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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Several Ontario Parks extend season into the fall; stargazing at Killarney Provincial Park and Canada lynx sighting

   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 31/19
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Some Ontario provincial parks want to squeeze more out of the fleeting days of summer as they extend fall camping.
   There’s no holding back fall after a fast-moving summer and that certain nip in the air.
   Ontario Parks is announcing that six parks will extend their camping season, said spokesman Jeff Brown.
The hills will soon be a kaleidoscope of colours at Bass Lake Provincial Park near Orillia. (Jim Fox photo)
    Visitors to Bass Lake, Mikisew and Rushing River provincial parks will find the gates open until Oct. 15.
   “Those looking to stay at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, Balsam Lake and Sandbanks provincial parks will be able to do so until Oct. 21,” he said.
   They join several other parks that are open late into October or beyond. Check out the list of park dates at ontarioparks.com/operatingdates/2019
   Another harbinger of the changing season is the return of fall colour reports coming soon.
Algonquin park will soon display its vibrant colours with the fall leaf spectacle. (Barbara Fox photo)
    “The fall season is a special time at Ontario Parks as the colours emerge, the cooler weather sets in and the bugs disappear,” Brown said.
   Traditionally, the fall colours are on display from mid-September until mid-October but the timing differs year to year, starting in the north and moving southwards.
   Algonquin Provincial Park puts on a spectacular show of colours and is the busiest park at that time of year.
   The park’s sugar and red maples reach their peak followed by a second colour wave from beech trees, yellow and white birch, trembling and large tooth aspen, red oak and tamarack.
   One of the best spots to view the spectacle is the Highway 60 corridor through the park and on trails such as Hardwood Lookout, Track and Tower, Centennial Ridges and Lookout, and Booth’s Rock.
   The highway’s west gate is near Dwight while the east gate is just west of Whitney.
   When things start to happen, latest images and live webcam views can be seen at algonquinpark.on.ca
   To help visitors find the best times to view the colours, Ontario Parks publishes fall colour updates for all the parks at ontarioparks.com/fallcolour

   Indigenous stargazing 
   A special event takes place on Sept. 27 and 28 at Killarney Provincial Park to celebrate Indigenous astronomy.
Killarney Provincial Park visitors will be stargazing to highlight Indigenous astronomy. (Ontario Parks)
    The park on Georgian Bay holds Stars over Killarney that will mark “our connection to the land and the night sky.”
    Killarney, along with Lake Superior, are the two Ontario Parks officially designated Dark Sky preserves by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
   “Ontario Parks is committed to the protection and preservation of Ontario’s biodiversity and the night skies are an important part of that protection,” Brown said.
   “Alongside our Wiikwemkoong partners at Point Grondine Park, Killarney will amaze visitors with the incredible views of the Milky Way, Jupiter and Saturn through its research-grade telescope,” he added.
View the Milky Way, Jupiter and Saturn at Stars over Killarney. (Ontario Parks)
   Science North will run an astronomy bus tour on Sept. 28from its museum in Sudbury.
   It includes admission, a park visit, tour of Polaris Boulevard with solar viewing and a planetarium show ($60). ontarioparks.com/parksblog/stars-over-killarney-2019

   Smile for the camera
   Ontario Parks’ visitors have recorded more than 100,000 wildlife observations using iNaturalist, a free app that allows users to take and share photos of the flora and fauna they find in nature.
   Users have identified almost 6,000 different species at Ontario Parks including one visitor to Algonquin who managed to snap a photo of a Canada lynx.
“Here kitty” – a rare sighting was made of a Canada lynx in Algonquin Provincial Park. (Ontario Parks)
   It turned out to be one of the first confirmed records of the critter in Algonquin in recent years.
    Visitors are encouraged to help track and protect Ontario’s biodiversity by using the app and follow the project for up-to-date wildlife sightings. inaturalist.ca/projects/ontario-parks


   Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
   For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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