One-Tank Trip for Jan. 4/20
(c) By Jim Fox
Postmedia Network/Sun newspapers
Happy new year – take a hike, it’s good for you.
That’s the message from Ontario Parks for people resolving to get more exercise in the great outdoors.
Parks dotting the province don’t go into hibernation at this time of year as 31 are open and offering snowy fun, including skiing, skating and snowshoeing.
|Taking a hike at MacGregor park. (Ontario Parks photos)|
You can also spend the night in “warm and cozy” heated yurts, cabins and cottages.
Many parks have cross-country ski trails while others have groomed or track-set trails.
There are designated snowshoe trails in many parks and some have skating and tubing, too.
You will also find ski loppets and special events to savour winter.
That stroll in nature comes with “proven benefits, including a lowered risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke,” said Jeff Brown of Ontario Parks.
“Winter in Ontario Parks is quiet, pristine, and absolutely beautiful,” he added.
To stay current on weather and snow conditions on the trails, Ontario Parks posts updates all season at: ontarioparks.com/skireport
Each provincial park submits updates summarizing the conditions within the park and the status of their trails.
A snowy hike at Frontenac Provincial Park.
Lots of fun
Ongoing activities include a step back in time to the year 1900 at Bronte Creek Provincial Park in Oakville.
Visitors can tour the elegantly decorated Spruce Lane farmhouse and barn through Sunday (Jan. 5).
Skating is a cool winter pursuit, gliding through the woods on a pair of blades.
Arrowhead in Muskoka has “Fire and Ice” skating through the woods in the East River campground.
That’s for skating by tiki torch and there’s also cross- country skiing beside the skating trail.
There are warming fires available for toasting hot dogs and marshmallows.
torch-lighted skating at Arrowhead park.
The park often reaches capacity and has to turn away eager visitors, Brown said.
Visitors can check ahead the “guide to winter at Arrowhead” with alternate trip locations at ontarioparks.com/parksblog
Every winter, park staff flood campground loops at Arrowhead and MacGregor Point in Port Elgin to create ice trails.
Lighted skating is available on weekends at MacGregor and overnight stays can be arranged there in a yurt or in an Arrowhead cabin.
Algonquin, Pinery in Grand Bend and Bronte Creek are among others with outdoor rinks and many parks offer skate rentals.
Bronte Creek also has a toboggan hill and five kilometres of cross-country ski trails that loop throughout the park.
Ontario Parks offer groomed snowshoeing trails.
Snowshoeing is one of the fastest-growing winter sports at Ontario Parks.
Among those offering snowshoe rentals are Arrowhead, Killarney, Pinery and Wasaga Beach.
For more information and reservations: ontarioparks.com; 1-888-ONT-PARK
Willow Lake Campground and RV Park in Woodstock has won the Campers Choice Provincial Award for best customer service from Camping in Ontario.
It was acknowledged as “the little campground that can” and in 2017 was named “best small campground in Ontario.”
Operated by Mark and Melanie Jaycock, campers from across Canada, the U.S. and Europe voted for their most-recent award.
“This speaks to the incredible draw our beautiful province of Ontario has for campers from around the world,” they said.
Their motto is: “Helping families create lifetime memories, one campfire at a time.”
The 2020 camping season begins on April 24 with reservations now available at willowlakecampground.ca
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca