Dear Barb—Camping Conundrum

Dear Barb:

My family has been anxiously waiting to go camping.  Twice our reservations were cancelled, but we finally got to go last weekend.  We always go to provincial parks; we like the natural settings and the peacefulness of nature.  Unfortunately, we didn’t experience any of that last weekend.  For one thing the gypsy moths were explosive and disgusting, but it’s a part of nature, so we did what we could to accept them.  Lots of sweeping and cleaning and spraying and mostly keeping our heads covered.  The worst part of the weekend was our noisy neighbors.  They were a family of four, two adults and two younger teenagers.  The parents were obviously heavy drinkers as that was the predominate activity of the weekend.  The mornings weren’t too bad, but as the day went on and the drinking continued the voices escalated to yelling and name calling.  The parents called their kids idiots, assholes, and other names I wouldn’t want to repeat.  The kids didn’t just take it, they yelled back.  My husband and I tried to ignore them, but this went on most of the day, we couldn’t even eat our dinner in peace.  We didn’t do anything about it, but if it happens again how would be the best way to handle this situation?  My husband was going to talk to them, but I encouraged him not to do that.  You just never know how people will react, especially if they are intoxicated.  Should I talk to the park ranger, or maybe move to a difference campsite.  What would you suggest we do in this type of situation?  Thanks Trish.

Hi Trish:

It’s too bad people act like this and spoil things not only for themselves, but for those around them.  I agree with you, it is not a good idea for your husband to approach an intoxicated group, as the situation could escalate and become unpredictable.  The best reaction would be to speak to a park ranger, as there are rules that must be followed in all provincial parks and the fines are fairly hefty for not following these rules.

In particular there’s a $150 minimum fine each for making excessive noise, disturbing other persons, and using discriminatory, harassing, abusive or insulting language or gestures. You can find more at the Ontario Parks’ website

I would recommend in the future you report these people and perhaps move to another site, as they will most likely know it was you that reported them and it may create a tense situation.  On the other hand you could move to another site and report them on your way out.  For the most part people at Provincial Parks follow the rules and respect fellow campers.  Unfortunately you found someone who does not.  Thank you for writing and I hope your next trip will be a better experience for you and your family.

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