown Land?

Can You Go Camping On Crown Land

Canadian law allows Crown Land camping but only in certain areas. Residents don’t need to pay anything to enjoy 21-day camp experiences in designated areas.

The Canadian ministry created the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas, which features maps and boundaries of Crown Lands in Northern, Central, and Southern Ontario.

Using this Atlas, campers can find camping areas across Northern Ontario, Thunder Bay, Muskoka, and Ottawa.

The Atlas provides information on Crown Land use areas and activities you can partake in on Crown Land. The entire area includes water and land of over 39 million hectares.

Campers can carry out numerous activities in these designated areas.

Some of the activities include:

  • Hiking
  • Canoeing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Bird watching

On the other hand, non-residents have to pay for a Crown Land camping license. However, some instances don’t require licenses from non-residents.

A non-resident won’t need a license if they:

  • Hire a camping compartment (trailer or tent) from an individual who transacts business within Ontario.
  • Own property/possessions within Ontario.
  • Carry out employment obligations in Canada.
  • Participate in charitable or other non-profit organizations and have authorization from the ministry to camp.

Is It Free To Camp in Crown Land?

Camping in operational Ontario Parks requires a fee and license. 

31 Ontario Parks provide excellent backcountry camping, although; you can only access these locations by backpacking or rowing. 

The backcountry has paddling campsites and hiking campsites. The cost varies from $10.17 – $21.47 per individual every night. 

Additionally, there are discounts for the elderly and persons having disabilities. For backcountry camping, you get four kinds of campsite reservations. Each reservation depends on the park you choose.

The bookings are:

  1. Particular campsites with pending reservations for every night.
  2. Pre-decided lake or location to camp for every night. Inside your location or lake area, there are campsites for first-comers.
  3. The first to arrive will receive service first.
  4. Entry Quota. 

Meanwhile, camping is free for citizens in other Crown Land areas and non-operational Ontario Parks.

Conversely, non-residents must purchase a camping license before camping at Crown Land. Non-residents can buy these licenses from legitimate Northern Ontario license issuers. 

The license costs $9.35 + tax ($10.57) for each person every night. Additionally, you can buy the licenses online through the Ontario Government Programs and Services website.

The following process will guide you on how to buy a license online.

  1. Visit the site and sign in using your One-key ID.
  2. If you don’t own a One-key ID, you can open a Natural Resource Registry account for an individual or business.
  3. Include camper details by following these steps;
  • Choose My Services on the home menu. 
  • Next, tap on Create New Submission.
  • In the options, pick Non-Resident Crown Land Camping Permit.
  • Fill in the needed information.
  • Submit the request.
  1. Complete payment of the license, which will prompt three subsequent e-mails;
  • Application confirmation email.
  • Payment confirmation email.
  • License email.
  1. Print the license and take it along with you when camping. This way, you can show your license to any officer that demands it.

How Long Can I Camp in Crown Land?

Canadians and non-residents can camp in Crown Land for 21 days in one specific location for one calendar year.

The Canadian ministry enforced this system to lessen environmental effects and make camping sites accessible to others.

Canadians should ensure to confirm if camping is valid in the Crown Land, they want to go to. Similarly, non-residents should also find out if they can camp on a particular Crown Land.

Not all Crown Land is available for camping, so confirm using the Atlas before going. Campers are also responsible for cleaning up after camping.

You have to maintain the ecological balance of the campsite. Hence, ensure you pick up any litter and dispose of rubbish properly. 

Failure to do so can attract a fine of $10,000 as stipulated in the Public Lands Act.

There are also strict regulations on fire use in campsites. Unattended fires can cause severe damage to plants and wildlife, so regulations ensure that such situations don’t happen. 

The table below shows the acceptable ways of using fire. 

Unacceptable Fire Usage Acceptable Fire Usage 
Outdoor campfiresGas stove
Burning wood or dry grassCharcoal stove
Burn barrel usageWood burning stove

Is Crown Land Safe For Tent Camping?

It is safe to tent camp in most Crown Land locations; however, the Torrance Barrens conservation area banned camping activities.

Other Crown Land areas allow tent camping and many recreational activities. Places near Ottawa, Toronto, and Muskoka have good campsites to pitch your tent.

Besides tent camping, you can carry out several other recreational activities, which include:

  • Hiking
  • Biking 
  • Water ski
  • Bird watching
  • Canoeing
  • Horse-back ride
  • Cross-country ski

When carrying out these activities, being aware of your surroundings is crucial. Don’t get lost in all the fun and damage the environment.

Since most of the Crown Land is uncared for, the campers are responsible for the environment.

The following are some ways campers can care for Crown Land.

  • Pick up any litter you see and dispose of your refuse correctly.
  • Do not allow campfires to burn unwatched. Ensure you extinguish campfires before setting out.
  • Respect other Crown Land inhabitants.
  • Use existing trails, and don’t stray off.
  • Do not maim or destroy plants, habitats, trees, and other life safeguarded under regional law.

Can I Car Camp in Crown Land?

There are over 100 provincial parks in Ontario that facilitate car camping. You can drive your car to these campsites. 

Many of these car camps open during late spring and close in autumn. The parking locator can guide you in selecting a suitable park. Each park offers different activities and experiences.

After choosing a park, you can make a campsite reservation five months ahead. You can make reservations online or call the office in charge of reservations. 

Another essential detail is the four car camping fee levels: AA, A, B, and C. Each level shows the campsite’s popularity and the accessibility of facilities.

You can use Mastercard, debit cards, and cash to pay. Whichever campsite you pay for, you’ll get a picnic board, fire pit, and a grate. 

Also, you’ll get a flat area to arrange personal camping equipment. The campsite size, shade and sun amount, and closeness to neighbors vary among parks. 

You can see descriptions of campsites in the Parks system. Details of these parks are available for viewing, so you know what you are paying for. 

Tips for a Successful Crown Land Camping

Camping can be a fun and exhilarating experience; however, you need to plan well before going out in the wild. 

The following are some Crown Land camping tips.

#1. Bring Enough Water

Camping can be tiring; eventually, you’ll need water to rejuvenate. If you’re going to spend a long time out there, then you need plenty of water.

You don’t only need water for drinking; you’ll also have to cook, wash plates, and bathe. A body of water might be close to your camp, but you’ll have to use that wisely.

Water from lakes and rivers can disrupt your water system. Therefore, bringing enough water from your home is advisable so you don’t have to depend on a body of water.

#2. Power Supply

If you’re going to camp for a long, consider bringing a generator. In camping areas, there is no power for you to microwave food, toast bread, or boil water.

Get a generator that can power all your electrical appliances. You can also consider solar power if the idea of a generator doesn’t appeal to you.

#3. Be Wary of Wildlife

When camping, you may encounter wildlife. One way to avoid that is to dispose of refuse properly. Chase away any small rodents you see around or in your camper.

The presence of such rodents can attract other animals that hunt for them. Finally, ensure you don’t litter pieces of food in your camp area.

#4. Communication

Maintaining communication with others is of the utmost importance. Share your location with a relative or a friend when camping in Crown Land. 

Since the land is vast, there’s no telling what you might encounter out there. Therefore, you need to make loved ones aware of your whereabouts.

Furthermore, if you’re camping in a group, you can use walkie-talkies so you guys can communicate.

Josh Matthews

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