December’s digital download

Our gift to you this December is this beautiful image of a Gray Jay.

You never know what you’ll see in pristine winter forests.  Birds are often easier to spot because of the leafless trees and serene quiet.

All you need is a set of binoculars, a pair of snowshoes, and some warm clothing.

Happy birding!

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Eyes on the skies — December, 2017

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

December brings some of the darkest skies of the year.

Take advantage of this great opportunity to go out into our parks. Breathe in the peace and solitude of December days and the bounty of the starlit skies.

Here are our astronomical highlights for December, 2017:

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Cool winter trails at Windy Lake Provincial Park

It’s always a fantastic day on the trails at Windy Lake Provincial Park!

Windy Lake is a cool Ontario winter recreation destination located only 45 minutes from Sudbury.

Experience the sound of crisp, fresh snow squeaking under your snowshoes, while cross-country skiers glide by on nearby trails.

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Maintaining the Missinaibi

The Missinaibi River is one of the longest and most famous canoe routes in the Hudson Bay watershed – 500 km of whitewater river, from the Arctic watershed divide down to James Bay.

This summer, our Northeastern Resource Stewardship Crew traveled 185 km of that river working to maintain Missinaibi Provincial Park‘s backcountry.

Check out this video of their travels:

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Underground, underwater or frozen solid: how do frogs & toads spend the winter?

Today’s post comes from David LeGros, one of our Algonquin Provincial Park naturalists.

As the crisp fall days get colder and the occasional dusting of snow whitens the landscape, we know that winter is just around the corner. For the countless songbirds of our forests, they avoid our cold winters and lack of food by migrating south. Other animals are adapted to the cold conditions and may grow a thicker coat of fur or feathers. Some, we think, have the enviable ability to sleep away the long Ontario winter by hibernating.

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Fish stocking 101

If you like to fish and want to improve your chances of getting a good catch, your best bet is to head to one of Ontario’s 2,000 lakes and rivers that are stocked by Ontario Parks or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

The ministry has been stocking popular spots since the early 1950s with fish that are well suited to the area. Today, we operate nine fish culture stations, or hatcheries, across the province, where 12 popular sport fish (including walleye, salmon, trout and muskie) are raised.

Every year, we release about 8 million fish into Ontario waters!

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Tidewater Provincial Park and Pei lay sheesh kow IBA

Welcome to the November installment of “IBAs in provincial parks,” brought to you by Ontario IBA Coordinator Amanda Bichel of Bird Studies Canada.

It’s always exciting when we can announce a new Important Bird & Biodiversity area!

Today’s IBA started out as an area of seven IBAs and is now an amalgamated site with an added 716 km2 of area.

Tidewater Provincial Park and the tail end of Kesagami Provincial Park fit comfortably within our new IBA: Pei lay sheesh kow.

“Pei lay sheesh kow” means “an area that abounds with birds” in Cree. That couldn’t be more true!

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What goes into closing a park for the winter?

While 26 provincial parks remain open for the winter, the rest hibernate until spring.

But closing a park isn’t as simple as just locking the gates. Our staff put a lot of elbow grease into prepping each park for the winter.

Here are just a few of the tasks we do each fall:

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The Sharma family learns to camp

In today’s post, Ankita Sharma shares her family’s camping experience with the Learn to Camp program.

Last summer, I convinced my Indian family of five to go camping at Emily Provincial Park.

The Sharmas have never been camping before, but suddenly here we are, standing at our campsite.

My father looks at me and asks, “Where have you brought us?”

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