Accessible outdoors at Arrowhead

Today’s post comes from Patricia Pyrka (and her son Finnan) who recently visited Arrowhead Provincial Park

When you love the outdoors and have a child in a wheelchair, things tend to get a bit more complicated.

So complicated that for the first seven years of my son’s life, we never went on hikes. Winter outings were completely off my radar – try to get big and small thin wheels through snow!

At some point, I had had enough. I decided I did want to take my son out into nature. I wanted him to experience places he had never been to before, and share with him what I loved so much: quiet nature, deep forests, mountaintops, rough terrain trails, and changing weather conditions.

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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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April is for beaver-watching at Algonquin

One of the best parts about spring is that it offers some of the best viewing opportunities for two of Algonquin Provincial Park’s most famous mammals.

May has become famous for moose watching in Algonquin but April is prime time for viewing its smaller, toothier associate, the beaver.

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5 outdoor activities to improve your health

Who needs a gym membership when you have the outdoors?

Outdoor exercise has a stronger effect on blood pressure and mood than indoor exercise. Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity.

To put it simply, time spent outside is good for you! On World Health Day, let’s take a look at a few fun outdoor activities that can improve your health.

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At the finish line!

Banner photo: Dan Ventrudo, via The Chronicle-Journal.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park hosted a hugely successful cross-country ski festival on Saturday, March 3, 2018.

The 41st annual Sleeping Giant Loppet attracted close to 800 skiers. They were supported by 200 volunteers, and another 100 friends and family cheering them on.

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5 kid friendly signs of spring

Today’s post comes from MacGregor Point Provincial Park, courtesy of Natural Heritage Education Leader Matt Cunliffe.

Longer days give back extra hours of outdoor play and provide the perfect opportunity to explore our trails with the kids.

So don some comfy clothes and head to your favourite park (Bonus: spring involves far less work for getting the young ones ready for a hike!).

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5 ways to empower children to be explorers

Today’s post comes from Camille Koon, a Learning and Education Leader with Ontario Parks. 

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” – Alexandra K. Trenfor, educator

Every child who visits a park should see it as an exciting adventure waiting to unfold. With lakes, rivers, beaches, forests, fields, and more, the opportunities for discovery are endless.

By observing the diversity of plants and animals found in the outdoors, children discover the wonders of nature and develop a deeper appreciation for it.

Here are five ways we can empower all children to become explorers of the world around them.

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Featured constellations: the Bears and a Dragon

In last month’s blog, we discussed some of the constellations that are prominent in the spring: Leo the Lion, Cancer the Crab, and Coma Berenices (Queen Berenice of Egypt’s hair).

This month, we will focus on two of the most well-known, as well as one of the longest, constellations visible in the night sky: Ursa Major, the Great Bear (Big Dipper) and Ursa Minor, the Little Bear (Little Dipper).

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Eyes on the skies — April

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This space (<– see what we did there?) 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.

For those of us in Ontario, April is that transition month between winter and spring weather. The snows start to melt away, the lakes start to open up and, by month’s end, the first buds may appear on the trees.

Here are our astronomical highlights for April, 2018:

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