Planes, paddles and portages: a journey of garbage

This is a story about garbage.

It wasn’t a quick journey. It took a plane ride, some paddling in a canoe, portaging, more paddling, another plane ride, and a drive on the highway.

This garbage was left in Algonquin Provincial Park’s remote backcountry, something that, unfortunately, happens far too often.

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What it’s like to be a washroom cleaner at Ontario Parks

In today’s post, our Algonquin Zone Marketing Specialist Andrea Coulter shares how a summer of cleaning washrooms turned her into a public washroom etiquette crusader.

After more than 15 years with Ontario Parks, I still remember my first position most vividly (you never forget cleaning poop off the beach…). I was eighteen years old, and spent the summer working maintenance with Ontario Parks.

After that season of wiping footprints off toilet seats, cleaning clumps of hair from washroom sinks, and scraping waste off the floor, there are some things I started doing (and some things I would never do again):

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Forever protected: why Bon Echo belongs

Our “Forever Protected” series shares why each and every park belongs in Ontario Parks. In today’s post, Lisa Roach from the Discovery Program tells us Bon Echo’s story. 

A favourite for generations of people, Bon Echo provides amazing scenery, relaxation, and a place for families and friends to reconnect. Indigenous peoples, artists, and early recreationists have all been attracted to the Bon Echo area.

So, why was Bon Echo chosen to become a park?

It all started with a donation of land.

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The annual birding battle for the golden binoculars

In today’s post, Learning & Education Specialist Rachelle Law recounts Team Ontario’s push to find as many birds as possible. 

Every year, a team of expert birders from Ontario Parks prepare — binoculars in hand — to compete in a heated competition.

The goal: spot and record as many bird species as they can over one weekend, and win the coveted “golden” binoculars.

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Enjoy the day at a provincial park…for free

Getting outdoors and spending time in nature can have such a positive impact on our physical and mental health and well-being, and this has become even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are making it easier for Ontarians to enjoy the outdoors by providing free weekday daily vehicle permits from May 1 to September 2, for all provincial parks Mondays through Thursdays.

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Neys’ relics from the past

Today’s post comes from Katherine Muzyliwsky, a Natural Heritage Education Student at Neys Provincial Park.

Before Neys became a provincial park, it was known as Neys Camp 100. Instead of happy campers on vacation, the park held German prisoners of war during World War II.

After operating as a prisoner of war camp from 1941-1946, the buildings were dismantled in 1953. Since then, artifacts have showed up from discoveries in the park and from generous donations.

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DROP Unit formed to recover lost selfie gear

Today’s post comes from Park Naturalist Roger LaFontaine, a highly trained DROP specialist who aids in the retrieval of technology in distress or imminent danger.

With so many people coming to our amazing parks last year, social media was loaded with pictures. They took pictures of the landscape, wildlife, their families and friends, and themselves — lots of themselves.

And shortly after our spring visitors returned, we started getting the calls.

On average, they went something like this: “Hi, I was out with my family at X trail, and I got close to the edge of the cliff to take a selfie of our group. When I was trying to take the picture, I dropped my phone over the edge. Can someone come find it for us?”.

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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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Turtle eggs and salamander spawn: spring monitoring at Grundy Lake

Today’s article comes from Emily Wright, Discovery Program Leader at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.

Spring at Grundy Lake is a quiet time of year. The lake waters are cold from the melting snow and ice, birds are just starting to arrive from their long migrations, and visitors are few and far between.

Park staff, however, are often busy and bustling about as they begin to prepare for another season of campers.

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