Rolling out the red carpet at Pinery

Today’s story comes from Alistair MacKenzie, Natural Heritage Education and Resource Management Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park.

I started out my career saving lives.  It was a hard job. Working conditions were awful. I was constantly being asked to bend and twist to what someone else needed me to do. I was dragged through the mud and poked with sticks, even burned with hot embers.

Despite these hardships, I loved aspects of the work, but eventually I just couldn’t keep up, and they pulled me back to base to run me through some tests. Sadly, I failed, and they unceremoniously stripped me of my field approvals and cast me aside.

I thought it was all over, until they boxed me up and shipped me to Pinery Provincial Park.

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What a difference a year makes!

Today’s post comes to us from Naturalist Yvette Bree of Sandbanks Provincial Park.

Many visitors to Sandbanks may remember 2017 as the year of high water levels.  Along with many other lakes, Lake Ontario reached record highs in the spring and early summer, resulting in widespread flooding.

As a result, it definitely wasn’t “business as usual.”

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Pimachiowin Aki: a journey

Today’s post was written by Doug Gilmore, a recently retired superintendent of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. The post commemorates the designation of Pimachiowin Aki as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

A journey can be defined as “the act of travelling from one place to another.” With every accomplishment there is often a journey, and the inscription of Pimachiowin Aki (Pi-MATCH-o-win Ah-KAY) as an UNESCO World Heritage Site was no exception.

Journeys also often include twists and turns and, most importantly, learning as you travel.

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Portage partnership at Quetico Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Chris Stromberg, Acting Backcountry Operations Specialist at Quetico Provincial Park and Coordinator for the Heart of the Continent.

This August, backcountry and wilderness ranger crews from Quetico Provincial Park and the Kawishiwi Ranger District of the Superior National Forest joined forces to maintain and improve a number of shared portages along the Canada/US border near Carp Lake and Knife Lake.

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Neys’ relics from the past

Today’s post comes from Katherine Muzyliwsky, a Natural Heritage Education Student at Neys Provincial Park.

Before Neys became a provincial park, it was known as Neys Camp 100. Instead of happy campers on vacation, the park held German prisoners of war during World War II.

After operating as a prisoner of war camp from 1941-1946, the buildings were dismantled in 1953. Since then, artifacts have showed up from discoveries in the park and from generous donations.

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Owl-induced whiplash

In today’s post, Alistair MacKenzie, Naturalist Heritage Education Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park, recounts a dramatic encounter with an Eastern Screech Owl.

We desperately needed to confirm breeding evidence for Eastern Screech Owls in our survey squares for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas back in 2005.

It was our last chance given that the atlas was wrapping up the collection period and I was frustrated since I confidently knew that screech owls did indeed breed in the park, but sadly we just hadn’t managed to be in the right place at the right time to confirm it.

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The people I’ve met in parks…

Stroll the halls at our main office, and you’ll find many a former naturalist, ops tech and superintendent. So many of our long-time team members started their careers in a favourite provincial park. In today’s post, Eva Paleczny — now working centrally as a Learning & Education Specialist — recounts her time working in a park. 

As a park naturalist at Lake Superior Provincial Park, I met so many people, some just briefly and others year after year.

And the diverse array of visitors I’ve met while working with Ontario Parks has been one of the best parts of my job!

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A bonding family experience in the #OPescape RV

Today’s post comes to us from Paula Schuck (@inkscrblr), the writer behind Thrifty Mommas Tips, and our next #OPescape content creator to travel around Ontario’s provincial parks in our wrapped RV

A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast about the brain and nature’s impact on health, and I learned that time spent in natural surroundings impacts immune function, weight, and blood pressure as well as attention deficit disorder.

The impact of even a three day break when spent outdoors enjoying nature lasts months and leaves you in better health mentally and physically.

After learning that, I was more eager than ever to leave on our first ever RV trip (in celebration of Ontario’s Parks 125th anniversary). I needed to see for myself if it was true. Would the experience change us?

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Southern Muskoka’s “living edge”

“The living edge.” It sounds more like a Bond film than a trail name, until you follow it through the woods.

The Living Edge Trail in Six Mile Lake Provincial Park is only a kilometre long, but it crosses such a variety of landscapes and habitats that it seems much longer.

It also spans time, giving visitors a close look at how the glaciers impacted the land thousands of years ago. Six Mile Lake Provincial Park is small on the outside, but big on the inside.

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