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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Why social trails are damaging to provincial parks

Park-lovers are natural explorers, and we love our visitors’ passion for adventure.

Sometimes, we see our visitors create their own shortcuts by cutting through sensitive habitat. This is otherwise known as creating a social trail.

Social trails can have a wide range of damaging effects on protected areas, and we’d like to ask our visitors to always stay on designated trails.

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Backcountry basics: know your limits

You’ve heard about this fantastic new adventure through a friend, route guide, or Instagram. It looks kind of tough, and you’re pretty new to the whole backcountry thing.

Still, you don’t want to miss out, so you decide to go for it.

But as you start planning, there’s a little voice wondering if this is really the best idea.

Listen to that voice.

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An Ontario Parks glossary

Are you new to parks, or maybe a park veteran looking to brush up on your knowledge?

We’ve assembled a handy guide to all the terms you’ll need to know and understand before you visit the park…

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7 iconic vistas of northwestern Ontario

Today’s post comes from Barb Rees, Discovery Program/Marketing Specialist with Ontario Parks’ Northwest Zone.

Ontario Parks is fortunate to be able to both protect and showcase an abundance of natural vistas across the province.

While some locations are relatively easy to access, others will challenge you before rewarding you with their amazing views.

Here are seven iconic vistas to discover and explore this season.

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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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How to plan your day trip to Forks of the Credit

Forks of the Credit Provincial Park is a beautiful park west of Toronto. It offers excellent hiking, picnicking, and fishing opportunities, as well as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.

But the secret is out on this hiking destination located close to home! Forks of the Credit can experience large crowds of visitors, especially on summer weekends.

As the park’s popularity has grown, so has our need for visitors to put extra thought into being respectful. Visitors should plan ahead to avoid large crowds, potential fines, or being turned away at the park gate.

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Hitting the trails? Know the etiquette before you go

Matt Cunliffe started at Ontario Parks in 2006 and has spent over a decade working as a park interpreter and an assistant park planner, and is now a Discovery Leader at MacGregor Provincial Park. An avid trail user and self-proclaimed nature geek, when he’s not on the clock, you’re likely to find him onto a new discovery somewhere in one of our parks.

Spring has sprung and I, like many Ontarians, cannot wait hike and bike as many trails as I can.

While you’re getting your gear ready for the next adventure, here are some tips to help you prepare and minimize impacts while you are out enjoying the trails.

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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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