Spring paddling safety

Itching for ice out? We certainly are.

But spring weather can be fickle. Hitting the lake too early, failing to respect weather conditions or paddling beyond your skill level isn’t just risky — it’s downright dangerous.

We chatted with Paul Smith, Superintendent of Kawartha Highlands Signature Site, to get some top do’s and don’ts for spring paddling safety:

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The battle of paddlers: eliminating “Portage Rage”

Today’s post comes from Roger LaFontaine, Outdoor Recreation Specialist at Ontario Parks.

With the warm weather, our minds wander from day-to-day drudgery like the terrible commute, the clicking of keyboards, the abstract shapes, and disjointed words of a presentation.

Suddenly, you’re dreaming about pine trees, a campfire, and great people you don’t get to spend enough time with.

Glazed-over eyes slowly make their way to the window, and you begin to plan your escape.

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Temagami: an ancient canoe country

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education and Marketing Specialist Dave Sproule.

It’s a rugged, time-worn landscape. A fractured piece of the Canadian Shield, with fault lines criss-crossing the roots of ancient mountains for hundreds of kilometres. More than 2,500 lakes fill those fault lines, and at over 600,000 hectares, it’s almost as large as Algonquin Provincial Park.

Is it any wonder so many paddlers lose their hearts to Temagami?

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5 backcountry gems of Southeastern Ontario

Ontario’s wilderness is a lot closer than you think.

Did you know you can leave downtown Toronto and be paddling out to your campsite in less than 3 hours?

These five southeastern parks are perfect for finding backcountry solitude close to home:

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Backcountry for beginners: the recap

On March 20, our team went live at SAIL to answer all of your questions about backcountry camping.

Unfortunately, we ran into some technical difficulties and aren’t able to deliver our promised recording of this event. We’re very sorry to everyone who was hoping to catch the replay.

Instead, we’ve gotten the team together to recap the questions in written form, so we can still share the answers with everyone who couldn’t be there live.

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Backcountry for beginners: the best destinations

When executed safely, your first backcountry trip forges lifelong memories, opening an immersive getaway into nature.

But the leap from car camping to backcountry requires preparation and learning. New paddlers and hikers can find themselves in serious trouble if they overestimate their skills or choose a too-challenging route.

Here are some recommended trips for backcountry beginners:

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Health benefits of backcountry camping

Today’s post comes from Sarah McMichael, Ontario Parks’ Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator.

Backcountry camping is known for being a way to experience beautiful, serene landscapes. But a backcountry trip also provides an opportunity to challenge yourself physically and mentally.

The combination of paddling, portaging, and hiking through the backcountry is a great all-over workout. Plus, you will experience a ton of health benefits simply by being outdoors.

Hit the backcountry for a killer total-body workout this summer. Let’s do this!

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Backcountry routes without portages

This blog comes from David Legros, a Natural Heritage Education Specialist at Algonquin Provincial Park, and lover of backcountry camping. 

There you are, standing on the rocky shore of a lake. A windswept pine sits behind you, and a wild landscape before you. Welcome to backcountry camping!

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Low-impact backcountry camping

Today’s post was written by Brooke Michell, a Park Biologist at Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park.

“The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need.” – Edward Abbey

Some of our most treasured moments occur off the beaten path. In the backcountry of Ontario Parks, the avid hiker, canoe tripper, angler, and outdoors person seeks solitude. Although anyone who has backcountry camped knows it’s not always a walk in the park.

Physical limits are often pushed while portaging through rugged terrain, and paddling across windswept water bodies. At this expense, why is backcountry camping one of our most beloved past times?

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