Book Now / FAQ / Policies

In the tradition of starting with Gratitude: Thank You

for your patience, as new owners we are working hard to improve the tending of the Eco Park facilities, transform the online booking experience to be more user-friendly, AND maintain peak season operations during Covid, all at the same time! 

Please review the new policies below, then click the Book Now button below to use our online booking portal for 2021! Due to high demand and a small staff, we are not able to accept individual, family, or small group reservations over the phone or email. We are currently only able to accept credit/debit card payments.   See below for details on our MODIFICATIONS & CANCELLATIONS POLICY for campground reservations and Astronomy Events, and answer to MANY Frequently Asked Questions.

The new owners are thrilled to announce a new improved website is on the way! For starters, the Astronomy webpage is up and available! https://www.manitoulinecopark.com/darksky-events

Private Special Events and Large Groups: please email reservations@gordonspark.com GROUPS: tell us your number of participants (ages 16 and up; under 16), number/size of Tents/RVs, preferred dates, accommodations. EVENTS: tell us what type of private event you’re requesting. 
Policies are subject to change and will be updated on this webpage.

Off Peak Season: June, September-October 16 2021 Now Open 7 Days! – NOON – 5pm

Peak Season: July and August 2021:  Now Open 7 days!10am – 7pm 

Check in times are between 2pm – 6pm. The gate for vehicle access into the Dark Sky Preserve closes at sunset. Please plan for travel 35 minutes from the Little Current Swing Bridge or take the 1pm Chi-Cheemaun ferry in order to arrive in time. 

If you must arrive late, please note that there is a special phone line for check-ins and emergencies only whose number will be sent just prior to your arrival date, but there are no in-person services (eg. firewood, ice, or other store items) available after hours.

Check out time is between 10-11am

General Quiet Hours are between 10pm and 8am.
Dark Sky Preserve Quiet Hours are between midnight and 8am (extended for very quiet conversations and astronomy equipment only).
Please ensure your group is quiet enough not to disturb your closest neighbours

ALL guests staying at the Park are welcome to enjoy the Dark Sky Preserve, observing the policies re: no white light and Quiet Hours.


The following long weekends have specific rental restrictions and special pricing.
 
Perseids Meteor Shower Week 
Fri. Aug. 6 – Sun. Aug. 8 (New Moon) continues through
Thurs. Aug. 12 (height of shower) – Sun. Aug. 16. 
 
 
Fri Aug 6 (stay 2 nights min) Perseids Night Ticketed Event
Sat Aug 7 (stay 2 nights min) Perseids Night Hike Ticketed Event
Sun Aug 8 (New Moon) Perseids Night Ticketed Event
 
Thurs Aug 12 (2 nights min) Height of Shower Persieds Night Ticketed Event
Fri Aug 13 (2 nights minimum) Perseids Night Hike Ticketed Event
Sat Aug 14  Perseids Night Ticketed Event
 
Labour Day – Monday September 6th
Friday Sept 3 (stay 2 nights min)
Sat Sept 4 (stay 2 nights min)
Sun Sept 5 (closed to arrivals)

We are committed to the wellbeing of our staff, guests and Manitoulin Island. In planning diligently to ensure a safe 2021 summer season at our Eco Park, we have developed some initiatives and processes to ensure just that. 

Before traveling to the Eco Park, please review below the important details about available amenities and current policiesWe reserve the right to require guests to leave the EcoPark if they are not abiding by our policies, in which case no partial/full refunds or credits will be issued.


Astronomy Events & DarkSky Preserve Access

We have a new user-friendly website for purchasing event tickets!

Find the 2021 season schedule, event descriptions, and book your tickets here: https://www.manitoulinecopark.com/darksky-events

  • Regular Astronomy Nights, Stargazing Night Hikes, Perseids Meteor Nights, Perseids Night Hikes, Small Group Astronomy Nights, and other special events will be by advance registration only (no walk-ins or last minute sign-ups).  We will have numbers capped lower than usual, so please plan ahead and purchase tickets now.
  • CANCELLATIONS/MODIFICATIONS

    • All event tickets are nonrefundable.

    • Events are held in all sky and weather conditions except those the Eco Park determines to be hazardous (eg. lightning, high winds).

    • Astronomy Guides have many educational and fun activities suitable even when optical viewing conditions are not available. 
    • Event tickets can be transferred to another date this season (pending availability) only if the Eco Park cancels the event. We will notify you by email in the event of a cancellation in advance.

    • Astronomy Guides do not handle modifications or cancellations of ticketing. If there is a cancellation please reach out to reservations@gordonspark.com for assistance.

  • If you are making a reservation to stay at the Eco Park overnight, please use the BOOK NOW button at the bottom of this page as a SEPARATE transaction from your ticket purchase to reserve a campsite, then use your REZ confirmation number to get a discount on astronomy tickets!
  • During all astronomy events, for safety all guests should stay with their guide and the group at all times. If  you need to leave the event early for any reason, please be sure to notify one of the astronomy guides before you go.
  • We will not have “Aurora” specific events this year because in addition to the usual weather condition factors, the Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis are in an extended period of lower activity, and seeing them is quite hit-or-miss [Learn more about increasing your odds of viewing the Northern Lights].  
  • We will be having various forms of Astronomy events each weekend in the peak season, with special events on two Perseids Meteor Shower Weekends (2 nights stay minimums): Fri. Aug. 6- Sunday Aug. 8 (New Moon)  & Thurs. Aug.12 (peak night of the shower) – Sat.  Aug.15. 

DarkSky Campgrounds & Observation Field

  • The Dark Sky Preserve DSP includes campsites, the Stargazing Cabin and Milky Way Bunkie.  We ask all visitors respect that some overnight guests may be sleeping during Astronomy Events. 
  • Certain DSP campsites can now accommodate smaller size RVs as well as tents.  Please note your RV size in your online booking request.
  • Most DSP campsites are under tree cover, which helps protect campers from lightning strikes. The amazing view of the sky is available from the Observation Field where trees have been cleared.
  • There is no hydroelectric in the DSP, nor are generators allowed.
  • No white light allowed including no campfires or vehicle headlights
  • While we encourage campers and event participants to walk without artificial light as much as possible, as a safety measure please be sure to bring your own flashlights and/or headlamps with AMBER or RED filters sufficient to colour and significantly dim the light shining through (you can attach thin cloth or cellophane paper with tape).  
  • All camp stoves must be off and cannot be used after sunset, as this is a source of white light.
  • No laser pointers of any kind or strength (other than in use by our astronomy staff).
  • Cell Phones should not be used as flashlights or for taking flash photos due to the white light, unless you have a red or amber smartphone ap installed to filter all light coming from the device. As a courtesy to others please keep your cell phone sound turned off at night. 
  • The DSP gate will be closed to vehicles after sunset.
  • Water must be ported in from your own supply / refilled near the office (about 5 min. drive, 30 min. walk)
  • Staying overnight at the EcoPark, you’re welcome to go into the DarkSky Preserve to enjoy the view on your own anytime, we just ask that all guests respect the Quiet Hours and no white light in the Dark Sky Preserve after dusk (requires red filters on headlamps and flashlights, no campfires). It’s about a 30 minute walk from the Forest Campgrounds to the DSP, if you aren’t camping in the DSP itself.
  • Those not staying overnight at the Eco Park may purchase Night Passes in person only at the office between 11am-6pm. This allows you to walk into the DarkSky Preserve and enjoy the view, without participating in a ticketed event.

Staying Overnight

We are FULL July 29 & 30 for the holiday HOLIDAY WEEKEND

Contactless Check-in:

  • We accept all individual, single- and multi-family bookings through our online portal (button below) which will let you know if your requested dates are available. Try adjusting your start or end date if needed.  The EcoPark is currently being held for private large group events on September 16-20 2021.
  • For safety, during 2021 we will continue to require payment in full at the time of booking as part of our contactless check-in process.  We will process your payment after you complete a booking request in our online system.  Cancellation policy details are below: there are no refunds.
  • Within a day before your scheduled arrival date, you will receive your assigned site number(s), a map of our campground, the check/in & emergencies phone number, and any other information you might need for your stay. 
  • Please include your arrival time when you set up your booking (2-5pm). 
  • Dark Sky Preserve campers: DSP gates are closed to vehicles at sunset or 9pm, whichever is earlier, so those coming by ferry (rather than the bridge) will need to catch the 1pm: https://www.ontarioferries.com/ms-chi-cheemaun/schedule-overview/
  • A few days before your arrival, watch for an email with your Welcome Kit including a map, site assignment, and directions. 
  • When you arrive you can travel right to your campsite. We just ask that you give us a call to let us know you are here, and any changes or add-ons needed.
  • If you get the answering system please leave us a message with your site number, number of adults and children (under 16) on site for emergency purposes, and any further questions or requests eg. firewood or supplies from the Park Store.
  • Multiple families visiting together will be placed at adjacent sites whenever possible, pending availability.  Please note your names/request when booking in the online portal.

Accommodations:

  • As an EcoPark with a Dark Sky Preserve, our focus is on off grid tent camping. 
  • Please note guests may not use generators in the Eco Park.
  • Forest Campsites allow for 1 vehicle. Additional vehicles can be parked in our main lot.
  • Each camp site allows for either two (2) tents (one sleeping and one cooking) OR one (1) Camper, Pop Up, RV (up to 20 ft max) + one cooking tent. Extra tents are subject to a fee of $10 + tax each per night.  Should you wish to have more tents please select the add-on for extra BYO tents.
  • Only cars and trucks may be parked in the parking lots (no RVs, trailers, etc.)
  • We have three Forest Campsites with HydroElectric near the entrance available for an additional fee.  These can accommodate campers/RVs up to 34 ft, with 30 amp shared electricity (no air conditioning).  Please note there are no pull throughs, pump outs or hookups. Water can be obtained from our shared outdoor tap. Green Acres is up Hwy 6 and has a dumping station (plus a wonderful restaurant).
  • We have just created a few additional off-grid campsites for RVs. Contact reservations@gordonspark.com for more info. 
  • Family prices listed on our website are for 2 humans 16 yrs and older, and children under the age of 16. For additional adults, the cost is $10 per adult/ night, which will be added to the cost of your accommodations.
  • The maximum number of humans ages 16 and up per standard campsite is 6. 
  • The maximum number of humans of all ages per standard campsite is 8.
  • For our roofed accommodations, we will be following public health recommendations on the cleaning of these spaces between rental parties, thus the importance of abiding by check-out and check-in timing. Guests must bring their own pillows, bed linens, blankets, towels, cookware, eating ware, etc.

Social & Ecological Considerations:

As an organization we are highly committed to environmentally and socially conscious choices to support the wellbeing of humans and all our relations.

  • We welcome guests with any special needs to reach out by phone or email to ask any questions and request accommodations that will make your visit to the Eco Park the best possible experience.
  • REUSE/REDUCE/RECYCLE and LEAVE NO TRACE
    • We ask guests to clean, then reuse and/or recycle whenever possible. 
    • We strongly encourage everyone at the Park to bring reuseable items, avoiding single-use plastics (eg. bags, containers, plates, utensils for food, beverages, water, etc.), styrofoam, and items that must be sent into landfills.  We intend to have some reuseable supplies available in the Eco Park Store for you to purchase; contact us in advance of your visit to confirm availability and have these added to your account, ready for you upon arrival.
    • The proper bins for sorting between landfill items, recyclables, and compost are located in several convenient places throughout the Eco Park.  Please help us keep the Eco Park beautiful for all to enjoy by leaving no litter on the land or in the water!
        •  
  • ECO-CONSCIOUS PRODUCTS
    • For cleaning, we ask that all guests only use the eco-conscious cleaning supplies provided by the Eco Park for community use; these have been confirmed safe for children, staff, and other guests who are chemically sensitive, without harmful impact on the environment.  
    • We highly recommend scent free/eco-conscious personal care products be used while camping. We have found find they attract less insects, are more considerate of the environment, and tend to be kind to chemically sensitive neighbours. We intend to stock simple soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bug-spray, and backpack-suitable hand-sanitizer at the Eco Park Store; contact us in advance of your visit to confirm availability and request to have these added to your account, ready for you upon arrival.
  • DOGS
    • Service Dogs who are trained to do specific tasks assisting their human with a disability are welcome in all facilities and at all events. Per Ontario law, please bring the prescription letter from your medical professional. No retractable leashes, please.
    • Friendly well-mannered companion dogs and Emotional Support Animal dogs are also welcome as guests on a 6 ft maximum NON-RETRACTABLE, plain leash in the Forest Campground, Dark Sky Preserve Campground, Astronomy events, and colour-coded hiking trails. 
    • All dogs must be with their humans, on a leash and cleaned up after: please BYO compostable bags and dispose of in the designated receptacles in the Eco Park.
    • Written proof of up-to-date rabies inoculation signed and dated by a veterinarian must be produced for any dog if requested by staff.  No female dogs in heat allowed. 
  • Overnight guests please include the Dog Add-On when booking your camping reservation or contact reservations@gordonspark.com to update us. The fee is $5 per dog/per night for overnight guests.
  • Please email reservations@gordonspark.com before booking to inquire about special arrangements for companion dogs to have access in cabin or bunkies
  • No guest companion dogs are allowed in tipis, yurts, the office, store, or community buildings, the mini putt course, or pool.
  • FIRE 
    • Due to the risk of transmission of arboreal diseases, and invasive/harmful species including insects, in order to ensure the continued health of the beautiful forest here we cannot allow outside firewood. Local firewood is available for purchase at the Store for $8/bundle, which you will need to transfer to your site along with enough water to put out the fire after each use. Rate of usage varies, many guests opt for 1 bundle per night to start.
    • Fires must be contained in designated areas and always supervised by an adult. 
    • Fires must be put out completely with water whenever you leave your campsite and at the end of the night. 
    • We are no longer accepting pre-orders for firewood, please request when you check-in.
    • To avoid white light, no campfires are allowed in the Dark Sky Preserve.
    • Charcoal may be brought by guests for cooking purposes. Here are some tips for eco-friendly options: Conventional charcoal bricks are made of wood byproduct, sawdust, and lighter fluid (with nasty additives in there, too!). These bricks often release volatile compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere as they burn, too. An atmosphere-healthy option is the use of lump coal rather than traditional briquettes. A delicious flavor is obtained through the use of lump coal that is quite similar to charcoal.   There are no additives or chemicals and barbecue lovers often opt for this alternative for grilling. This eco-friendly, green charcoal saves our forests, while releasing less gas and soot emissions.  “Better” lump charcoal is sustainably sourced, organic, and all-natural, such as organic lump bamboo charcoal or coconut shell charcoal.
    • If there is a Fire Ban in place, at the end of your stay you can 1) donate your firewood fee to support the Eco Park and our programs 2) request a refund. 
  • Substance Use Policies
    • Gordon’s Park is a family-oriented EcoPark.
    • As such, any consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis must be confined to the outdoors at your individual rental site.  All such items must be disposed of properly, either rinsed and placed in the appropriate recycle bins, or put out in designated receptacles. 
    • Consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis is not allowed inside tipis, cabins, or any other structures.
    • Consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis is not allowed in any common outdoor or indoor spaces.
    • All Astronomy and other Special Events are alcohol, tobacco, and cannibis-free.

Common Areas:

  • Potable WATER is available at the front of the Eco Park for all guests.  Water can be obtained from several locations, at the summer kitchen sink, the outside tap on the side of the summer kitchen and at the front parking area by the “Take a picture with Nature” spot.  Our water is required to be tested twice per season with the Manitoulin Public Health Labs always with excellent results. Those staying in the Dark Sky Preserve currently need to pack it in, about 5 min. drive, 30 min. walk. 
  • The Wi-Fi Internet & Charging Station is located by the main office and the deck with vines. It contains multiple charging ports for personal devices (BYO plugs/cords) as well as an internet network connection. You can check with the staff in the office for the Wi-Fi password. Please note we must limit the number of people in this area due to Covid.
  • According to the current health and safety guidelines for Ontario, when indoors all guests must wear effective MASKS: 2 layers of material covering from nose to chin and fitted to the face. If you do not have a mask that is sufficiently effective, you will be required to purchase such a mask from the camp store.  Face Shields designed for safety are also acceptable.
  • Guests are required to maintain SOCIAL DISTANCE of 6 ft or more from people who are not part of your household/campsite group in all common spaces, indoors and out. To ensure this is possible indoors, we will be limiting the number of people inside each building at one time.
  • Guests are required to bring their own COOKWARE: pots, pans and utensils to use in the summer kitchen area. Communal items will not be available. We have a fully functioning 4 burner stovetop as well as a BBQ available for use.
  • All of our washroom facilities (both privies and flush toilets) are self-contained single person units with fully closed in walls. Flush toilets and comfort stations with hot and cold running water are located near the main office in the Forest Campground. We have privies (no flush) stocked with toilet paper and sanitizer scattered throughout our camping areas (Forest Campground and Dark Sky Campground) for your convenience.
  • We have two eco shower stalls that are both individual self-contained units. The solar heated, pull-cord activated, eco showers are located in the main Forest Campground.
  • Thorough cleaning is being done regularly in all of our common areas (eg. office, Nature Centre, washrooms, showers, and summer kitchen).
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in these areas, as will eco-conscious cleaning supplies should you wish to wipe things down before you use the space.

WHAT TO BRING:

  • tent (if applicable), sleeping bag and pad, or other bedding, and pillow
  • flashlight and/or headlamp, camp lantern – with red filter (thin cloth or cellophane) for Dark Sky Preserve
  • towels, biodegradable soap, shampoo, toothbrush and paste
  • eco-friendly bug spray and sunscreen
  • reuseable/washable water bottles
  • small camping propane cookstove (fire bans that exclude wood and charcoal are common on the island in the hot season, and this is the only form of cooking permitted then)
  • cookware (pots, pans, kettle, utensils) 
  • meal kits (reuseable/washable/non-breakable plates, bowls, utensils, mugs/cups) 
  • food and beverages 
  • an effective mask for Covid safety, soap, hand sanitizer and wipes for your own personal use 
  • camp chair
  • clothes for a range of weather conditions from hot to cool, dry to rainy. cotton cloth draws significant heat away from the body when wet, so some non-cotton clothing is recommended for even mildly cool or wet conditions
  • closed toe footwear for hiking, sandals or water shoes, non-cotton socks
  • charging cords and plugs for any devices you wish to use
  • anything else you need for your comfort

We will begin to stock certain supplies as well as local arts and crafts in the Eco Park Store; inventory will be growing as we come out of Covid restrictions and settle into the peak portion of the 2021 season.

Consumable products can be purchased at our local stores in Tehkummah, Manitowaning or Mindemoya, within 20 min from Eco Park, as well as the many Farmers Markets on the Island.  

 

Policy in COVID 19 Conditions for MODIFICATIONS/CANCELLATIONS:

In order to best serve our guests and allow us to keep the Eco Park operational, we have instituted a NEW policy related to cancellations during Covid conditions in 2021, allowing for shorter than usual notice to change your dates or transfer your reservation to friends/family.  We continue to require payment in full on all bookings to hold your space.  

Should you need to make changes to your booking our staff are happy to help via written requests emailed to reservations@gordonspark.com more than 72 hours before 12:01am of your scheduled arrival date. 

  • For general cancellations in 2021, you can choose to:
    • Transfer your booking to other available dates in 2021  (the Eco Park is amazing to witness in different seasons!)
      • Please specify which NIGHTS you would like to stay: through the last night to stay: Saturday October 16 2021.
    • Transfer your reservation to friends or family (note that additional charges may apply if the new party has additional add-ons, ex. more people, dogs, firewood, additional nights, long weekend rates). In your transfer request sent by email to reservations@gordonspark.com please specify their names, age categories (16 and up OR under 16), best phone numbers and email contact info.
    • All guest-initiated modifications to an existing reservation will be processed with payment of the $10 administrative fee per request/per reservation.
    • ALL cancellations, change of dates, transfer of reservation to another party, or modifications require a minimum 72 hours (3 full days) prior to 12:01am of the morning of your arrival date, via written notice by email to reservations@gordonspark.com. Thereafter, any balance due will be processed with the payment method on file, and any complete payments at that point are not-refundable and non-creditable in their entirety.
    • No refunds or credits are issued for early departures for any reason.
    • No partial refunds or credits of non-refundable deposits are issued for changes in reservations that result in a lower overall cost.
    • No refunds or credits are issued due to guests being asked to leave after failing to adhere to the policies of the EcoPark. 
    • All Event tickets in 2021 are non-refundable.
  • Group Bookings are non-refundable and non-transferable.