What it’s like to work the front gate at a provincial park

Our front gate staff are frontline heroes of park operations.

(If you’ve ever checked in at a bustling park on a busy Friday afternoon, you know exactly what we’re talking about!)

Gate staff work extremely hard to get you into the park as quickly as possible, all while balancing many priorities in a hectic environment.

Here are five things they’d like you to know about working in the gatehouse:

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Loons are like campers — they love their park!

`In today’s post, Kettle Lakes Provincial Park‘s senior park naturalist Sarah Wiebe shows us that loons and campers aren’t so different!

Just like many families, Common Loons choose Kettle Lakes as the place to stay with their family in the summer.

You could say that loon families love parks as much as we do!

Like many visitors, I grew up visiting parks, spending every summer of my childhood exploring shorelines and lakes.

I would spend hours making sandcastles at Arrowhead Provincial Park, splashing in the water at Balsam Lake Provincial Park, going fishing in The Massasauga Provincial Park, and paddling through Algonquin Provincial Park.

I can easily say that I love parks.

As I was watching a family of loons return to the lake near our staff house at Kettle Lakes this spring, it got me thinking about how loons like to spend their summers in Ontario Parks, too!

By observing the loons, I’ve noticed that loons love parks as much we do.

Continue reading Loons are like campers — they love their park!

Explore nature with our Discovery program!

The Ontario Parks Discovery team is hard at work coming up with creative ways to connect visitors with the special stories and values protected in our parks.

If you visit any of the parks offering Discovery programming, you may connect with Discovery staff along a trail, as they rove through the campground, at a drop-in program, in a Visitor Centre, or at a scheduled program.

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Turtles: the ultimate survivors

In today’s post, Discovery Leader Olivia Bennett discusses turtles’ impact on Grundy Lake Provincial Park — and vice versa!

When I first started working at Grundy Lake, I was talking turtles with our park superintendent when someone asked, “Why do you care so much about turtles here?”

The answer is simple: while the park boasts a healthy turtle population and quality habitat, other areas are not so lucky.

This is only the beginning of why we should all care about turtles.

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The Daily Dip at Lake Superior Provincial Park

Today’s blog comes from Kaitlyn Plastino, Discovery Interpreter at Lake Superior Provincial Park

As park staff living and working along the Lake Superior coastline, we naturally get a lot of questions about the water: “So how cold is it here anyway?” and “Is it warm enough to swim yet?”

The short answer we give visitors is: “If you aren’t used to the water, it’s probably too cold…but I’ve been swimming since May, so it’s warm enough for me!”

Here at Lake Superior Provincial Park, we have a tradition: the Daily Dip.

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Ontario Parks featured in CSA-nominated videos!

Did you know our parks, moths, and Discovery staff were featured in an episode of TVOKids Leo’s Pollinators Explorer Club?


The series was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Children’s or Youth Non-Fiction Program or Series!

These awards are the Canadian equivalent to the Emmy Awards.

We caught up with our three Ontario Parks stars featured in this episode for an exclusive interview to learn more about their experience:

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Shortcuts? More like shore cuts!

Today’s post comes from Mikhaila Lafleur-Weidhaas, a park warden at Pancake Bay Provincial Park.

Two beach trails diverged at a dune, one well-travelled and clear — the other a shortcut. Do you take “the road most travelled?”

The coastal shores of Lake Superior, with its sand beaches and Caribbean blue water, have been a popular attraction to thousands, from nomadic voyagers to people looking for paradise close to home.

However, as people run to Ontario’s beaches looking for a staycation, more pressure is being placed on our sandy shores.

This increased pressure can cause a decline of these dynamic and rare freshwater coastal dune ecosystems.

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The joy of answering interesting questions

In our “Behind the Scenes” series, Discovery Program staff across the province share a backstage glimpse of their favourite programs and projects. Today’s post comes from Anna Scuhr, Discovery Program staff member at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

Many joys come along with being an Ontario Parks’ Discovery Guide. We work in some of Ontario’s most beautiful places, with coworkers who share our passions, and a job that is never dull.

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