Campers say they’re ‘lucky’ to be safe after a tree crushes a tent in an Ontario provincial park

Yuna Huang was cooking corn over a fire during her long weekend camping when she was suddenly startled by a loud crack.

A large piece of tree fell a few meters from her tent where she was napping with her almost two-year-old daughter and her husband.

“I was really shocked,” said Huang, who was camping for the first time since arriving in Canada four months ago. “It surprised and scared me.”

Huang was among a group of 10 friends camping at Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron over Labor Day weekend when a falling tree crushed a tent around 3 p.m. Sunday, leaving campers feeling lucky to d to be unscathed. The group rented two campsites next to each other.

“I ran to check that there was no one there,” said Nick Bouvier, Huang’s husband, who did not know where his friends were after he woke up.

“Fortunately no one was there,” he said.

Yuna Huang and her husband Nick Bouvier and her daughter Freya were cooking over a campfire when a tree fell a few meters from their tent. (Sent by Yuna Huang)

There was no wind when the tree fell, campers say

Lucky is exactly how Ben Durham feels.

After swimming at the beach, he and his friends returned to their campsite to find the tree had fallen minutes before. He attributes a series of delays to their safe arrival.

“I’m just lucky we’re in vacation mode,” he said.

There was no wind that day, but the tree was rotten inside, Durham said. A branch from a tree in the shape of a “Y” fell – he estimated that it was about nine meters long and 30 to 60 centimeters in diameter.

Durham says he was also camping at the Pinery in 2014 when a tornado hit Grand Bend, but says at that time he doesn’t remember any fallen trees around him.

A large broken tree branch sits atop a crushed camping tent.
Yuna Huang and her family had woken up from a nap in their yellow tent, pictured right, before part of a free fall next to her. (Submitted by Ben Durham)

The incident comes after Ontario Provincial Police reported that one person died and two others were injured this spring after a tree fell on a camping trailer in the Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area, 15 km south-west of Cambridge.

In August, a Quebecer died after a tree fell on this tent camping in a US national park in Washington State.

Fortunately, things turned out differently for the Pinery group.

“It could have killed people…and it didn’t end like that, that’s great,” said Durham, who goes camping at the Pinery at least once a year.

“It could have been bad.”

Pinery workers were already on site when Durham returned from swimming, he said. The tree fell on a brand new tent – instead of the old Durham tent that was next door.

” Really ? It can’t be ours that was destroyed? he joked.

The man stands in the sunflower field.
Ben Durham, left, was swimming with friends when a tree fell at his campsite, crushing a tent. (Submitted by Ben Durham)

When the group asked for compensation, the staff returned an hour later with a tent that someone had left at the park. He was hoping for one of the same value, he said.

Pinery Provincial Park officials did not respond to CBC News’ interview request at the time of this article’s publication.

As for Huang, she doesn’t know if she’ll be back camping soon.

“I feel bad because my friend lost a tent and I also feel lucky because no one was hurt,” she said. “Now I don’t really want to camp anymore.”

a tent bag
Campers say Pinery staff gave them a tent someone had left behind to replace the one that was destroyed by the tree. (Submitted by Ben Durham)


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