It looks like Ontario’s latest provincial park could see some new changes following a proposal aiming to change it into an operating park. These planned changes include a park expansion, new campsites, a new trail system, and more. Here’s what to know about Bigwind Lake Provincial Park and the latest proposal.

The Ontario government released its preliminary management plan proposal for consultation, along with its proposal to expand the boundary of Bigwind Lake Provincial Park.

As previously announced, Bigwind Lake Provincial Park is Ontario’s newest provincial park in over 40 years.

Right now it is non-operating which according to Ontario Parks, means it “offers low-intensity, self-guided recreational opportunities, such as nature appreciation and paddling, but does not have staffing or maintained facilities.”

However, the plan is to make it fully serviced and operational, with the additions previously mentioned. Here’s a breakdown:

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Per the proposal, following the response in the initial stage of consultation, the province is proposing to expand the boundary of Bigwind Lake Provincial Park by about 314 hectares of land, That means they’re aiming for:

  • 274 hectares of land northwest of the park
  • Six hectares of land along Gullfeather Lake
  • 34 hectares of land southeast of the park

“This proposed park boundary expansion would provide long-term protection and enhanced opportunities for recreational activities, such as hiking and backcountry camping,” according to the proposal.


As part of its management plan proposal to make the park operational, they’re looking at including overnight camping with about 250 campsites for tent, trailer and recreational vehicle camping.

The proposal also includes up to 25 camp cabins, and up to 25 backcountry campsites.

“Washrooms, showers, dishwashing and laundry facilities, and other infrastructure may be developed to support the campgrounds,” states the proposal.

Recreational activities

Bigwind Lake Provincial Park will also have many opportunities for outdoor recreational activities, like hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, swimming, paddling, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

That also includes the addition of a recreational trail system, which according to the province, will help “minimize the need for an extensive network of roads and parking areas.”

This trail network could include:

  • Short hiking trails (1 to 4 km hiking trails)
  • Scenic lookouts
  • Mountain biking opportunities.
  • Biking and walking routes connecting park facilities
  • Accessible trails
  • Interpretive trails, signs and species explanation tags where possible
  • Walking trails “throughout the campgrounds to connect campsites to various park facilities”
  • “A trailhead located at the visitor services hub to provide the primary access point to the trail network”
  • Hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails
  • Portage trails with access to lakes with canoe-in backcountry campsites
  • Natural “active trail” with challenges and obstacles “to promote exercise, movement and creativity”

The proposed management plan also includes the addition of a visitor services hub for day-use and recreational activities and support facilities like an access road, comfort stations, water and waste treatment facilities and maintenance facilities, per the proposal.

“The detailed design phase of this project will begin in 2024 and will prioritize environmental design to ensure the park remains a vital part of the natural and cultural landscape for generations to come,” shares the province.

“We will embrace technology and prioritize sustainability, aiming to create a shared vision where nature, diversity and innovation converge, offering an unparalleled and enjoyable outdoor experience.”

Those interested in sharing their input can do so until May 4th, 2024 on the expansion and management plans. You can do so here.