Visitor guidelines

Georgian Bay Islands National Park

National parks are unique places and therefore require unique laws and enforcement. These laws are enforced by Park Wardens who are Federal Peace Officers responsible for the protection of national parks, as well as the preservation and maintenance of public peace. Their primary responsibility is to enforce the Canada National Parks Act, however, they also enforce the Criminal Code of Canada, and a variety of other provincial and federal legislation.

Laws are designed to protect you, the visitor, and also the park to ensure enjoyment by current and future generations. It is your responsibility to be aware of the laws and any park specific restrictions. National park offences can carry heavy fines and could result in jail time. For some offences, such as poaching or pollution, fines can be in excess of $250,000. For more details on fine structures visit Canada National Parks Act - Offences and Punishment.

If you have any questions please contact the Georgian Bay Islands National Park Administration Office 705-527-7200.


What you need to know

Activity restrictions 

There are several activities within the park that are currently restricted. These restrictions are in place to help further define certain activities and also promote quality visitor experiences. Some of the most common restrictions involve camping, mooring, snowmobiling, fishing, area closures, alcohol/cannabis and fires. Please visit Important Bulletins to see all current restricted activity orders in place at Georgian Bay Islands National Park.

Aircraft 

All aircrafts must comply with Transport Canada Canadian Aviation Regulations, and National Parks of Canada Aircraft Access Regulations. You cannot take-off or land an aircraft in a national park without a Parks Canada Restricted Activity Permit. This includes all Parks Canada managed water lots surrounding Beausoleil Island. This also includes drones/remotely piloted aircraft systems.

Alcohol 

Alcohol may only be consumed on your registered campsite, cabin site, oTentik site, or in a properly equipped vessel that is moored with a valid permit. Alcohol is prohibited at beaches, day use areas, picnic shelters, on trails or in any other public space. During certain periods of the year, campgrounds may have temporary alcohol bans in effect. These bans will be identified through public notices.

Alcohol bans are currently in effect for the following time periods: 

  • May Long Weekend

During quiet hours, alcohol and cannabis use or consumption is prohibited. To view these restrictions, visit the Important Bulletins page. This supports quality visitor experiences for all guests visiting Georgian Bay Islands National Park.

Area closures and travel restrictions 

Occasionally, area closures are required to protect park resources and for visitor safety considerations. Closures are enforceable by law. These closures will be posted at trailheads, access points, park offices, and information centres. Information on closures is also available on the important bulletins page.

Bicycles 

Bicycles are only permitted on certain trails on Beausoleil Island. Trails that do not permit bicycles are clearly marked with signage. Consult the parks Visitor Guide for more information on the trail system. 

Always Remember to:

  • Share the trails.
  • Be wildlife aware.
  • Follow proper trail etiquette.
  • Ride within your capability.
Boating 

The Canada Shipping Act applies to all waters of Georgian Bay and is enforced throughout Parks Canada water lots surrounding Georgian Bay Islands National Park. All types of boats including inflatables are considered a vessel when used for navigation. Each occupant / passenger requires a lifejacket and appropriate safety equipment. For more information, please consult Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide. If you intend to moor at a Parks Canada dock, consult the Mooring section on this page.

Camping

Camping is allowed in designated campgrounds only and registration permits must be obtained before occupying any campsite. The permit holder for the campsite is responsible for the site, including cleanliness, noise levels, and actions of other guests.  A Restricted Activity Order is currently in effect for camping. To view these restrictions, visit the Important Bulletins page.
To enjoy your camping experience and be a good camping neighbour, we ask that you respect and adhere to the following practices:

  • Washing dishes – Use a personal basin for washing dishes on your campsite (not the bathrooms or water taps).
  • Accessing facilities – Use pathways to access campground facilities (cook shelters,
    bathrooms, etc.) and your own campsite. Cutting through a neighboring campsite will disturb other campers and may cause damage to fragile vegetation.
  • Recycling – Bottles and cans can be recycled in each campground using the marked
    recycling receptacles.
  • Garbage – Help keep the park clean by disposing non-recyclable items into marked garbage receptacles. All campsites are to be kept clean and sanitary at all times.
  • Food storage lockers – Lockers must be used to store all wildlife attractants overnight
    and anytime when they are not in use. For additional security, consider bringing a pad lock or combo lock to secure your individual food locker.
  • Generators – Generators are permitted daily but not during quiet hours. Excessive
    usage of generators is not permitted.
Cannabis

Cannabis is legalized and strictly regulated in Canada.  It is your responsibility to understand federal, provincial, and municipal regulations for cannabis use while visiting Georgian Bay Islands National Park. Click here for more information.

A Restricted Activity Order is currently in effect for Cannabis use. To view these restrictions, visit the Important Bulletins page.

Commercial film and photography permits

To care for these amazing places and support positive visitor experiences, filming activities have special considerations. All commercial activities, including filming and photography, are subject to business licensing and permits. For more information.

Day-use areas

Day-use areas, such as beaches and picnic shelters are not for camping or partying. Alcohol is prohibited in any day-use area. Fires are only allowed where designated stoves are provided. Day users may not use or occupy vacant campsites unless they obtain a valid registration permit.

Drones 

Remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPASs or drones) are increasing in popularity for hobbyists, photographers, and businesses. However, taking off or landing a drone in a National Park is prohibited for recreational purposes. Restricted Activity Permits may be obtained to allow operation within the National Park. Contact the park to obtain a permit.

Fire

Fires are only allowed in designated fire pits. Do not collect deadfall or cut branches for fires. Use provided firewood only. Never leave a fire unattended, be sure to douse the fire before you leave. Do not transport firewood into the park to help limit the spread of invasive species which are harmful to the environment.

Keep your campfire safe for you and the environment by following these rules:

  • Keep fires small – To reduce their impact on the environment, fires must be contained within the designated fire pits provided and be kept to a reasonable size. It is illegal to start a fire outside of a designated location.
  • Use firewood provided – Transporting wood from elsewhere may spread invasive insects and disease. Do not burn garbage or collect deadfall from the surrounding forest for burning.
  • Never leave a fire unattended – Fires must be attended at all times.
  • BBQs – Charcoal barbeques are allowed. Dump cold ashes into a fire pit.

Bush party sites and random fires are pose a serious threat to the park and its facilities and are prohibited.

Fireworks

Use of, selling, or purchasing fireworks, or any type of explosive, is prohibited within a national park or within Parks Canada managed water lots.

Fishing

Fishing around Georgian Bay Islands National Park within the waters of Georgian Bay does not require a national park fishing licence.  Provincial regulations, licences and limits apply in these areas and are enforced by Park Wardens.  For more information please consult the Ontario Fishing Regulations.

Fishing is not permitted on inland lakes within Georgian Bay Islands National Park, this includes Fairy Lake, Goblin Lake and the inland lake on Bone Island. A Restricted Activity Order is currently in effect for these fishing closures.  To view these restrictions, visit the Important Bulletins page.

Hunting- Firearms

Firearms and hunting are prohibited in national parks. Firearms include, but are not limited to: rifles, shotguns, handguns, slingshots, bows, airsoft guns, BB guns, cross bows and paintball guns. Hunting is a serious offence within a national park and can carry significant penalties.

Litter

You are not allowed to litter or leave food or other attractants where wildlife can access it. All food and garbage must be stored or disposed of in bear-proof containers/garbage receptacles. All campsites must be kept clean and sanitary at all times.

Mooring

A mooring permit is required to use any Parks Canada docking facility.  Permits may be obtained from self-serve kiosks located at each docking site. Permits are invalid unless all fields are completed accurately, appropriate fees are paid and the envelope is deposited in the payment drop box. Payment can be made by cheque, credit card, or cash.

Yellow lines on docks are spaces reserved for park and emergency vessels. Please ensure to keep this area clear for park, fire department, paramedic, police and coast guard vessels. 

Please remember that mooring on unsecured or “closed” dock infrastructure is prohibited. Docks that are unsecured or marked “closed” pose a risk of injury due to missing boards, unconnected sections, water damage, and slippery conditions.

Dock Stay Limits at Cedar Spring (Tobey Dock)

  • Five night stay limit for boats mooring at Cedar Springs Tobey Dock.
  • Boats that have moored at this dock must wait 3 nights before returning for another stay.
  • All boats must register at the Visitor Centre immediately upon arrival.
  • Check-out time: 11:00 am on the day of your departure.

A Restricted Activity Order is currently in effect for mooring. To view these restrictions, visit the Important Bulletins page.

Natural and historic objects

It is illegal to collect or remove plants, mushrooms, berries, animals, animal parts (including antlers), fossils, driftwood, rocks, signs and any other historic or natural object from a national park.

If you believe you have found something significant, leave the item in place and report your finding to the Cedar Spring Visitor Centre or call the Georgian Bay Islands National Park Administrative Office at 705-527- 7200.

Off Road Vehicles

The use of quads, UTV’s, dirt bikes or other off-road vehicles is prohibited anywhere in Georgian Bay Islands National Park. For information on snowmobiling, visit the Snowmobiles (Over-snow vehicles) section of this page.

Pets 

All domestic animals must be kept under direct physical control (i.e. on a leash (max 3 meters) or in suitable confinement). Pets are not to be left unattended on campsites. Allowing your pet to chase, harass or disturb any wild animal in the park is prohibited.  Remember to clean up after your pet.

Poisons 

You are not allowed to have or use poisons, poisonous substances, gases, narcotics, or drugs that can be used for the purpose of capturing, injuring or killing wildlife in the park.

Quiet hours

While excessive noise is not allowed at any time of the day, visitors should be aware that quiet hours are enforced between 11:00 pm and 8:00 am.

  • During quiet hours, music, generators, and loud conversation are prohibited.
  • Consumption or use of alcohol and cannabis are also prohibited during quiet hours.
  • Only campsite occupants are allowed on a site during quiet hours.

Please remember, even quiet conversations can carry throughout a forested area or across the open water. Please report disturbances to park staff.

Noise and park enjoyment

You are not allowed to interfere with others’ quiet enjoyment of the park during any part of the day or night. This includes loud music, musical instruments and shouting. Unreasonable behavior in the park at any time is prohibited.

To view these restrictions, visit the Important Bulletins page.

Snowmobiles (Over-snow vehicles) 

Snowmobiling is an illegal activity in national parks. In certain circumstances, travel by snowmobile is permitted in Georgian Bay Islands National Park but only on designated trails. Provincial legislation including the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act applies and is enforced by Park Wardens. A Restricted Activity Order is currently in effect and outlines the limitations for snowmobiling in Georgian Bay Islands National Park. To view these restrictions, visit the Important Bulletins page. 

* An Over-Snow Vehicle means a vehicle that is designed to be driven by means other than muscular power, runs on tracks or skis, and operates on snow or ice.

Water lots 

Parks Canada manages water lots adjacent to Beausoleil Island  and among other islands. Park regulations, including excessive noise, are in effect in these areas. A Restricted Activity Order is currently in effect and outlines the locations of Parks Canada water lots. To view this information,  visit the Important Bulletins page.

Wildlife viewing

Animal behavior is unpredictable and could result in injury if they are not given enough space. You are not allowed to entice, pet or attempt to pet, touch, harass or feed wild animals in the park. Pursuing animals with cameras is considered harassment. Be respectful to all wildlife.

For more information, please visit our Wildlife page. To report problem wildlife (i.e. bear in the campground that will not leave, rattlesnake on a campsite) contact Parks Canada Dispatch at 1-877-852-3100.


We need your help

If you see something suspicious, do not hesitate to report it. Record the following information and contact Parks Canada Dispatch 24/7 at 1-877-852-3100 or park staff at any Parks Canada office :

  • Date
  • Time occurred
  • Location (road, trail day use area)
  • What happened (offence you believe occurred)
  • Vessel number (include province)
  • Vessel description (make, model, color)
  • Number of persons, age, description (gender, race, hair, height, clothes)
  • Identifying features (dents, stickers)
  • Other notes

Report any activity such as fishing offences, littering or polluting, removal of artefacts, damage to plants, hunting, feeding and harassment of animals, disturbances and public liquor use.

Your information and participation helps contribute to the protection of this special place for all visitors.  Your information will remain anonymous.  If you are willing to assist further please provide your name, address, and phone number.

Report violations Toll free 1-877-852-3100

This is only a summary of some of the most common rules governing national parks. Visit Canada National Parks Act to review an official copy of all rules and regulations.

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