Earlier this month, a crew of seven park staff – rangers, maintenance workers, administration staff and biologists – spent the entire day installing turtle fencing along the side of the busy Highway 60 in Algonquin.
To many, camping brings visions of sunshine, the leaves trembling as the trees slowly sway in the wind, sand and waves gently crashing around your toes as you enjoy your days on the beach. Your face is flush with your first dose of spring sunshine and your ears are filled with the beautiful songs of migrating birds.
Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
Here are our top ten reasons to try spring camping this season:
Get out your binoculars, cameras, smart phones and pack a baggie full of bread, cheese and raisins. The fascinating world of the winter Canada Jay breeding season is underway at Algonquin Park. And if you’re lucky (as most Canada Jan fans are), these delightfully social birds will feed right off your hand.
“Canada Jays are a fascinating bird,” says retired Algonquin Park naturalist Dan Strickland. “They are very confiding and quickly learn that people can be a source of food and so they come to people, rather than the other way around. They are often tame and will land on your hands.”
The century-old skins, skulls and specimens inside the Collections Room at Algonquin Park live like little hermits in the basement of the Visitor Centre, stunningly preserved and rarely seen by anyone except park naturalists and visiting scientists.
Yet every now and again, the doors swing open and the public is invited to visit this treasure trove of natural history dating back 50 to 100 years.
February is a popular month to visit Ontario Parks. Five provincial parks plan Family Day events and affordable Valentine getaways in roofed accommodation at many parks are also a big draw. Valentine’s Day and Family Day are on the same holiday weekend this year, February 13-16. While holiday weekend accommodation is already booked, mid-week dates are still available. A total of twenty-six parks across Ontario are open this winter. Eight have roofed accommodation for rent. Nineteen have groomed ski trails and snowshoeing and several offer skating, tobogganing and tubing. The Ontario Parks Ski Report has the latest trail conditions. This Park Blog snowshoe post includes parks with designated trails. For more on Family Day events and Valentine getaways, please see below.