Aerial view of Beaver Pond Trail Boardwalk, Algonquin

Secret life of parks: Algonquin

Today’s post comes from David Legros, an Algonquin Provincial Park naturalist.

Our parks are way more than just places to hike a trail, lay on the beach or roast a marshmallow.

Don’t get me wrong – they are amazing places to do these things, but there are often deeper stories and meanings to the place we love to visit.

Each one of our parks has a long history, and many features that make them special. Some of these are pretty obvious such as Wasaga BEACH Provincial Park, Kakabeka FALLS Provincial Park, or PRESQUILE Provincial Park, but many of them are subtle, yet really meaningful.

To get a sense of these things, you will need to do a little digging.

Come discover with us

Fortunately, if you visit a park, you will be in luck. The people who work in parks are extremely passionate about what they do and the parks they work in. We even have a team of people dedicated to sharing their passion and enthusiasm for the natural and cultural history of the parks with you: our Discovery Staff.

Staff member stops and investigates something small found on the forest floor,

These are the folks who are leading the guided walks, children’s programs and evening program, and special events! They are interpreters of the landscape and stories of parks, and they are here to share them with you.

Guided hike along lookout trail at Balsam Lake Provincial Park.
Guided hike along lookout trail at Balsam Lake Provincial Park

In fact, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of staff-led programs, which started in Algonquin Provincial Park back in 1944.

Always exploring

I am one of the Discovery staff from Algonquin. Every day in many different ways, we get to share the interesting stories about Algonquin with our visitors. Even when I am not on duty, I am exploring Algonquin and other parks in Ontario.

David out searching for butterflies with a large net.

I could be paddling a river, snorkeling in the lake, camping, watching birds, observing butterflies and dragonflies, looking at animal tracks or counting turtles. Even when I am in another park, I can’t help talking to people on the trail and sharing the interesting features about the place.

It is a compulsion and I can’t help it (I did this in parks all over Ontario, British Columbia, Arizona, California, and Illinois).

Secret Life of Parks

In preparation for this important anniversary, Ontario Parks wanted to create a series of videos celebrating some of the hidden stories of our parks: The Secret Life of Parks. I was really honoured to be asked to host a couple of the videos.

We picked a couple iconic features in Algonquin to explore: White Pines and Moose.

Staff member David LeGros getting ready to film the Secret Life of Parks
David LeGros getting ready for his close up. ACTION!

We wanted to give viewers a peek into some of the hidden aspects of the life of parks, something you may not see or notice as you walk past on a trail. With a little help, a bigger picture is revealed and The Secret Life of Parks is our way of showing you.

Secret Life of Parks: White Pines

Secret Life of Parks: Moose

Enjoy and we look forward to seeing you on August 10 when we celebrate province-wide at 10:00 am with a special 75th anniversary hike!