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The Fees go up, but “How Much”?

Our family came to the Thousand Islands and spent five years visiting the St. Lawrence Islands National Park docks. As a result we made life-long friendships, fell in love with the region and eventually built a cottage. Like hundreds of others, we really appreciate the decision made in 1904 when the Canadian Government established our Park - the first national park in Eastern Canada.

Today the St. Lawrence Islands National Park – soon to be renamed Thousand Islands National Park – and its sister park, The Rideau Canal System – play a huge role in providing safe recreation in the region.

Therefore in early January, I was startled to read, in the Ottawa Citizen, the front-page news:  Fees in all parks across the country would rise. Soon “Letters the Editor” and editorials in newspapers expressed irate reactions. 

The problem was evident - fees at all Parks Canada sites (including the Rockies)  were frozen in 2008 as a result of Canada’s economy. 

In fact, boaters on the Rideau were paying less than 10 percent of what it costs to manage the lock systems.

Therefore after a five year freeze the fees were set to rise. However, the question was by “How much?”

The first reports were worrisome for the new proposed rates for 2013 for the Canal systems, including the Trent and Rideau Canals, showed a rise by 200%.

In the Ottawa Citizen, Don Butler reported that the Kawartha Voyageur, a 120-foot cruise ship, paid $5,200 in lockage and mooring fees in 2012 but would see the cost soar to $111,000 by 2014 - a 2,126 percent increase!

The good news was the published rates were only “Proposed” and Parks Canada asked for public input until February 18th, 2013. Its website provided ample information and encouraged discussion. And, they received lots of it!

For Thousand Islands boaters, the proposed fees would have seen the overnight rate jump to $2.00 per foot from $.90 per foot. However, after several days of public input and the outcry by elected officials in towns and villages close by, the new proposal was modified.  

Jeff Leggo, Park Superintendent reports, “The new proposed rates are now revised to the following:

Daytime mooring fee per foot:  Former:  $.40 per foot  / Proposed: $.50 per foot

Overnight mooring (Includes day mooring) Former:  $.90 per foot / Proposed $1.25 per foot

Seasonal Mooring Pass fee per foot: Former:  $9.80 per foot / $20. per foot”

At the same time Superintendent Leggo expressed his appreciation saying,  “All our Park visitors are important, whether they enjoy a quiet berth on a mooring buoy, or a summer evening at a Park island dock.” 

On behalf of all those who take full advantage of Canada’s National Parks, I thank Superintendent Leggo and his staff for their expertise in managing these very special islands. I also encourage mariners looking for a true 1000 Islands experience to stop at a Park island this summer! Together we can ensure the protection of the islands in the St. Lawrence as well as the Rideau Canal system and its importance as a national historic site. 

I hope boaters will review the information on the Parks Canada website and give their input.

It is not too late to voice your opinion.  Deadline for public input: February 18, 2013

Notice on Parks Canada Website:

If someone does not agree with a proposed fee they should contact Parks Canada indicating the reasons why. The input must be received before February 18, 2013 midnight EST to be considered within this process. As required under the User Fees Act,Parks Canada will endeavour to resolve all fee related complaints that may arise during consultations. Parks Canada will respond to complaints before the end of a 30-day complaint resolution period ending March 21, 2013. If you submitted input in the nature of a complaint and you do not feel that it was resolved to your satisfaction, you have the option of requesting that it be examined by a higher-level resolution mechanism.

To provide comments to Parks Canada on the proposed 2013 fees, please do so:


or By Mail
Parks Canada Agency
2013 Fees Consultation - Brand Experience Branch
25 Eddy Street, 6th floor (25-6-T)
Gatineau, QC K1A 0M5


By Susan W. Smith,

Posted in: News Article
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Carol Edwards
Comment by: Carol Edwards ( )
Left at: 8:52 AM Friday, February 15, 2013
The jump in fees to use the 1000 Islands parks is far too steep, especially for young families. The price of gas now the price of enjoying our national parks is just going to make it too expensive for our family. Our grandchildren love staying on the islands and it is so good for them to be outside, enjoying all nature has to offer.
Barbara Kappe
Comment by: Barbara Kappe ( )
Left at: 1:21 PM Friday, February 15, 2013
We don't mind paying extra so long as everyone pays. There are way to many freeloaders that use the park docks and don't pay.
Paul Harding
Comment by: Paul Harding ( )
Left at: 4:21 PM Saturday, February 16, 2013
If you do so RIGHT AWAY on the Parks Canada website, you can still get seasonal permits at the 2012 rates. I agree, as well, that something must be done to eliminate the freeloaders who raise the cost for those of us who do. Parks Canada has already cut down on cottagers dumping their garbage in the park by eliminating most garbage service for park users.