Facilitating scientific research is one of the four objectives of Ontario’s Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act. This advances our learning about protected areas and enhances Ontario Parks’ ability to maintain ecological integrity. Much of this research is conducted by universities and graduate students. In the last two years Ontario Parks has received over 300 applications to conduct research in parks.
A PhD biology student from Queen’s University has made an important discovery that could inspire the manufacturing industry worldwide to better understand the long-term environmental damage to lakes and other bodies of water, caused by emissions that cause acid rain. The impacts of acid rain were first noticed early on at one of Ontario’s most famous provincial parks – Killarney.
Jim and Sue Waddington are keen canoe trippers. They have spent many a winter evening thinking about places to paddle, perusing maps and wondering when Spring will melt the white landscape and free their intended waterway from the icy grip of winter. Of course, trip planning includes gear lists, menus and grocery lists, and maps.
Killarney Provincial Park is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a first annual Group of Seven Festival on July 18 to 20th. The weekend will highlight the area’s rich artistic heritage and commemorate the Park’s creation, which was in large part, influenced by Group of Seven members A.Y. Jackson and Franklin Carmichael.
Park activities are offered all weekend long within the park and also in the Village of Killarney. Be sure to take the time to stroll around the scenic Village and pop into a local restaurant for lunch or dinner! Watch a short video on the festival on our YouTube channel.
A.Y. Jackson (1882 – 1974), Hills, Killarney, Ontario (Nellie Lake), c. 1933, oil on canvas, 77.3 x 81.7 cm, Gift of Mr. S. Walter Stewart, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1968.8.28 and Photo courtesy of Jim Waddington
Maybe they have a greater connection to the earth’s polarity, or perhaps their shadow is a true “finger on the pulse” of Canada’s long term weather forecast… but this year, every single one of Canada’s weather predictors came to the same conclusion: spring is going to come early. Alberta’s Balzac Billy, Manitoba’s Winnipeg Willow, Quebec’s Fred, la marmotte de Val-d’Espoir, and Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam did not see their shadow. Where does that leave us in Ontario? Wiarton Willie thinks he knows best and was the only one predicting six more weeks of winter.
Everyone I have talked to seems to be fed up with the “polar vortex’, the growing driveway snow banks and the messy commutes to work. Even on the radio they ask listeners, “don’t you wish for warmer weather?” It doesn’t matter if you believe the pint-sized meteorological marvel’s predictions or not, I figure… instead of having the next six weeks drag along for you, why not embrace the snow for a day or two head on?
The first step is to pick something fun that has a connection to nature. Snowshoeing is a great place to start as you don’t need a lot of equipment and some parks (including Arrowhead, The Pinery, Killarney and Wasaga Beach) rent snowshoes. With Family Day just around the corner, consider Algonquin’s Winter in the Wild Festival, or Killarney’s Winter Activity Day. By travelling to a place away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, it will certainly clear your head as you enjoy the crisp clean air. The parks offer numerous trails for all skill levels and each take you somewhere scenic where the trees are a little taller and the snow is a little deeper.
On the trails at Presqu’ile (left) and Algonquin (upper right).
My secret to enjoying the winter is layering. I usually don’t have much stored away in the trunk of my car, so I throw in piles of thermal layers, sweaters, jackets, toques and gloves. That way, it doesn’t matter what the temperature is, I’m prepared, protected, and actually enjoying myself because I’m not shivering. Be sure to bring a camera or at least your phone charger so that your batteries are full and you can capture these moments in Ontario’s beautiful parks.
A bite-size weekend adventure into the outdoors will help you through the tail-end of winter, and who knows, maybe even give you an appreciation for it or kick start your thinking of summer retreats. Don’t forget you can book a camping spot five months in advance.
Now in its 114th year, the Christmas Bird Count is a bird census that occurs across North America between December 14 and January 5. The count is administered by the National Audubon Society who partners with Bird Studies Canada. The North American count is made up of regional counts, each run over a 24-hour period and within a 24 kilometre diameter circle. These counts are conducted by volunteer birders who set out, binoculars in hand, to track species and numbers of birds either seen or heard throughout the day. The submitted results contribute to a data set more than a century old that provides information on the long-term health of bird populations across the continent.
There are counts going on across the province, but here are details for a few of the counts occurring in Ontario Parks:
Killarney’s 15th Annual Butterfly Count is coming up. On Sunday July 7th, 2013 Ontario Parks’ staff will be meeting at the George Lake Campground Amphitheatre at 9:00 a.m. for the start of a full day of butterfly catching and identification. Continue reading Shake out your nets!