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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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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Get your daily vehicle permit in advance for select provincial parks!

Last year, more than 80% of visitors told us they liked being able to reserve their daily vehicle permit in advance.

That’s why we’re offering this service at even more of our busier day-use parks in 2022.

This year, you will be able to get your daily vehicle permit in advance at 33 provincial parks.

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May’s digital download

Spring is here at last!

Take some time this month to sit on the shoreline, listen to the lapping waves, and breathe in that sweet spring air!

This month’s FREE digital download comes from Pinery Provincial Park!

Throughout 2022, we’re sharing a free downloadable graphic for you to use as wallpaper for your favourite devices. We’ve specially sized these images for your computers, tablets, smartphones, and Facebook covers.

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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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The Northern Lights

Seeing the magnificent Northern Lights is a bucket list item for any nature lover.

But did you know that the Northern Lights are caused by charged particles from the Sun?

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is the name given to an often-ethereal band or curtain of faint light seen towards the northern horizon. Generally, the light is so faint that the light pollution of even a small town can wash it out.

However, in the dark skies of many of our provincial parks, the Northern Lights can be spectacular.

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Stories in the stars / Pride in our hearts

Today’s post comes from Will Morin, a Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury and Bruce Waters, a former educator at the McLaughlin Planetarium and founder of the Killarney Provincial Park Observatory.

It’s time we learn the astronomical traditions of the diverse Indigenous cultures in the Americas.

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The Milky Way Galaxy

On a clear dark summer or winter night, you can see a cloudy band of light traversing the sky.

This light is known as the Milky Way.

The Milky Way actually has nothing to do with dairy. Instead, it’s the term for the light of hundreds of millions of stars that are so far away we cannot see them as individual points of light. Instead, we see their combined glow as a fuzzy, glowing band of light.

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Quetico: an International Dark Sky Park

On February 23, 2021, Quetico Provincial Park was officially designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association!

The opportunity to look up into a beautiful starry sky has forever been a part of the Quetico Provincial Park camping experience.

Imagine yourself lying on your back gazing up into a wide-open sky filled with a million points of distant light (like the sky captured above by David Jackson!). You take a deep breath of clean air and stare upwards in wonder.

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