Wasaga Under Seige

Wake up and smell the gunpowder at Wasaga Under Siege bicentennial Aug. 14 – 17

If the kids give you a hard time about actually heading outdoors this summer, take them to Wasaga Under Siege this August at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, about 90 minutes north of Toronto. Tell them it’ll be like watching a video game, only for real.

Between August 14 and 17, designated areas of Wasaga Provincial Park will be transformed into an 1812 battlefield, complete with soldiers firing canons with real gunpowder, troops dropping on the battlefield and a narrator giving a play-by-play of all the action, just like Hockey Night in Canada. How cool is that?

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Wasaga Beach Provincial Park Piping Plover Program Won ECO Award

Congratulations to Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (WBPP) staff, the many volunteers and the Friends of Nancy Island and Wasaga Beach Park for receiving the prestigious Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s (ECO) 2013 Recognition Award for their role in protecting the endangered Piping Plovers.

Listed as an endangered species in Canada and the United States, the arrival of the Piping Plovers at Wasaga Beach in 2006 marked a significant turning point as this species had not successfully nested on the Canadian Great Lakes for over 30 years, and had no breeding success at the park in over 70 years.

The Wasaga Beach Provincial Park Piping Plover Program has been helping to foster awareness, appreciation and understanding of the plight of the Piping Plovers in the Great Lakes region for six consecutive years. The program attracted support from many volunteers and community partners. Together the WBPP staff and the Piping Plover Guardians, a group of 40-80 volunteers who work three-hour shifts, monitor the Piping Plovers and protect them from predators daily. And, they do it every day in the middle of one of Ontario’s busiest beaches from spring until late August.

Last year there were 66 breeding pairs in the Great Lakes population of which five were on the Canadian side in Ontario with two nests at Wasaga Beach. Thanks to the tireless efforts of WBPP staff, the volunteers and the community partners, the 2013 program’s success rate was the highest since its inception: 63 per cent of the eggs hatched into fledgling chicks. This is a vast improvement over the 25 per cent average survival rate of Piper Plovers in the wild.

Keep up the great work!

Did You Know?

  • The ECO’s Recognition Award acknowledges ministries that best meet the goals of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR) or use the best internal EBR practices.
  • WBPP staff monitor the entire 14 km of beachfront starting early in the spring watching for the arrival of piping plovers. Once pair bonds are established, staff monitor courtship and breeding.
  • After a single, sand-coloured egg is discovered; staff set up a perimeter fence and the area is closed for 50 metres either side of the egg. A predator enclosure is installed after the fourth egg is laid – this ensures the nest is protected from predators.
  • Park staff and Piping Plover Guardians then monitor the plovers on a daily basis from 8 am – 8 pm until the plovers’ departure in late August.

Provincial park wardens: protecting what you value most

“Hey you there, squirrel? Do you have a license to store those nuts?”  Such was a day in the life of Ranger Smith from ye old Jellystone Park where keeping Yogi Bear and other park dwellers in line was job one.

In real life, the job of a provincial park warden is serious business.  Trained to give visitors the safest, most secure visit possible while safeguarding park resources, wardens perform a variety of functions that most visitors may not even be aware of, including:

  • Enforcing the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act (PPCRA) and other related legislation;
  • Protecting park resources by enforcing legislation, providing education and increasing public awareness;
  • Resolving conflicts;
  • Working with other government agencies when necessary;
  • Preparing court documents and testifying in court proceedings, if needed;
  • Ensuring public safety. Continue reading Provincial park wardens: protecting what you value most

Fish and Bird Die-off at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

There is currently a fish and bird die-off in the Wasaga Beach area. The die-off is believed to be from Type E botulism.

Small-scale fish and bird die-offs are common on the Great Lakes.

Please do not handle dead or dying fish or birds. Park staff is aware of the problem and is working to dispose of dead fish and birds.

While visiting Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, please keep pets on a leash at all times and away from dead or dying animals. Beach Area 3 is the authorized pet beach area in the park.

Read more about botulism in fish and wildlife.