Why is that a rule?

Excessive noise. Transporting firewood. Have you ever wondered why certain rules exist?

Thought, research, and science go into the laws and policies that cover provincial parks and conservation reserves. And it helps to understand the rationale.

Today, we’re sharing the logic behind a few of the rules our visitors ask us about most frequently:

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How to be a Bear Wise visitor

Black Bears live across Ontario in forested areas where they can find enough food, shelter, and denning sites. Our provincial parks are their home, and over 90% of our parks are in bear country.

A safe bear sighting during one of your adventures with Ontario Parks can be a lasting memory. Educating yourself about bears before your visit is important and the mark of a responsible park visitor.

We want to share space with bears, keeping our human visitors and all our wildlife residents safe.

If you’re planning a visit, here are some important safety tips about Black Bears:

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Say “no” to axe-idents

You’ve just paddled your heart out to get to your campsite. You put on your flannel and grab your axe to prepare your campfire.

Something about being in the wilderness that brings out our inner woodsperson.

We know the feeling.

However, for the preservation of your toes, please read this before you swing that axe!

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Keep it down: a quiet camper is a respectful one

You’re at the park. You’ve set up your site, and now you can spend the evening relaxing.

You had a long drive, and you are unwinding by talking to your friends and playing music. There’s no harm in that right?

In steps the park warden.

You may be surprised when a park warden stops by your site to ask you to quiet down a little, but their job is to make sure everyone is having a peaceful stay. Loud campers can irritate your neighbours and the wildlife in the park.

Here are five noisy habits to avoid on your next visit to the park.

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5 ways to help our staff this year

The past few months have been full of twists and turns.

Our staff are working hard to ensure our visitors are having a safe and enjoyable time at Ontario Parks.

Here are a few ways you can do your part to maintain a smooth experience at our parks for all:

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Campfire safety: If you love Ontario Parks, don’t burn them!

Today’s post comes from Marketing and Communications summer student Mitch Jackson. His campfire talents include cooking stuffed peppers, grilling barbecue chicken, and always managing to forget to pack a lighter. 

For many campers, a fire is a must. Gathering ’round the flames, sharing stories with friends and family, making s’mores, and burning marshmallows are all part of the quintessential camping experience.

While you may have the perfect campfire recipes, or the perfect campfire building technique, you should also be aware of how to keep your campfire perfectly safe.

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The trouble with stick forts

We don’t want to discourage kids from finding magic in nature. But we’re also kind of like the Lorax; we need to speak for the trees (and all the other critters that live in provincial parks).

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How to avoid getting lost

We can definitely recommend “losing yourself” in our provincial parks by delighting in the sights and sounds of nature, and living in the moment.

We do not, however, recommend getting actually lost.

Park visitors get lost more often than you’d think. It can be a scary, stressful, and dangerous situation. It can also result in complicated and expensive search-and-rescue operations.

While we know no one sets out to get lost, there are steps you can take to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

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DROP Unit formed to recover lost selfie gear

Today’s post comes from Park Naturalist Roger LaFontaine, a highly trained DROP specialist who aids in the retrieval of technology in distress or imminent danger.

With so many people coming to our amazing parks last year, social media was loaded with pictures. They took pictures of the landscape, wildlife, their families and friends, and themselves — lots of themselves.

And shortly after our spring visitors returned, we started getting the calls.

On average, they went something like this: “Hi, I was out with my family at X trail, and I got close to the edge of the cliff to take a selfie of our group. When I was trying to take the picture, I dropped my phone over the edge. Can someone come find it for us?”.

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Has spring sprung? Depends where you are!

Watching winter slip away is a magical thing. Snow is melting, temperatures are warming, and some of our fair-weather bird friends are returning.

However, Ontario is a huge province, and the arrival of spring looks very different depending on where you are.

Spring comes slowly in many provincial parks.

Every year people are surprised to learn that while urban areas may be in bloom, many provincial parks, such as Algonquin, are still covered in snow and ice.

This can lead to some unwelcome surprises and unsafe situations for visitors who are expecting warm weather and spring-like conditions.

Continue reading Has spring sprung? Depends where you are!