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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How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?

Preserving ecological integrity is a priority for all of us here at Ontario Parks. But just what does ecological integrity look like? Algonquin Provincial Park Naturalist David LeGros explains…

When I start many of my evening programs at Algonquin, I often ask the audience if they like nature.

Usually I get a lot of hands up in the air, but there are always a few that don’t put their hands up. I tell those people, “You might be in the wrong place, because Algonquin is crawling with nature.” I know these folks may have not been paying attention to what I was saying or chose not to participate in my survey, but it always gets a laugh from the crowd.

However, this did get me thinking about why we go to parks over staying home or visiting a big city…

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“What the heck is that?!”: when to #AskanOPNaturalist

Today’s post comes from David LeGros, a park naturalist with the Ontario Parks Discovery Program.

“I’ve never seen one of those” is among my favorite sentences.

There’s a scary thing that happens the longer you look into nature. The more you find, the more you find out that you don’t know that much. It can be an intimidating feeling, but also, an exciting feeling.

Your mind is about to be blown.

Repeatedly.

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New in 2022: Blackfly Protection Zones in Algonquin

Today’s post comes from Roger LaFontaine, park naturalist and passionate blackfly advocate. 

Imagine yourself by the side of a beautiful, rocky stream or river in Algonquin Provincial Park.

The idyllic spot for pondering life’s mysteries, like “what does it look like inside a kingfisher’s burrow?” or “do the bioluminescent fungi glow during the day, too?”

As you enjoy your Instagrammable moments streamside, you are surrounded by a hum, vibrations, and the tickle of tiny feet.

It’s like you’re a celebrity, a guest of honour!

You have arrived to one of Algonquin’s newly established Blackfly Protection Zones.

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Keeping up with the Canada Jay

Today’s blog post comes from bird researchers Alex Sutton and Koley Freeman, PhD candidates at the University of Guelph.

In the world of Canada Jays, winter means one thing: it’s breeding season!

Canada Jays are common in Algonquin Provincial Park. Continuing a 55 year-old tradition, a dedicated team of researchers is monitoring breeding pairs. This is the longest study of its kind in the world!

With each passing year, more is learned about the breeding behaviour and life history of these remarkable birds.

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A winter birding challenge

Today’s post is from Justin Peter, who was a Natural Heritage Education Specialist at Algonquin Provincial Park from 2006 through 2013. Now a professional travel planner, Justin is a keen local and worldwide explorer, and looks for birds everywhere he ventures.

It’s tempting to say that winter’s not the best time to look at birds in our Ontario Parks. Many species have migrated south. We’re hesitant to venture into the chilly weather.

But the quieter (and leafless) atmosphere of our parks during winter provides an excellent and unique challenge for our sense of environmental awareness.

Up for the challenge? Here’s a selection of birds (and bird signs) you can look for this winter:

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Where to skate in Ontario Parks

The air is crisp and clean. The evergreens are covered with snow. If you’re lucky – and observant – you might spot a cardinal, a finch, a waxwing or a blue jay as you glide along the ice.

And when the sun goes down, you can huddle around a big bonfire with a cup of hot chocolate and warm up before relacing your skates and heading back out to skate under the stars.

It’s simply magical.

This winter, plan a skating trip to these four provincial parks:

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Frozen falls and other wacky winter water

When most of us picture winter ice, we conjure up mental images of skating rinks and icicles. But did you know there’s a lot of variety in wintry water formations?

From frozen falls to ice volcanoes, winter water is quite a sight to behold:

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Where to snowshoe in Ontario Parks

Nature looks completely different under a glittering blanket of snow. Why not strap on some snowshoes and experience Ontario Parks in a whole new way this winter?

Check out some winter parks with top-notch snowshoeing opportunities:

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Fat biking at Algonquin

Snow on the trails no longer means that bike season is over; it means that winter fatbiking season has begun!

Fatbikes are mountain bikes with over-sized tires which allow the bikes to travel over snow with ease. One of the best things about fatbiking in the winter is that it’s a great way to get outside and be active all winter long and have a blast doing it!

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