Forever protected: why Pinery belongs

Our “Forever protected” series shares why each and every one belongs in Ontario Parks. In today’s post, Alistair MacKenzie tells us Pinery’s story.

Not until I began working for Ontario Parks did I realize that our great system of protected areas is based upon a model of representation. Each park is different and critical to the success of our protected areas system on the whole.

I am the Supervisor of Natural Heritage Education and Resource Management at Pinery Provincial Park, and I’d like to tell you why Pinery belongs in our provincial system.

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Kettle Lakes: a land shaped by icebergs

The deep green boreal forest of Kettle Lakes Provincial Park contains 22 beautiful little lakes. Of these lakes, 20 are called actually “kettle lakes” by geographers.

So what is a “kettle lake?”

To answer that question, we first must look at how kettles are formed.

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Forever protected

We all know Ontario’s provincial parks aim to protect our natural landscapes and species.

But did you know that each individual park is protected for its own (often very specific) reasons?

Our parks work together as a network of biodiversity and protection. Whether an immense wilderness or a small urban nature reserve, every park plays a critical role in the protection of our biodiversity, including representative ecosystems, species, and cultural heritage.

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5 things I love about being a Discovery Ranger

Today’s post comes from Madeline McNabb, a 2017 Discovery Ranger at White Lake Provincial Park

We all dream of turning our passion into a job.

My chance came this past summer when I worked at White Lake Provincial Park as a Discovery Ranger.

The Discovery program aims to inspire curiosity in park visitors and encourage exploration of our natural environment. I made so many amazing memories this past summer. There are too many wonderful things I want to share!

After much deliberation, I have narrowed it down to five top reasons why I loved being a Discovery Ranger:

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My Park My Story: we asked, you answered

A few months ago, we launched the #MyParkMyStory campaign where we invited our visitors to gather around our virtual campfire to share their favourite park memories and experiences.

And boy, did you deliver!

So, pull up your virtual folding chair, grab a marshmallow or hot dog on a roasting stick, and let’s have a fireside chat.

Today, we’re sharing some of our favourite #MyParkMyStory memories submitted by you!

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Just roll with it: how one park adapts to an unpredictable shoreline

Today’s post comes from Amy Hall, a Resource Management Project Technician at Pinery Provincial Park.

Many of our visitors have been coming to Pinery for decades, witnessing the park change in many ways over time.

If you’ve been here in the last few years, you may have noticed that our beach is constantly changing month to month, and even day to day!

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Visibility in the outdoors: why I love camping as a Black person

Today’s post comes from Claire Zlobin from

In honour of Black History Month, I wanted to talk about one of the things I always hear that Black people don’t do: camping.

I’ve been hearing that “Black people don’t camp” for years, which is, of course, false.

However I do think this deters some people from attempting to go camping, because they feel like they’ll be othered, or the only ones there.

I’m here to show you that Black people do camp, and that camping is an excellent low-cost vacation.

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Travel back in time to the Bon Echo Inn

Today’s post comes from Lisa Roach, chief park naturalist at Bon Echo Provincial Park.

Did you know some of your favourite provincial parks like Bon Echo, Sandbanks, Presqu’ile, and Algonquin have hosted the summer vacations of nature-lovers since the turn of the century?

By the end of the 1800s, pioneer society was changing. Increased prosperity led to a growing interest in summer resorts and leisure activities. People in Ontario were using their own wilderness for recreation, just like we do today.

Resorts became the popular hangout for the well-to-do, like Lakeshore Lodge (Sandbanks) or Bartlett Lodge (Algonquin).

Over 100 years ago Bon Echo Provincial Park became home to the ultimate summer recreation destination: the Bon Echo Inn.

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Establishing a new conservation reserve in Prince Edward County

Our staff have been working hard to evaluate the possibility of establishing a new conservation reserve. 

Ostrander Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area are two ecologically significant areas along the southern shore of Prince Edward County.

They are currently designated as provincial Crown land, managed by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.

These are areas used for waterfowl hunting, hiking, recreational motorized vehicles, birdwatching, and other recreational activities that all Ontarians are welcome to enjoy.

The South Shore is recognized as a unique and globally significant Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and an International Monarch Butterfly Reserve. 

Could a conservation reserve designation help protect these uses and values?

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks proposes that designating the area as a conservation reserve would help strengthen the long-term protection and health of local wildlife and ecosystems (and invites your feedback!).

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