The year of high water at Presqu’ile

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Leader David Bree at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

It was a wet year for provincial parks in 2017.

If you visited Lake Ontario this spring, you know water levels reached record highs. By early May, the lake was 10 cm higher than the highest it had ever been since records started in 1918. This is also a full metre higher than average.

The damage this caused has been well-documented. At Presqu’ile Provincial Park, we had flooded facilities, lost land to erosion, and had to close for four weeks in June to prevent more damage to our soggy landscape.

The flood was certainly an inconvenience to us, but what effect did it have on the nature and wildlife of the park?

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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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Tobi Kiesewalter: interpretive naturalist extraordinaire

Nothing’s more inspiring than a person with a true passion for nature.

Tobi Kiesewalter is one of those people. He puts his passion to work as the Natural Heritage Education leader at Murphys Point Provincial Park. 

Tobi’s been a valued member of the Ontario Parks family for a whopping 22 years. Now, we’re proud to announce he is the recipient of the National Association for Interpretation’s Great Lakes Region Master Interpretive Manager Award.

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Resource field crews: coming to a northern park near you

This post comes from MaryJane Moses, Resource Stewardship Coordinator in the Northwest Zone of Ontario Parks.

You may have encountered Ontario Parks staff during your visits.

They’re friendly, and will provide customer service, perform routine maintenance duties, and hold Natural Heritage Education programs in our campground parks.

But have you met any of our Northwest Zone resource stewardship team members yet?

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5 cool facts about skinks

If you’ve ever seen a Five-lined Skink, you know just how cute they are!

The Five-lined Skink, which looks a bit like a salamander, is the only lizard species native to Ontario. And while researchers continue to study skinks, we still don’t know very much about what they do on a day-to-day basis, particularly from September to May when they’re hibernating.

Here are five cool things we DO know about Five-lined Skinks, courtesy of Alistair MacKenzie, Resource Management Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park.

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Slithering into fall: hibernation for Ontario’s reptiles

Today’s post was written by seasonal student Heather Van Den Diepstraten from Rondeau Provincial Park.

It’s not just students and birds on the move this fall.

As the cold weather approaches, reptiles are trekking across Rondeau Provincial Park in search of hibernacula (places in which wildlife overwinter). Researchers for Wildlife Preservation Canada are busy tracking the movements of snakes, turtles, and skinks within the park as they find suitable habitat for their hibernation.

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9 tips for eco friendly Halloween decor

Many of our in-park Halloween events feature campsite decorating contests.

But certain decorations can be harmful to the environment.

Here’s how you can create a super spooky campsite AND protect Ontario’s ecological integrity at the same time.

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Sandbanks saves trees

When it comes to tree-planting, Sandbanks Provincial Park goes all out.

But did you know this Prince Edward County provincial park rescues trees, too?

The park uses an arsenal of traps, invisible fences, GPS and companion trees to target diseases and insects that attack Ontario trees.

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Quetico’s 2017 science projects

When many people think about Quetico, they envision backcountry camping or paddling splendor. Today’s post from Brian Jackson, Park Biologist, highlights Quetico’s important scientific work.

It’s been another busy year for science studies and monitoring in Quetico Provincial Park.

The following highlights just a few of the projects carried out this past summer:

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