What to know before visiting Pretty River Valley Provincial Park

Nestled into the Niagara Escarpment, Pretty River Valley Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Biosphere. The park is home to a multitude of species, ecosystems, and sensitive habitats, all of which Ontario Parks is trying to protect.

Your actions as a visitor can help us keep this unique park a haven for the many organisms that call it home, as well as a beautiful place for generations of park users to visit.

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Everything you need to know about disposing of trash in provincial parks

We are so happy to welcome visitors to Ontario Parks…

…on the other hand, we are not so delighted to see what accompanies them.

We know many of you have also noticed this and have expressed your concerns. We appreciate and encourage park-lovers who are committed to protecting our environment for the future.

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The trouble with balloons

Today’s post comes from David Bree, our Senior Natural Heritage Education Leader at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, and passionate protector of Ontario’s shorebirds.

I don’t know Jason. But I do know he turned six sometime in the last two months and he had a wonderful party with cake, presents and balloons, surrounded by friends and family.

I hope he had a good time, but I wonder if he knows the legacy of his sixth birthday — from my perspective — is unsightly litter, extra work and possibly untimely death.

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Piping Plovers

Today’s post comes from Assistant Ecologist and Piping Plover specialist Ian Fife.

If you’ve visited some of our popular Great Lakes beaches, you may have noticed restricted areas for a tiny bird no larger than a sparrow.

What’s so important about these birds, and why do we fence off parts of our beaches to protect them?

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Why is biodiversity important?

Biodiversity is a big word for the variety of life on Earth.

Biodiversity is you – and every other living thing on the planet. We see biodiversity every day, but it’s more than bugs and animals and trees. It’s about how everything is connected. If we lose one piece of biodiversity, the rest is affected.

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Going batty at Ontario Parks

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Supervisor Alistair MacKenzie and Bat Stewardship Technician Heather Sanders.

Bats are the only mammal capable of true sustained flight, and with over 1,300 species and counting, they make up the second largest order of mammals.

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The Spotted Salamander, harbinger of spring

Salamanders are iconic and influential members of northern forest communities. As one of the most abundant vertebrates in eastern North American forests, salamanders are considered “keystone species” because of their disproportionate roles as predators and prey in regulating food webs, nutrient cycling, and contributing to ecosystem resilience-resistance.

In addition to fulfilling key ecological functions, amphibians are our modern-day “canaries in the coal mine,” serving as a measure of environmental health.

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We’re here for the birds: how to be an ethical birder

It’s officially spring, which means that birds are winging their way back to our parks — and birders won’t be far behind them!

As birding becomes more popular, and with the initiation of the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, we’re expecting that this will be a big year for the activity.

Whether this is your first season birding or your 91st, we know you want to act in a way that is respectful and protects our feathered park inhabitants.

If you and your binoculars are venturing into a park this season, read on for our top suggestions for ethical birding.

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Do the skies need our protection?

Stars as seen in midnight’s gaze
Stars shining upon shoreline’s haze
Guiding us, teaching us with stories manifold
About ourselves, stars speak, from birth till old.
Their permanence ties us to days gone by
But to hide their secrets, they still do try
To gaze upon them brings dreams of futures bright
But to see them vanish, is to lose much delight.

~Bruce Waters

At Ontario Parks, we’re committed to the protection and preservation of our province’s biodiversity. The night skies in their natural splendour are an important part of that protection.

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