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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Five easy ways to get out and about to enjoy spring in Ontario

   One-Tank Trip for April 26/14
   (c)  By Jim Fox

   With the onset of warmer weather, it’s time to get out and about.
   Ontario Parks offers “five easy steps” to escape from the long, cold winter while Orillia is the place for frozen fish.

   Get close to nature
   Camp like a pro by signing up for the Ontario Parks’ Learn to Camp program.
Learning how to camp like a pro at the innovative program offered by Ontario Parks. (Ontario Parks photo)
   “This hands-on training is exactly what new campers look for in their first camping experience,” said program coordinator Jeff Brown.
   Learn to Camp teaches newbies how to pitch a tent, build a campfire safely and cook on a camp stove.
   Park staff members lead the overnight experiences, with all camping and cooking equipment provided.
   Participants just need to bring along their own food and bedding and choose between one night or two in the wilds.
  The program, offered between June and September, is available at Bronte Creek, Darlington, Earl Rowe, Emily, Grundy Lake, Murphys Point, Selkirk, Sibbald Point and Six Mile Lake provincial parks.
   The fee is $80 for a group of up to six people and $123.75 for two nights, plus tax.
   It’s a good thing as the program was named Innovator of the Year by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario last year. Book early at ontarioparks.com/learntocamp

   Fish like a pro
   Ontario Parks has a suggestion for the “perfect” gift for someone who loves to fish.
   It’s joining one of three summer trout fishing workshops in Algonquin Provincial Park lead by Greg Betteridge of the Algonquin Fisheries Assessment Unit.
   Presented by the Friends of Algonquin Park, 12 participants in each session will learn about the basic equipment required for trout fishing and how to use it before heading out in search of the park’s two trout species.
   As home to one of the world’s best trout fisheries, “many anglers familiar with warm water fisheries to the south find Algonquin's brook and lake trout a mystery” and end up in a frustrating fishing situation, Betteridge said. Details: algonquinpark.on.ca; (613) 637-2828, Ext. 236

   Meet Ontario's natural world
   “Connect kids to nature and they become tomorrow’s conservationists,” said Lori Waldbrook of Ontario Parks.
   Last year, 37,000 youngsters participated in Natural Heritage Education programs at Ontario Parks.
   “These entertaining, hands-on activities led by park staff introduce kids to Ontario’s natural world: one that is home to 81 species of mammals, 483 bird species, 26 species of amphibians, 27 reptile species and 154 freshwater fish species.”
   More than 40 provincial parks feature these free program activities every summer.

   Rent a cabin, yurt or . . .
   Yurts (tent-like structures), cabins, heritage houses, cottages and even lodges can be rented at Ontario Parks.
   Arrowhead Provincial Park near Huntsville added four new cabins and yurts late last year.
   As well, Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron and Murphys Point in Eastern Ontario have new yurts and cabins.
   A different type of camping experience is in a yurt, cabin or cottage. (Ontario Parks photo)
   Additional accommodations are planned for more parks this season, Waldbrook said.
   For a list of what’s available to book: ontarioparks.com/roofedaccommodation

   Take the Parkbus
   Forget traffic hassles and travel to that wilderness getaway on the Parkbus.
   It travels to and from Algonquin, French River, Grundy Lake and Killarney parks – and new this year to Six Mile Lake Provincial Park – from Toronto, as well as Algonquin to/from Ottawa.
   Also new are trips to Georgian Bay Islands and Bruce Peninsula National Parks.
   The round-trip fare to Algonquin is $85, adults; $77, students/seniors (60 plus); and $43, children, two to 12. parkbus.ca; 1-800-928-7101

   Go fish!
   This year’s 33rd annual Orillia Perch Festival got off to a chilly start on ice-clogged Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching.
   With warmer weather over the past week, open water has finally made the perch – and those fishing for them – more active.
Anglers jam the popular fishing area called the Narrows between Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching.
   The live-release fishing derby, running until May 10, features about 70 tagged perch worth $500 each along with thousands of dollars in daily, weekly and grand prize draws, along with product prizes.

   The first open water has appeared at the Narrows between the two lakes, a popular spot near the fishing headquarters at Tudhope Park on Atherley Road.

   Registration is $20 for adults and $5 for children to age 16.

   Details from the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce: orillia.com/index.php?id=22; 1-888-326-4424


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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