Camping on Crown Land

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Camping on Crown Land

Check out my latest KCHappyCamper video about Crown land camping and how to use the Atlas, and figure out what species of fish are in the lakes and if/when they were stocked. 

One of the Best Wilderness Assets

Finding a piece of Crown land—a place that has good campsites, great fishing, and no crowds—is like finding a productive trout stream. Once you find it, you’ll want to keep it a secret. Or, at least have another person work as hard as you did to find it. With that said, however, I do believe in helping one get started in their search. After all, Crown land is one of the best wilderness assets we have in Ontario, representing 87 percent of the entire province.

Beyond the fact that fewer outdoors enthusiasts take advantage of Crown land, it’s also free of charge—as long as you’re a Canadian citizen or have lived in Canada for at least seven out of the last 12 months.

You can also pitch camp in the same spot for up to 21 days in a calendar year (unless there is a post stating otherwise). After that, you must move on to another site a minimum of 100 meters away. This eliminates squatters’ rights, allows others to make use of the site and helps reduce environmental impacts.

Signs may be posted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to limit certain kinds of travel or activity (including camping), as well as close forest access roads for reasons of public safety or environmental protection.

Requirements for Camping on Crown Land

You’ll need a permit if you are a non-resident of Canada. The cost is $10 per person per night. The price went up drastically a few years back. It used to be a mere $3. 

Permits can be purchased online, at a Service Ontario centre or authorized license issuer.

Most Conservation Reserves or unmanaged provisional parks are considered “Crown land” as well. Just make sure there are no restrictions posted on signs, or you’ll get a hefty fine.

The only downfall of Crown land camping is locating it. Thankfully, the Ontario government has a website showing Ontario’s Crown Land Policy Atlas

Trust me, locating a place to travel and camp on Crown land in Ontario isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time, planning and patience—but once you find it, the rewards are incredible.

Kevin Callan

Kevin (aka The Happy Camper) is the author of 18 books; his latest being Once Around Algonquin: An Epic Canoe Journey. He is an award winning writer and a keynote speaker at outdoor events across North America. Kevin is also a regular guest on several television morning shows – including The Outdoor Journal. He has won several film awards and was listed as one of the top 100 modern-day explorers by the Canadian Geographical Society. He was also made Patron Paddler for Paddle Canada.

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