The dos and don’ts of using live bait in provincial parks

Ontario is home to more than 250,000 lakes, thousands of kilometres of streams and rivers, and more than 150 species of fish.

There are endless fishing opportunities at Ontario Parks, and dropping a line is a great way to connect with and learn about nature.

From Lake Trout to Brook Trout, Walleye to Northern Pike, we’ve got some of the best recreational fishing opportunities in the world!

But before you head out to hook a big one, let’s talk about some of the dos and don’ts of using live bait in Ontario Parks:

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Help prevent Spotted Lanternfly in Ontario

A new invasive species threat is closing in on Ontario, and we’re calling on you (yes, you!) to help keep it at bay.

Spotted Lanternfly threatens many of our native tree species, including maples, poplars, pines, and cherries. Grape vines are also susceptible to this pest.

We need our community scientists around the province to report sightings of the Spotted Lanternfly’s partner-in-crime: Tree of Heaven.

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Don’t dump that yard waste!

You’ve finished cleaning up your yard and now have a pile of branches and leaves to dispose of.

Sending organic materials to the dump may cost you money and increases the amount of methane released into the atmosphere.*

Wouldn’t it make sense to take it to a local green space to decompose naturally?

While we understand how people might think this is a good idea, yard waste that has been dumped in our protected areas puts park habitats at risk.

Read on to find out why.

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Ecological integrity in southeastern parks

In today’s post, Protected Areas Intern Katelyn Vardy highlights a few of the projects that staff have completed to improve and maintain the ecological integrity in southeastern parks.

When you’re standing in a favourite nature spot or within a park, it’s easy to embrace the beauty and calmness that surrounds you.

While campers and day trippers enjoy all that parks have to offer, behind the scenes are teams of staff working incredibly hard. Their work helps to protect these areas so that they can be enjoyed for years to come.

Here’s a look at some of the projects that we have completed to support the ecological integrity of southeastern parks.

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Be an invasive species fighter! Clean, drain, dry your boat

Today’s post comes from our friends at the Invasive Species Centre.

Ontario is home to wonderful lakes, rivers and streams. Unfortunately, some of these waterways are home to aquatic invasive species such as Zebra or Quagga Mussels.

These species can be spread from one waterbody to another through watercraft that have not been properly cleaned, drained and dried between uses.

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6 ways to be the best park neighbour

Provincial parks are not islands.

Well, some of them are. What we mean is: there is no invisible wall around parks limiting their relationships with the outside world.

Even if you never visit a park, you benefit from the pollinator diversity they protect, the CO2 they sequester in wood, roots, and peat, and the clean water filtered by protected wetlands.

Plants, animals, fungi, microbes, water, and air move in and out of protected spaces, with intimate connections on both local and global levels.

In the same way, things that happen outside of park boundaries affect the ecosystems within them. What you do at home, work, or play can impact our parks.

Whether you live next door to a park or 100 km away, here are six ways your everyday actions can help keep parks and nature reserves healthy and biodiverse:

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How to be a responsible mountain biker

Mountain biking is a great way to exercise and spend time surrounded by nature.

It can also have a huge impact on the environment.

We know Ontario Parks trails are a favourite among mountain bikers, so we wanted to share some of our best practices to protect where you bike.

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The very hungry caterpillars

Note: this blog is about the non-native, highly invasive moth species Lymantria dispar dispar, which we have previously referred to as the Gypsy Moth or by the acronym LDD. In this article, we will refer to the moth using its new common name, Spongy Moth.

If you’ve seen an Ontario oak tree recently, you’ve likely been introduced to the invasive Spongy Moth (Lymantria dispar dispar).

Spongy Moth caterpillars were first introduced to North America in the late 1860s and are voracious eaters! Their favourite cuisine is oak leaves, but in particularly bad outbreak years — like this one — they can spread to many other tree species.

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Why is that a rule?

Excessive noise. Transporting firewood. Have you ever wondered why certain rules exist?

Thought, research, and science go into the laws and policies that cover provincial parks and conservation reserves. And it helps to understand the rationale.

Today, we’re sharing the logic behind a few of the rules our visitors ask us about most frequently:

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