Why driftwood matters

Today’s post comes from Laura Myers, Senior Park Interpreter of Neys Provincial Park.

Driftwood – it makes a great bench to watch the sunset, a balancing beam to play on, or that perfect element to your photograph.

There’s something about driftwood that gives beaches that rugged beauty factor. Walking on a beach, listening to the waves and the birds, and looking at the different pieces of driftwood can be wondrous and relaxing.

Has a piece of driftwood ever caught your eye and made you wonder where it originally came from? How it got that far up the beach? The size of the wave that put it there? What species of tree or how old it is?

Each piece of driftwood has its own journey and its own story. But its story isn’t over when it washes up on the beach.

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A tale of star cross’d plovers

In today’s post, Marina Opitz, Discovery leader at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, regales us with shorebird drama of Shakespearean proportions. Thanks to Neal Mutiger for photographing our leading avian actors.

First, let us set the scene for our dramatic tale.

Picture an empty beach, orange sunrise gleaming across the waves, when two solitary plovers lock eyes from across the wrack line. It is love at first sight.

However, if we have learned anything from the immortal Bard, it is that not all romantic tales have a happy ending. And so we start on our path to eventual heartbreak…

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Beach basics

Ontario Parks beaches are prime summer destinations, particularly on weekends with beautiful weather. Our beaches welcome tens of thousands of visitors every year, and we’re proud to be part of so many happy memories.

However, especially now — when physical distancing and responsible park use are so critical — we’re asking for your help!

Here are our top 10 tips to help keep our parks safe and protected, and practice good beach etiquette:

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Five 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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How to beat the crowds at Sandbanks

Sandbanks Provincial Park is one of the busiest parks in the province, welcoming over 750,000 visitors every summer!

Sandbanks full parking lot signsAt peak times, visitors might wait over two hours just to make it inside the gate. Many summer days — especially weekends — Sandbanks hits capacity and can’t welcome any more visitors.

We really hate to turn away visitors, especially knowing many have driven several hours to get here.

Planning a trip to Sandbanks? Check out our top tips for a fun and frustration-free visit:

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Just roll with it: how one park adapts to an unpredictable shoreline

Today’s post comes from Amy Hall, a Resource Management Project Technician at Pinery Provincial Park.

Many of our visitors have been coming to Pinery for decades, witnessing the park change in many ways over time.

If you’ve been here in the last few years, you may have noticed that our beach is constantly changing month to month, and even day to day!

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Fushimi Lake backcountry

Set in the lush boreal forest with wide-open skies, there’s a definite “northern feel” to Fushimi Lake Provincial Park.

During the day, Fushimi Lake’s horizons look like prairie skies because they seem so wide. At night, the stars are so bright and so numerous that you feel like you’re in a snow globe.

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Beach accessibility at Ontario Parks

Beaches can be an accessibility challenge for park visitors using walkers or wheelchairs. Because of the soft sand, wheels and legs of walkers can sink in, making them tough to maneuver.

As a part of our commitment to making parks as accessible as possible, more parks are offering beach accessibility measures to help visitors explore our shorelines.

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Dynamic dunes at Pinery

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

In a province dominated by the rock of the Canadian Shield, sand is rare. If we combined all of Ontario’s coastal sand dunes together, they would only make up less than 0.5% of our province’s land.

We can thank a simple fact of nature for the creation of Pinery Provincial Park and its rare dunes: namely, that differences in temperature between the air over Lake Huron and the adjacent landmass create an on-shore breeze.

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Pancake Bay voted Lake Superior’s “Best Beach View”

What’s Pancake Bay’s secret?

Is it the white, sugary sand? The Caribbean blue-and-turquoise waters? The expansive views across Lake Superior from the beach, or high above from the Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout.

Actually, it seems to be all of the above and more. For the sixth year in a row, Pancake Bay Provincial Park has been named one of the “Best of the Lake” in Lake Superior Magazine’s annual Reader’s Survey.

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