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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Greenway

Camping closed at Lac Philippe all summer

Convenient camping will be a bit more complicated for some in the Hills this summer.

The National Capital Commission’s 275 campsites that surround Philippe, Taylor and Renaud Lakes in Gatineau Park are completely shuttered for the season, as the NCC resumes its $19 million renovation of the aging campground.

“This is one of the biggest projects for the NCC coming up this summer and one of the biggest for the Lac Philippe Campground, I believe, since its first creation,” said NCC Quebec urban lands and Gatineau Park project lead Mathieu Villeneuve.

“We are going to renew most of every campsite in the campground, but also we will be building some new infrastructure, which is very exciting.”

Included in the big renovations are a new campground store; a renovated multi-use pavilion, featuring an outdoor amphitheatre, a stage and big fire pits for live shows; and social events during summer nights. The renovation will also see the construction of a new kitchen shelter and a suite of new “ready-to-camp” shelters.

“We will be building, as part of this project, 10 new, ready-to-camp units and they’re basically going to be small cabins where people can come up and all you need to bring is your cooler with food,” said Villeneuve. “You just hop in the cabin and you’ve got beds and you’ve got a little kitchenette.” The cabins will be built to comfortably accommodate a family of four.

Some other improvements, according to Villeneuve, are the addition of food lockers for the park’s walk-in sites where there is no adjacent parking, more water filling stations and a complete facelift on every campsite, including new surface work and added privacy.

“In some instances in the sites, you are kind of sitting right next door to your neighbour,” said Villeneuve. “We can’t move the spots around, but we will be adding vegetation to improve intimacy.”

The project will also include increased wifi at the pavilion and camp store, but internet will not be available in campsites.

While the Lac Philippe modernization project will be a boon for campers in the area once complete, the loss of close to 300 local campsites, which boast the convenience of car camping within 20 kilometres of several nearby towns, will certainly be felt in the Hills. In 2021, Gatineau Park booked more than 17,000 nights of camping and the only other alternative for Gatineau Park camping this summer is at Lac La Pêche, which requires a canoe to access.

Villeneuve said that, during renovations, residents will still be able to access both Parent and Breton beaches for daytime hours. He added that access to trails and a route to the popular Lusk Cave will remain open for the summer.

The NCC will pause renovations in the fall to offer winter camping throughout the park and will resume in the spring with a summer 2024 reopening date.

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