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Thursday, May 15, 2014

May is for Moose-spotting at Ontario Parks

Spring has finally arrived at Ontario Parks. Here are five favourite visitor activities to celebrate the season:
 
Spot a moose
Moose are most likely to be spotted in spring. Winter often leaves these mammals salt-depleted and they're attracted to roadside ditches where salty water collects from winter road maintenance. Moose also like to eat the roots on water lilies found in the salty water. Ontario has close to 105,000 moose so there are plenty of Ontario Parks to try your luck at moose-spotting but be careful. Moose are a major road hazard, especially in spring. This past Moose Madness post written by park biologist, Brad Steinberg, has more moose-spotting tips, http://www.parkreports.com/parksblog/?p=2661
 
Watch for turtles
June is also turtle-watching season. That's largely because of where many turtles lay their eggs. Unfortunately, Ontario roads are one of their favourite nesting grounds due to warmth, good drainage and sandy surroundings. High road mortality along with loss of habitat and poachers have put 3/4 of Ontario's reptiles and amphibians at risk. Many Ontario Parks host annual reptile-themed events to encourage public conservation efforts. Park visitors can also participate in a unique Ontario citizen science survey to aid conservation. Details are in this Park Blog post, http://www.parkreports.com/parksblog/?p=5970
 
Hear Ontario's birds sing
Ontario's songbird nursery is its boreal forests which include many Ontario Parks. This is where you hear songbird species defend their territories. Ontario Parks attract birdwatchers from around the world. Further south, and named as one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals, the annual Huron Fringe Birding Festival at MacGregor Point Provincial Park on Lake Huron has become so popular that pre-registration is required. It takes place on the two weekends following the May Victoria Day long weekend. Mornings are filled with guided hikes. Afternoons include more hikes and workshops on bird identification and photography.  http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/huron-fringe-birding-festival 
 
Fish for trout
Visitors love to fish at Ontario Parks where catch and release conservation is encouraged. Trout bite in May when lake temperatures are still cold. Visitors can borrow fishing rods and tackle at many Ontario Parks through a program known as Tackle Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources lists the latest fishing regulations and where to get an Ontario fishing licence which you must have to fish in Ontario, http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/LetsFish/Publication/STEL02_163615.html  If you're looking for a new fishing spot, try one of these provincial parks in Northeastern Ontario, http://www.parkreports.com/parksblog/?p=3505

Take a walk on the wild side
Wildflowers are all the rage every spring in Ontario Parks. Ontario's provincial flower, the trillium, is one of the flowers in bloom. Ferris Provincial Park near Campbellford, Earl Rowe near Alliston and Bronte Creek Provincial Park near Oakville, are noted trillium hot spots. Pink Lady Slippers, also called Moccasin flowers are often viewed in Killarney and Mississagi Provincial Parks and Lake Superior Provincial Park's alpines are very cool (figuratively and literally). This Park Blog post takes you to Ontario Parks with spectacular wildflower viewing. Just a reminder to enjoy the views, but please don’t pick wildflowers in Ontario Parks. They are protected! To maintain parks as natural settings, the removal of vegetation, wildlife and natural features is prohibited.

Scheduled park spring events are posted on Ontario Parks' Calendar of Events at http://www.ontarioparks.com/events
 

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