Celebrate spring at Ontario Parks

Spring is one of the best times to visit Ontario Parks. The lack of foliage is a chance to see rare park flora and fauna. Wildflowers carpet forest floors. Salt-depleted moose seek roadside mineral pools and special spring events are planned.

Spring wildflower viewing

Native wildflowers are in abundance in Ontario Parks every spring and there is no better place to enjoy nature’s beauty than on an Ontario Parks’ trail. You’ll see trilliums, Lady slippers, Trout lilies, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Dutchman’s breeches and much more. In southern Ontario, native species begin to bloom in late April while in northern Ontario spring blossoms last well into June. Ferris Provincial Park near Campbellford, is one of the best places to view White trilliums, Ontario’s provincial flower. The Friends of Ferris will host a guided Trillium Walk on May 1 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Moose-spotting at Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park is a good place to spy a moose. The 3,400 park moose are generally elusive but in spring, the moose are attracted to mineral pools along Highway 60 which runs through the southern portion of the park. The pools fill with runoff and salt from winter highway maintenance which moose love to feed in after “browsing” all winter long on twigs that are salt-poor. A May “moose jam” is when you see 30-40 cars of travellers stopped on the side of Highway 60 to watch a moose feed in a roadside pool. A unique opportunity to interact with leading Algonquin Provincial Park wildlife researchers and gain expert instruction on field techniques is planned. The Wildlife Research Weekend takes place May 27-30.

Ice-out adventures

Ice-out adventures are another spring rite of passage in Ontario Parks. Many experienced paddlers favour Temagami’s Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Provincial Park for an ice-out adventure. While water safety is paramount at this time of year, the park’s Lady Evelyn and Makobe Rivers benefit from higher spring water levels and are best paddled at this time of year. Countless outfitters across Ontario add ice-out alerts to their web sites every spring so paddlers know when to head out. Live video/picture feeds of lakes and rivers are also popular.

Spring birdwatching

Over 250 different bird species migrate to Ontario in spring. Studies suggest that birds orientate themselves on migration routes using the position of the sun during the day, and the stars at night. It is also believed that they can sense the earth’s magnetic field. Several birding hot spots in Ontario Parks include provincial parks along the Great Lakes. MacGregor Point’s annual Huron Fringe Birding Festival will take place this year on May 27-30 and on June 2-5. Mornings are filled with guided hikes on birds, wildflowers, butterflies and insects. Afternoon workshops cover bird identification and nature photography and in the evenings, special night hikes are planned. Preregistration is required. The Friends of MacGregor Point’s web site provides details. More birdwatching events are listed on the Ontario Parks’ Calendar of Events

Spring into Photography

Another season of outdoor adventures is upon us and it’s time to dig out the camera and get ready to capture your summer memories in Ontario Parks. Refresh your camera skills and learn new ones by registering in the Giant Digital Photography Workshops being held at Sleeping Giant and Kakabeka Falls Provincial Parks this season! Click here for more information and online registration.