Ice fishing safety all season long

Today’s post comes from year-round multispecies angler and writer Ashley Rae of SheLovesToFish.com.

Brr! Winter weather has hit Ontario hard.

As the ice freezes up across the province, anglers are beginning to venture out onto the hard water for some ice fishing action.

Ice fishing is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors during our long, cold winters. Trust me, when you’re outside hooking fish, winter passes by in a flash!

Thankfully with the wide range of equipment available today, ice fishing doesn’t have to be a chilling experience. In order to enjoy a safe and comfortable season from start to finish, make sure you are prepared by checking out the list below.

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Skiing Quetico’s frozen wilderness

Today’s post comes from Quetico Provincial Park‘s Superintendent Trevor Gibb.

The smell of crisp clean pine and spruce trees. The sight of fresh moose, wolf, otter and hare tracks zigging and zagging across the path in front of you. The chirp of a chickadee. The crunch of the bright white snow and the gentle bite of the winter air on your cheeks.

This is cross-country skiing in a wilderness park. This is what winter is all about.

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Tips from a trail manager: prepping for the perfect cross-country ski day

Ready for a day of cross country skiing? Preparing your skis properly can make a big difference in whether you have a fun outing – or a frustrating one.

Peter Crooks, the trail manager for Kamview Nordic Ski Centre in Thunder Bay, has been cross-country skiing for nearly half a century.

Here are his top 7 tips on how to “read” the snow and use the right waxes for your classic skis:

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Eyes on the skies – January

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This “space” will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

The cold, crisp days of the New Year often reward us with fantastically beautiful nights, rich with bright stars and interesting sights.

Of the 17 brightest stars seen from Ontario, nine of them are visible during winter nights and many interesting objects await the observer who is prepared to brave the cold.

Here are our astronomical highlights for January:

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Where to skate in Ontario Parks

The air is crisp and clean. The evergreens are covered with snow. If you’re lucky – and observant – you might spot a cardinal, a finch, a waxwing or a blue jay as you glide along the ice.

And when the sun goes down, you can huddle around a big bonfire with a cup of hot chocolate and warm up before relacing your skates and heading back out to skate under the stars.

It’s simply magical.

This winter, plan a skating trip to these four provincial parks:

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The beaver in winter

Pop quiz: do beavers hibernate? Today’s post — from Natural Heritage Education Specialist Dave Sproule — answers common questions about beavers.

beaverIf you’re near water, especially in our northern parks, you might see signs of one of the most important animals in the Ontario landscape, one that molds the landscape to its own needs.

But in the depths of winter, with much of Ontario frozen and white, what are these aquatic creatures up to?

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A winter birding challenge

Today’s post is from Justin Peter, who was a Natural Heritage Education Specialist at Algonquin Provincial Park from 2006 through 2013. Now a professional travel planner, Justin is a keen local and worldwide explorer, and looks for birds everywhere he ventures.

It’s tempting to say that winter’s not the best time to look at birds in our Ontario Parks. Many species have migrated south. We’re hesitant to venture into the chilly weather.

But the quieter (and leafless) atmosphere of our parks during winter provides an excellent and unique challenge for our sense of environmental awareness.

Up for the challenge? Here’s a selection of birds (and bird signs) you can look for this winter:

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Healthy resolutions for a new year

The research is clear: spending time in nature improves our physical, mental and social well-being.

Yes. Even when it’s cold outside.

Ready for a healthier 2018? We chatted with parks planner Will Kershaw to find out how he stays fit and healthy during the winter months. These are his top tips:

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January’s digital download

Happy New Year, parks-lovers!

Throughout 2018, we’re sharing a free downloadable graphic. Each month will feature a photo from our 2018 OP125 anniversary calendar! This month features the icy caves of Lake Superior Provincial Park.

We’ve specially sized these images for your computers, tablets, smartphones and Facebook covers.

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How to dress for your winter adventure

What you wear can make all the difference between having an amazing winter adventure or a disappointing – even dangerous — one.

Winter camping enthusiasts say it’s all in proper layering: you burn up energy and get warmer as the day goes on, so being able to shed a layer or two is critical to staying dry, and that’s the key to being comfortable and safe.

We chatted with MEC to cobble together our top 8 rules for safe, comfortable winter-wear:

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