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.