5 conversations to have with your child before your next camping trip

Racing around the campground with brand new friends. Building sandcastles on the beach. Roasting marshmallows over the campfire.

Some of our best childhood memories are made in parks.

Before you pack your little ones into the car for your next family vacation, here are five conversations to make sure your trip is as safe as it is fun!

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Hiking the trails with your dog

Today’s post comes from our friends at the Invasive Species Centre.

The beauty of a hike does not need to be enjoyed alone; your dog can be a great companion as you adventure through your favourite park.

Do it well by planning before stepping foot, or paw, on the trail.

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Are you an ethical wildlife photographer?

You’ve recently unwrapped the latest iphone or a shiny new digital camera, perhaps an SLR with some fancy lenses.

Now you have itchy shutter fingers. You’re ready to point our camera at something spectacular and capture a beautiful memory forever. But where to go?

Not to brag, but Ontario Parks are beautiful, iconic places. Covering nearly 10% of the province and protecting some of Ontario’s most rare and scenic habitats, our parks are home to a variety of wildlife, from fascinating insects to enormous moose.

Basically, they’re a photographer’s dreamscape.

We’re animal lovers too. We know how exhilarating wildlife encounters can be. We understand how badly you want that perfect photo.

But before you hit the road, ask yourself: is taking the perfect photograph worth risking an animal’s life or an ecosystem’s health?

If your answer is “no,” check out our list of seven common photography infractions to ensure you’re keeping our parks safe and healthy.

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Don’t leave it hanging

Our trees are spectacular organisms. They make oxygen, can live to be quite old, have beautiful foliage, provide homes and food for countless wildlife, and through transpiration of water through their leaves, can even influence the weather.

Maybe our trees do deserve some form of decoration or recognition?

I was out in my park the other day, and with the leaves gone, I did notice some brightly coloured decorations on a tree down the trail.

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Spring paddling safety

Itching for ice out? We certainly are.

But spring weather can be fickle. Hitting the lake too early, failing to respect weather conditions or paddling beyond your skill level isn’t just risky — it’s downright dangerous.

We chatted with Paul Smith, Superintendent of Kawartha Highlands Signature Site, to get some top do’s and don’ts for spring paddling safety:

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Ice fishing safety all season long

Today’s post comes from year-round multispecies angler and writer Ashley Rae of SheLovesToFish.com.

Brr! Winter weather has hit Ontario hard.

As the ice freezes up across the province, anglers are beginning to venture out onto the hard water for some ice fishing action.

Ice fishing is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors during our long, cold winters. Trust me, when you’re outside hooking fish, winter passes by in a flash!

Thankfully with the wide range of equipment available today, ice fishing doesn’t have to be a chilling experience. In order to enjoy a safe and comfortable season from start to finish, make sure you are prepared by checking out the list below.

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How to dress for your winter adventure

What you wear can make all the difference between having an amazing winter adventure or a disappointing – even dangerous — one.

Winter camping enthusiasts say it’s all in proper layering: you burn up energy and get warmer as the day goes on, so being able to shed a layer or two is critical to staying dry, and that’s the key to being comfortable and safe.

We chatted with MEC to cobble together our top 8 rules for safe, comfortable winter-wear:

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