Squirrels for sale: the incredible history of squirrels at Rondeau

Today’s post is by Jess Matthews, the chief park naturalist at Rondeau Provincial Park.

One hundred years ago, there was a lot we didn’t know about managing parks.

The idea of maintaining ecological integrity is relatively new. Ontario’s first parks were primarily established for recreation and tourism.

During the first half of the 20th century, wildlife was often seen as a tourist attraction or a nuisance. There was little understanding of how animal diseases spread, or how local populations were adapted to the places they lived.

Because park managers didn’t know about any of this, some animals found themselves packed up and shipped off far from their homes.

This is the story of squirrels from Rondeau Provincial Park that, due to their fashionable coats, traveled as far as the White House lawn.

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The man behind the boardwalks: Ray Sheppard retires after 30 seasons at Pinery

Today’s post comes from Megan Loucks, Discovery Leader at Pinery Provincial Park

Have you ever been to Pinery Provincial Park?

Take a moment to think of your favourite spot. Is it the viewing platform along Riverside Trail? What about the boardwalk leading to the beach? Have you been to the top of the Nipissing Trail lookout?

Often we admire the beauty of the park’s natural wonders from boardwalks and lookouts, but have you ever wondered who built them?

Today’s blog is all about the man behind the boardwalks: Raymond Sheppard.

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Neys’ relics from the past

Today’s post comes from Katherine Muzyliwsky, a Natural Heritage Education Student at Neys Provincial Park.

Before Neys became a provincial park, it was known as Neys Camp 100. Instead of happy campers on vacation, the park held German prisoners of war during World War II.

After operating as a prisoner of war camp from 1941-1946, the buildings were dismantled in 1953. Since then, artifacts have showed up from discoveries in the park and from generous donations.

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Celebrating 75 Years at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Will Oades, with the Discovery Program staff at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

As we near the end of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park’s 75th anniversary, it’s hard not to look back on all of the rich natural and cultural history that has shaped the park into the place we know and love today.

Full of world-class hiking, biking and ski trails, Sleeping Giant offers a recreational haven for thrill seekers and amateur adventurers alike.

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Under the Volcano Trail at Neys Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Grace McGarry and Meghan Drake, Discovery Program staff at Neys and Mark Puumala, Resident Geologist at the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines.

Neys Provincial Park is a special place. It has so many qualities that stand out when compared to other parks.

One of these qualities is the park’s Under the Volcano Trail. This stunning trail is entirely along the coast of Lake Superior.

This trail has some interesting features waiting to be discovered. Let’s take a look at what makes this trail special.

To start, the name says it all. This trail takes you along the route of what was once an active volcano where the coast of Lake Superior is now!

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Trailblazers of Ontario Parks interpretation

Last year marked Ontario Parks’ 125th anniversary: 125 years of campfires, hikes, nights under the stars, days at the beach, and unforgettable family memories of the countless visitors who use our beautiful park system.

This year marks two other important anniversaries – Rondeau Provincial Park’s 125th anniversary and 75 years of interpretation in Ontario Parks!

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Bush planes in Quetico Provincial Park

Today’s post was written by Jill Legault, Quetico Provincial Park‘s history buff and information specialist.

The ability to fly to otherwise inaccessible locations in Quetico Provincial Park revolutionized park operations in the 1930s.

Suddenly, winter supplies could be flown in to ranger cabins, poacher’s tracks could be seen from the air, forest fire management drastically improved, and American tourism increased.

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