How to be a winter wildlife detective

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Leader David Bree at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

With the onset of winter, we often think of nature going into a slumber, but while she slows down there is still lots going on outside. In fact, winter provides a better opportunity to learn what the animals of our fields and forests are up to than do the warmer seasons.

I am, of course, talking about tracking, tracking in the snow.

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Romantic winter adventures worth travelling for

If you love to cross-country ski, snowshoe, skate or simply explore the outdoors with your significant other, Ontario Parks has a romantic winter adventure for you.

Rent a cozy cabin, cottage or heated yurt at one of seven parks that offer winter accommodation. Pro tip? Book mid-week if you can. That’s when you’ll find the best availability.

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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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Skiing Quetico’s frozen wilderness

Today’s post comes from Quetico Provincial Park‘s Superintendent Trevor Gibb.

The smell of crisp clean pine and spruce trees. The sight of fresh moose, wolf, otter and hare tracks zigging and zagging across the path in front of you. The chirp of a chickadee. The crunch of the bright white snow and the gentle bite of the winter air on your cheeks.

This is cross-country skiing in a wilderness park. This is what winter is all about.

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Tips from a trail manager: prepping for the perfect cross-country ski day

Ready for a day of cross country skiing? Preparing your skis properly can make a big difference in whether you have a fun outing – or a frustrating one.

Peter Crooks, the trail manager for Kamview Nordic Ski Centre in Thunder Bay, has been cross-country skiing for nearly half a century.

Here are his top 7 tips on how to “read” the snow and use the right waxes for your classic skis:

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Eyes on the skies – January

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This “space” will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

The cold, crisp days of the New Year often reward us with fantastically beautiful nights, rich with bright stars and interesting sights.

Of the 17 brightest stars seen from Ontario, nine of them are visible during winter nights and many interesting objects await the observer who is prepared to brave the cold.

Here are our astronomical highlights for January:

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Where to skate in Ontario Parks

The air is crisp and clean. The evergreens are covered with snow. If you’re lucky – and observant – you might spot a cardinal, a finch, a waxwing or a blue jay as you glide along the ice.

And when the sun goes down, you can huddle around a big bonfire with a cup of hot chocolate and warm up before relacing your skates and heading back out to skate under the stars.

It’s simply magical.

This winter, plan a skating trip to these four provincial parks:

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The scavenger hunt for survival

Today’s post comes from Anna Scuhr, a naturalist with Lake Superior Provincial Park. 

The arrival of snow and ice transforms the rugged landscape of Lake Superior Provincial Park into a stunningly beautiful, albeit unforgiving place to live.

As temperatures drop, the park can accumulate up to six feet of snow in the interior. This makes just about every aspect of an animal’s life more challenging.

Northern winters are a true test of an animal’s fitness. Let’s look at how they adapt to survive long, harsh winters.

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The beaver in winter

Pop quiz: do beavers hibernate? Today’s post — from Natural Heritage Education Specialist Dave Sproule — answers common questions about beavers.

beaverIf you’re near water, especially in our northern parks, you might see signs of one of the most important animals in the Ontario landscape, one that molds the landscape to its own needs.

But in the depths of winter, with much of Ontario frozen and white, what are these aquatic creatures up to?

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