Pull an overnighter

Learn to Camp with Gulf Islands National Park and MEC

Parks interpreter Robyn Sealy (left) explains how to geocache during last year’s Learn to Camp programming at McDonald Park.

For those looking to learn about camping, the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is offering a special learn to camp program this month.

The overnight camp out, which takes place next weekend on June 14 and 15, is a partnership between Parks Canada and Mountain Equipment Co-op.

The Learn to Camp program is in its second year at McDonald Park and was hosted last year as a day program. This year, organizers will host the event as an overnight experience in hopes of making people more comfortable with the outdoors.

“One of the biggest barriers for a lot people when it comes to camping and enjoying the outdoors is fear,” explained Francine Burnett, the promotions officer with Gulf Islands NPR.

“With this learn to camp program we hope to reduce that fear whether it be about animals, getting lost, not knowing how to set up a tent or cook on a portable stove. If we can help people with those skills we hope they will get out and use the parks more often.”

The event will feature hands-on workshops like tent set-up and camp stove cooking as well as presentations from search and rescue including a demonstration with a search dog and handler Kim Bialkowski from the local chapter of the Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association.

“There will also be lots of programming for kids including geochaching, a scavenger hunt and an evening campfire program,” added Madelin Emery, an Outreach Interpreter with Gulf Islands NPR.

Cost for the night is $88 (for a family of four) and includes gear, activities and workshops as well as two hot meals.

The Learn to Camp programs are taking place all across the country through the summer.

Registration for the program can be done by calling 1-888-773-8888.

For more information on the Learn to Camp program visit www.pc.gc.ca or check out the Gulf Islands NPR online at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/gulfislands, facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPR or on Twitter @GulfIslandsNPR.

Campfire Magic

This year, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve will continue their Friday evening Campfire Magic program at McDonald Campground from 7 to 8 p.m. beginning in July. A new Junior Naturalist Program is also being offered this year for children ages 6 to 12 on Thursdays through July and August. Visit www.parkscanada.gc.ca/gulfislands for more information.