Invasive Species Fighters: keep our lakes great

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

Our Great Lakes are Great with a capital “G,” and we want to keep them that way.

Ontario Parks offer pristine outdoor experiences with nearly two dozen provincial parks situated on the Great Lakes.

Did you know that Asian carps are not established in the Great Lakes, but threaten almost all aspects of our cherished lakes? Learn more about these fishes and what you can do to keep them out.

Continue reading Invasive Species Fighters: keep our lakes great

The life of a resource steward

Today’s post comes from Rebecca Rogge, a travelling resource steward for the Northeast Zone.

I first started working for the Northeast Zone Resource Steward Program back in 2011. It seems like a lifetime ago.

At the time, it was a relatively new job in Ontario Parks. The program had only been around for a few years, and few of us existed.

Several parks were created in 1999, the majority of which were “non-operating” provincial parks. They generally do not have facilities or dedicated staff. Many protect recreational waterways and nature reserves protect rare flora, fauna and geological landscapes.

This is where we, the resource stewards, spend most of our time. In these wonderfully beautiful and diverse places.

Continue reading The life of a resource steward

Responsible anglers are nature’s superheroes

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

Fishing can be enjoyed in every season, and this means that we can keep the health of our lakes and waterways top-of-mind year-round.

In Ontario, the Fishing Regulations control live bait to prevent the spread of infectious fish diseases (like viral hemorrhagic septicemia), unwanted fish species, and invasive species.

Let’s buff up on our bait facts to help protect our lakes and become invasive species fighters. Your training begins now.

Continue reading Responsible anglers are nature’s superheroes

Planning to bring your own firewood to the park?

A single piece of firewood can destroy millions of trees.

Throwing a few pieces of firewood into the trunk of the car before a camping trip might seem like a good way to plan ahead, but those logs could destroy a forest.
Continue reading Planning to bring your own firewood to the park?

A wriggling invasion

We’d like to highlight one of the greatest threats to Ontario’s natural soil systems – earthworms!

Yes, you read that correctly. Many of us have a hard time picturing earthworms as a destructive force. After all, who hasn’t been told that they’re natural composters, food for cheerfully bopping robins in the spring, and great recyclers in our gardens?

But there’s one important fact about earthworms that most people aren’t aware of: they’re not supposed to be here.

Continue reading A wriggling invasion

Arrowhead staff say, “Hold the mustard!”

Garlic Mustard may sound like a gourmet condiment, but it’s actually an invasive species in North America, introduced from Europe over 100 years ago.

It is a major enemy in the ongoing battle to maintain biodiversity in Arrowhead Provincial Park and many other provincial parks. It’s considered one of Ontario’s greatest forest intruders.

Continue reading Arrowhead staff say, “Hold the mustard!”

Invasive species alert! Water chestnut 101

Today’s post is from Amanda Reed, a digital media organizer in our main office.

Did you know European Water Chestnut is an invasive species?

This destructive plant gained a foothold at Voyageur Provincial Park, and without the ongoing efforts of park staff, it would take over beaches and destroy our wetland. Continue reading Invasive species alert! Water chestnut 101

Earth Day tree planting at Rondeau Provincial Park

To help celebrate our 125th anniversary, Ontario Parks has organized a series of stewardship programs. These events are happening throughout the year and across the province to help protect biodiversity in provincial parks.

Stewardship programs have included BioBlitz events, invasive species removal, and native species plantings.

On Earth Day, park staff and an eager group of volunteers at Rondeau Provincial Park helped to restore the natural habitat in the park by planting native trees and shrubs.

Continue reading Earth Day tree planting at Rondeau Provincial Park

OP125 stewardship projects: Bye bye, Buckthorn!

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

“EI” is a term we use a lot at Ontario Parks.

EI stands for ecological integrity, or the biodiversity and naturalness of an ecosystem. Protecting and restoring the ecological integrity of our provincial parks is vitally important to us.

2018 marks Ontario Parks’ 125th anniversary. To help celebrate this milestone, the public will be invited to give back, learn, and participate in a series of stewardship programs to help protect biodiversity in provincial parks. Stewardship programs include BioBlitz events, invasive species removal, and native species planting to name a few.

At Presqu’ile Provincial Park, our money went towards removal of a nasty invasive species: Buckthorn.

Continue reading OP125 stewardship projects: Bye bye, Buckthorn!