View of the lake at Sleeping Giant with cloudy, blue sky

Tree-mendous times at the Giant

This post comes to us from Lesley Ng, Natural Heritage Education Leader at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Recently, park staff removed three outhouses from Marie Louise Lake Campground, leaving a blank footprint.

With funds available for Ontario Parks 125th anniversary stewardship initiatives, Sleeping Giant submitted a proposal to plant a few more trees this season.

Why plant trees?

Planting trees stabilizes the soil, assists with the succession of native tree species in high-use areas, provides habitat for wildlife, and naturalizes the campground site.

Shrubs in pots sit on the ground with parks staff posing with a shovel in the top left corner

The Marie Louise Lake Campground already has a good mixture of trees and shrubs, including White Birch, Balsam Fir, White Spruce, and Mountain Maple, to name a few.

A hare turned away on dirt
One of the benefits of this project is to create habitat for species that inhabit Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Pictured here is a Snowshoe Hare

The two native tree species chosen for the planting were White Spruce and Eastern White Pine. Several trees were purchased from local nurseries (such as Pine View Nurseries of Kakabeka Falls) and the remaining were donated by Hills Greenhouses in Murillo.

We asked and they came

The park invited two local school groups from Thunder Bay to help us plant the trees. The first group of students, teachers and volunteers came to us from Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School.

This group of enthusiastic adventurers came for the tree planting and also went hiking, exploring the park and the surrounding area.

Young guy in blue jacket, planting a white pine seedling

The second group of students came to us from a physical education grade nine class at Churchill High School. We put the students to work and we have to say, they did a wonderful job!

Each student had the opportunity to choose a tree and shovel, and get their hands dirty. The physical education class from Churchill also took the unique approach of naming each of the trees they planted.

Feeling the gratitude

The planting was a wonderful opportunity to have the students in our nearby community of Thunder Bay come out to Sleeping Giant. Getting the public involved with park resource management initiatives is a great way to connect the people to the park.

Backside of a fox on the road with trees in the background

We are grateful to the students, teachers and volunteers for making the time to visit the Giant and to participate in our OP125 tree planting project.

Their efforts will benefit the ecological integrity of the park — and increase visitor enjoyment — for many years to come.

To help celebrate Ontario Parks’ 125th anniversary, parks across the province are hosting 13 stewardship programs to help protect biodiversity in provincial parks.