Clark’s Resorts have been a successful icon of “Sunset Country’s” tourist economy for thirty-five years. This year it sits empty due to the Corona virus pandemic. That is the story shared by Meagan Clark, daughter of the resort’s founders, her parents.
Fishing and hunting resorts are going through a renewal phase the magnitude of which for a “small family” business is quite startling. Clark’s Resorts have two drive-in locations, 30 fly-in outposts serviced by airplanes and operate the largest bait service in Ontario.
Investments in this year’s renewal have been over a million dollars including a new airplane, new  boats and motors, and cabin improvements. Insurance alone costs over $200,000.
The year was shaping up to be one of the best in years as their resort was “fully booked with Americans”. Americans have for years made up ninety-nine percent of North Western Ontario resort clients.
Then disaster struck with the Corona virus and the border with the USA was closed to non-essential travel.
Even though the Federal and Provincial governments had given tourist camps permission to stay open, their stimulus packages did not meet their needs and the governments only response was to go get Canadian clients instead.
However, the government’s decision to close the border on a month to month basis put the “camps” into a catch twenty-two position. Did they double book or cancel American visitors. Closing the border by the month kept hope alive that at least part of the year could be salvaged. However, now that August is here and America’s inability to contain the virus it has become clear the whole season is lost.
Getting Canadian clients is no easy task. NWO’s geography works against it. Traditionally fishers and hunters will travel a long day to enjoy a wilderness adventure, but Toronto and Southern Ontario are two long days drives while population centres to the west in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have northern lakes much closer of their own. Alberta's big cities are like Southern Ontario two long days away. Meanwhile large urban areas on the edge of a long days drive are Chicago, Minneapolis-St Paul, Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha Nebraska and cities such as these find our camps accessible.
As a result, Meagan has been busy lobbying the Provincial and Federal Government for assistance. To that end she has been part of a consortium which has built a video to send out a message asking our leaders for help.
The Clarks have also started a petition to gather Canadian’s support to get our governments to act to help this sector of our economy.
No camp owner wants our border open while the Covid-19 pandemic is out of control South of the border, but they do want and need help from government. The tourism industry is one of the economic backbones of our country. The situation in North Western Ontario is particularly acute. Please help. SIGN MEAGAN’S PETITION HERE