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Did Ontario's COVID-19 lockdowns cause overcrowding at provincial parks?

Camping chairs are seen in this file photo. (Mac DeStroir/Pexels) Camping chairs are seen in this file photo. (Mac DeStroir/Pexels)

It seemed like people flocked to Ontario's parks, beaches and trails in the summer of 2020 and 2021.

Sites at campgrounds filled up months earlier than normal, while photographs of overcrowded beaches flooded social media. After months in lockdown and being told only to leave your home for essential reasons, friends and family appeared to take advantage of the fact that outdoor gatherings were allowed.

Some campers even started mass-booking sites, only to cancel or reschedule them at a later date. Residents noted that some of these permits were resold on sites like Kijiji.

In this episode of Life Unmasked, the team explores what made provincial parks and beaches so much more popular this year compared to previous years. Christopher Lemieux, associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, touches on the kind of impact an uptick in visitors can have on the environment, while Sarah McMichael-Chen, marketing specialist with Ontario Parks, discusses what people can expect in the summer of 2022.

Life Unmasked airs first on the iHeart app every Tuesday morning before becoming available on other streaming platforms. If you have questions for the podcast team, or an idea for an episode, please email Top Stories

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