Thanks for that, Brian.
And I agree, finding a place to park's a real issue. One must drive out there beforehand to see where one can park or where one will be able to carve out a spot.
Regarding Alqonquin Park, it's certainly not prohibitively expensive, and far from overrun in winter, so for those of us who don't have the good fortune to live close to crown land, maintained parks which operate in winter, are the most practical way to go.
I'm fortunate that I don't have to drive for half a day to find areas where I can camp completely free of charge and where I know there won't be ATVers and/or snowmobilers roaring past. But I'm hoping that those who don't live so far from it will give it a try once they know where it is. I live in Huntsville and when I mention crown land with fellow camping enthusiasts around here they shrug and say "Yeah, I've always wanted to try that, but I don't know where to find any." One of the paradoxes of living where I do (close to general use crown land AND Algonquin Park, is that people think only of Alqonquin in connection with camping, having no idea that they are surrounded by great locations. And when it comes to summer camping on crown land, it's so nice to be able to go camping at the last minute, at the height of the summer vacation period or during a long weekend, and know that you won't be shut out because you didn't book far enough ahead of time, and where you don't have to pay fees or keep to a paddling/camping schedule and route. And then of course, there's the satisfaction of discovering your own 'secret' spot.
Regarding Kawartha Highlands Park, I've been there a few times and loved it (though it's been some years past now), but I thought it had recently become an operational park. Am I mistaken about this? There are several places there I'd love to revisit.