Crown Land, amazing and free
If you are anything like me, you love finding a perfect spot out in the middle of nowhere, where you can go to unwind, take it easy, and enjoy a little bit of solitude and wildlife without all of the hassle of Provincial Park rules, and the costs associated with camping among the hordes of common city folk who take their one week vacation and pack everything they can possibly fit into their SUV and “rough it” cheek to cheek with everyone else.
If you have not yet discovered the wonders of Crown land, you are truly in for a treat. Crown land represents the majority of the province and you can use most of it for the purpose of recreation for free if you are a resident of Ontario. While there are some restrictions in place for certain parts of crown land, for the most part you can camp for 21 consecutive days in one camp site, then you have to move camp sites. If you think of how much it costs to camp most places, you will realize right away what an amazing deal this is.
There are lots of reasons why making use of Crown land is an exciting proposition. Here is what I enjoy about Crown land. First and foremost it is the solitude. If you are a person that is tired of negotiating space with other humans, then a week way out on Crown land is just the ticket. If you choose the location right, you may not encounter another soul the whole time you are there. Second is good fishing and hunting. Lakes with no cottages on them or roads leading up to them make the wildlife you encounter in the woods and in the lakes and rivers quite natural, to say the least. You don’t have to enjoy catching fish that have never seen a lure before to dig what Crown land has to offer. In the forest there is every type of animal you could possibly imagine and if you are into tracking animals, collecting wild mushrooms, or watching birds or other wildlife, you are in for a good time.
With so much Crown land available it is also perfect for bringing children, especially when they get to the age where you want to expose them to the ways of nature. Showing your kids an uncurated view of the forest and its natural processes is amazing for them to experience, if even only for a short afternoon hike.
Of course if you decide to head out for a while, you have to be self-sufficient as there are no park facilities and if you get lost, no one will come looking for you. It is also up to you to leave a minimal footprint, as the reason why many of these areas are so wonderful is that people haven’t had a chance to mess them up yet.
So here is the kicker. How do you figure out where these magical places are? That, my friends, is the easy part. Check out this lovely map provided by the government (that so much of our paychecks go to every week):
This map is very easy to figure out, and it lists in detail where exactly all of the Crown land is, plus it is printable. I punch in some coordinates into my GPS and away I go. Heading into the wilderness with everything you need in a modest backpack, armed with a canoe and fishing rod is one of the most essentially Canadian things to do. You always learn something about the forest when you head out on an adventure like this, but more importantly you also learn something about yourself. Check out the map, pick a spot to go and enjoy natural Ontario for free.