top of page

My camping story

By: Daniel Vézina, founder of Families for Clean Air

As outdoor enthusiasts, it is only natural for us to want to introduce our young children to camping. However, before returning to canoe-camping expeditions or long hikes with them, we decided to start with a short camping trip in a site easily accessible by car.

Unfortunately, after this stay, my family experienced serious respiratory and cardiovascular health issues which may be related to air pollution at the site due to the hundreds of active campfires. In September 2022, I was lying on a stretcher in the ER and hooked up to a heart monitor due to new unexplained chest pains. I couldn't help thinking of all the young families who visit campsites every year where the air pollution can sometimes reach very disturbing levels for your health. No family deserves to endure what we have gone through and continue to go through on a daily basis.

By reporting the problem to the public health authorities, I hoped that measures would be taken to raise awareness and prevent such situations from happening again.

Almost a year later, no one seems to know how to handle this delicate issue. The regional public health directorate contacted refuses to intervene, saying that it is a national problem. The national institute of public health remains silent, anxious not to encroach on the competences of a state company. For its part, Sépaq is struggling to intervene with limited scientific resources on an environmental health issue that has been known for over 13 years.

For the well-being of all children and families in Quebec, I ask public health and environmental experts to speak out publicly on this issue. It is high time that we started a collective debate on this subject and that people are informed of the risk of exposure when they visit a national park or camping.

This case is just one of many examples of air pollution caused by burning wood. Although this topic is highly controversial, it is crucial that the voices of public health and environmental experts are heard.


bottom of page