The number of visitors to Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario was up 20 percent through the end of July this year, compared to 2014. This increase reverses a long-term decline, park superintendent Trevor Gibbs recently told the gateway community’s council, as reported in the Atikokan Progress.
For the first part of this summer, more than 45,000 people visited the wilderness park. At the same time last year, there had been just 39,000 visitors.
“Hopefully we can continue that next year, and reverse the trend,” Gibbs said.
One reason the park manager believes numbers are up is the strong U.S. dollar, making it more economical for Americans to take a trip. Americans make up most of the park’s visitors, paddling across the border through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
The paper reports that the gains come at the same time the park is facing cuts to its budget and staff. Seasonal positions have been left unfilled, while formerly permanent jobs are being staffed only seasonally.
Gibbs said it would take a few more years of increased visitation to help make the case for increased staffing from the Ontario government.