5 ways to stay active in the cold

Brrr! Temperatures are dropping, and winter’s icy grip is almost upon us.

We bet you’re feeling just about ready to tuck into a nice, long winter’s hibernation. Not so fast! Outdoor activity is important for our mental and physical health all year long. Getting outside is good for you even when the weather is not ideal.

Ontario Parks has 31 parks open in the winter. Each park offers plenty of ways for you to get active in the chilly months.

Here are some great ways to stay healthy, and enjoy winter!

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The ultimate Pinery challenge

In today’s post, Sarah Fencott, a naturalist at Pinery Provincial Park is sharing her journey to completing the ultimate Pinery challenge. The goal? To complete all ten trails at Pinery, including lookouts and extensions. 

Last year, my goal was to hike every trail before the end of the summer. I completed my goal with three days left in my contract.

This year, my goal was to hike all of the trails in one week. This worked out well, as we needed to do an infrastructure survey of the park trails anyway! By hiking three trails per day I had completed my goal within my first week back at work.

With my initial goal so easily achieved, I set my sights on a new challenge that would be harder than anything I had done in the park before: the Tour de Pinery.

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Waldeinsamkeit: solitude in the forest

Picture this: you’re alone, deep into a forested trail. Your only companions are the birds fluttering from branch to branch around you. As you walk, you follow a corridor made of pillars of ancient trees, and smell the earthy aroma of moss and damp leaves.

How do you feel? It’s hard to describe, but the words which immediately come to mind are calm, peaceful, and contemplative. You feel a deep-rooted connection to the world around you, and you are reminded of the importance of our natural environment.

There’s a word for that feeling: waldeinsamkeit.

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Uncovering the “birdiest” trail at Pinery

Today’s post comes from Habitat Stewardship Technician Justin Johnson from Pinery Provincial Park. Justin has a M.Sc. in biology with a focus on bird acoustics. 

Birders are an interesting breed of people. Sometimes everything they do seems to subvert the norms of society.

Sleeping in? Rather not. Too much coffee? No such thing. $4500 binoculars? Yeah, I’ve seen it.

Birders’ bread and butter is local natural spaces and their trails. They can be very particular about which trails they walk. Seasoned birders often only use trails they perceive as “birdy,” neglecting those off their sacred path.

But how do we really know which trails are the “birdiest?”

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Add nature to your self-care toolkit

As the days get shorter and the colder weather arrives, it’s time to talk self-care.  Bubble baths and meditation are great options, but have you considered adding nature to your self-care toolkit?

October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and it’s the perfect time to think of ways we can take care of ourselves and our families.

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4 top tips for fall hiking adventures

Fall is our favourite hiking season.

It’s not too hot. The bugs are gone. Solitude is easier to find.

But fall hiking has its own complications, especially when it comes to weather.

Before heading out, check out this handy fall hiking checklist:

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Fascinating fall fungi at Frontenac

`From yeast fungi (responsible for leavening bread) to mold (we’ve all forgotten about food for just a little too long), the world of fungi is a large and fascinating one.

But the role fungi play in our natural environment is perhaps one of the most important roles of all.

Have you ever wondered how old tree stumps break down and are slowly reclaimed by the forest floor? Or how plants are able to obtain water and nutrients essential for their survival?

The answer is fungi.

Fungi are the powerhouses of forest ecosystems. They are the best wood decomposers found in the natural environment and form relationships with nearly 90% of the world’s land plants

At Frontenac Provincial Park, over 700 species of fungi have been identified in our forests.

Let’s find out some interesting facts about a handful of them:

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Improving access to Twin Points Trail at Killbear

Tucked away in a corner of Killbear Provincial Park is a special spot: the Twin Points Trail.

With windswept pines, rugged rocks, and a plethora of wildlife, this is the perfect place to fully absorb the beauty of Georgian Bay.

This natural gem has captured the hearts of many, including one special nature-lover: Teresa Daw.

She made a lasting contribution to help more people access the trail than ever before.

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