Spring paddling safety

Itching for ice out? We certainly are.

But spring weather can be fickle. Hitting the lake too early, failing to respect weather conditions or paddling beyond your skill level isn’t just risky — it’s downright dangerous.

We chatted with Paul Smith, past park superintendent of Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, to get some top do’s and don’ts for spring paddling safety:

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Backcountry basics: know your limits

You’ve heard about this fantastic new adventure through a friend, route guide, or Instagram. It looks kind of tough, and you’re pretty new to the whole backcountry thing.

Still, you don’t want to miss out, so you decide to go for it.

But as you start planning, there’s a little voice wondering if this is really the best idea.

Listen to that voice.

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Five friends, five departments, one park

Today’s post comes from Zuzanna, Alysa, Lyle, Jackson, and Emily: five friends who applied to Ontario Parks across the province and by a twist of fate, all got jobs at the same provincial park, 1,500 km (or 16 hours) from home!

Are you interested in joining us for the 2024 summer season? Applications are now open!

In early January of last year, we applied to work at parks across the province. Being friends with connections in southern Ontario, we were yearning for seasonal jobs characterized by adventure and wilderness.

After numerous interviews and phone calls, one by one we received job offers from the same park: Quetico Provincial Park.

Once he reviewed our resumes and interviews, our senior operations technician discovered the friendships and previous connections that we had to one another.

Upon consideration of our unique backgrounds, he placed us in distinct departments to align with our individual strengths.

We became five friends in five departments, all at the same provincial park.

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6 tips for winter camping at Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park

So you’re no stranger to camping but want a new adventure? Or maybe you’ve invested some money in winter camping gear?

Congratulations! Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park offers the perfect opportunity for those looking to get into winter camping.

Just a couple hours outside of the GTA and three hours west of Ottawa, any weekend warrior looking for a new adventure will hear this park calling their name.

Here’s everything you need to know to make your foray into winter camping at Kawartha Highlands memorable, safe, and successful:

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10 ways to enjoy winter at Quetico

Today’s post comes from Quetico Provincial Park Superintendent Trevor Gibb.

Quetico is primarily known for its world class backcountry canoeing opportunities.

However, once the lakes freeze and snow blankets the forest, the park transforms into a wilderness winter wonderland.

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Master Chef: Ontario Parks backcountry edition

Today’s post comes from Will Oades, Discovery Program Educator
at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

Eating in the backcountry should be no different than eating at home!

Well-planned and prepared backcountry meals can taste amazing, satisfy your hunger, and foster conversations about your long day of hiking or paddling.

Tasty outdoor meals are a simple comfort fix that can exponentially enhance your backcountry experience.

There are many meal options available, however, there are three important things to consider when developing your meal plan: caloric content, size/weight, and taste.

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Fall paddling at Restoule

Imagine. 

You put your canoe or kayak into the lake. The water is smooth and reflective. The sky’s a deep, dark blue, and the clouds are brilliant white. The day is sunny, cool and crisp, and the trees that cover the hills around you…well, they’re a stunning display of red, orange, and yellow.

There’s something special about paddling in Ontario’s provincial parks in the fall, particularly secluded Restoule Provincial Park.

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There and back again: a Quetico tale

Today’s blog comes from Quetico Provincial Park Canoe Route Technician Gavin Morito-Karn.

In 2019, I spent my summer paddling across a large chunk of the vastness of one of Canada’s waterways.

Brigitte Champaigne-Klassen (also a past member of Quetico’s staff) and I travelled from Cochrane, Alberta (just west of Calgary) to Nym Lake on the border of Quetico, approximately a 4,500 km journey.

The majority of those days were spent on unfamiliar waters that cut through prairie fields and man-made lakes.

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Say “no” to axe-idents

You’ve just paddled your heart out to get to your campsite. You put on your flannel and grab your axe to prepare your campfire.

Something about being in the wilderness that brings out our inner woodsperson.

We know the feeling.

However, for the preservation of your toes, please read this before you swing that axe!

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7 desserts for your next backcountry trip

Today’s post comes from Jill Sorensen, Quetico Provincial Park’s biggest sweet tooth.

Celebrating a birthday or anniversary while on your backcountry camping trip?

Here are some of my favourite trail treats to make your day extra special.

Even if there’s no occasion, food is such an important part of any trip and a total morale booster after long days. Why not add some sweetness to your next adventure?

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