Forever protected: why Westmeath belongs

Our “Forever protected” series shares why each and every one belongs in Ontario Parks. In today’s post, Biologist Lauren Trute tells us Westmeath’s story.

Westmeath Provincial Park, located approximately 15 km from the City of Pembroke, is one of the most ecologically diverse provincial parks in Renfrew County.

This 610 ha park sits on the shore of the mighty Ottawa River, and offers a glimpse into the glacial history of the Ottawa Valley. This site was also likely an important stopover area for Indigenous peoples and fur traders travelling along the waterway.

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Dynamic dunes at Pinery

Today’s post comes from Alistair MacKenzie, our Supervisor of Natural Heritage Education and Resource Management at Pinery Provincial Park.

In a province dominated by the rock of the Canadian Shield, sand is rare. If we combined all of Ontario’s coastal sand dunes together, they would only make up less than 0.5% of our province’s land.

We can thank a simple fact of nature for the creation of Pinery Provincial Park and its rare dunes: namely, that differences in temperature between the air over Lake Huron and the adjacent landmass create an on-shore breeze.

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Rolling out the red carpet at Pinery

Today’s story comes from Alistair MacKenzie, Natural Heritage Education and Resource Management Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park.

I started out my career saving lives.  It was a hard job. Working conditions were awful. I was constantly being asked to bend and twist to what someone else needed me to do. I was dragged through the mud and poked with sticks, even burned with hot embers.

Despite these hardships, I loved aspects of the work, but eventually I just couldn’t keep up, and they pulled me back to base to run me through some tests. Sadly, I failed, and they unceremoniously stripped me of my field approvals and cast me aside.

I thought it was all over, until they boxed me up and shipped me to Pinery Provincial Park.

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