It’s that time of year again when we say goodbye to another beautiful Canadian winter and greet the oncoming summer! For both backcountry campers and those considering their first camping experience, this means it’s time to start planning and organizing equipment for the trip.
David Bree (Senior Natural Heritage Leader, Presqu’ile Provincial Park)
Why do Parks Matter? Unfortunately that is becoming an increasingly pertinent question in an age where screen time outweighs nature time on a regular basis.
Working in a park, I can answer that question in a number of ways. The most obvious perhaps is that parks provide protection for a great many habitats, which in turn provide space and resources for the animals and plants of the province to function in a normal fashion. This is in essence the definition of biodiversity, a whole bunch of things living and interconnecting in a complex web. This is a bit of a catch word these days, but maintaining a high biodiversity in our world has been shown to make for a more robust and healthy environment. And a healthy environment is integral to our survival – it supplies our air, our water and our food, just to name the most obvious and crucial elements of life. While to me this is a compelling and obvious argument, it has become sterile to many ears that have been bombarded by warnings of environmental doom and gloom all their lives. After a while people just don’t hear.
As people around the world prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Ontarians have everything they need right in their own backyard. With more than 330 provincial parks covering 8.2 million hectares of parkland, Ontario is a veritable playground for all things fun and environmental.
Here are five ways you can enjoy the spirit of Earth Day in April and throughout the year:
Learn to camp
Did you know Ontario Parks is now taking campsite reservations for summer 2015? The provincial park agency has a 5 month advance booking window. This means that anyone planning to camp in late June, for example, can book their campsite now.
During the busy five month advance reservation period, Ontario Parks processes about 102,000 reservations (3o% of its total reservations for the year). The peak weeks for booking five months in advance are mid-January to March 31. Pinery, Algonquin, Sandbanks, Killbear and Bon Echo Provincial Parks are the busiest. Ontario Parks suggests trying a new park in 2015 and offers some excellent alternatives to its busiest five. Check this Ontario Parks blog for new parks to try, online tools to help you choose a park and much more.