Jeff’s Ontario Parks maps – come for the data, stay for the chit chat

I'm a relatively recent convert to the use of Jeff's maps of Algonquin and Killarney Provincial Parks. I used them to map my recent trip through Algonquin Park and was able to produce much more accurate routes and waypoints than my usual method of using the Friends map on paper, while looking at the topographic map on Garmin Basecamp.

I’m a relatively recent convert to the use of Jeff’s maps of Algonquin and Killarney Provincial Parks. I used them to map my recent trip through Algonquin Park and was able to produce much more accurate routes and waypoints than my usual method of using the Friends map on paper, while looking at the topographic map on Garmin Basecamp.

But I only had the digital maps. So when I was out there, I still had an old paper copy of the Friends Map. I feel kind of sad saying this, since the Friends map is/was for years the only bona fide map of Algonquin Park. Since I was 17 years old. But the Friends map is really bad for use as a map in the field.

Maybe it’s my middle aged eyes but the scale of it makes it almost decorative. Especially for campsite and portages take-outs and put-ins, it’s pretty difficult to use with any certainty. Yes, using it you won’t get lost. But as Nigel always says, you just won’t know your position with as much accuracy.

So when I got back I decided to actually order hard copy versions. On Tyvek, no less. And they’re great. Jeff’s map is on a bigger scale. And it seems he more aggressively collects and displays information on his maps. Or, as he says, he reads a lot of emails. So there’s stuff marked on the maps like the high points of portages, he rates the remoteness of access points, there’s much more historical information on the map etc etc.

And he’s really witty. The maps are backed with useful chit chat on camping that has the helpful stuff delivered with a rather wry wit. He has subtitles like ‘Camping sucks’ and warns you that your friends will think you’re crazy.

My kind of guy.