Parks Ontario is hoping to educate visitors about the impact they have on the environment.

In 2020, places like Algonquin Park had thousands of extra visitors pass through their gates. Parks Ontario Spokesperson Jeff Brown says they saw an increase in certain kinds of behaviours that degrade the user experience. The top concern was the litter that was left at the campsites, but there was also a rash of other behaviours that degraded the parks. Brown says these included things like off-trail exploration, picking flowers, disturbing objects that could be an animal’s home and feeding wildlife.

He explains that while individually these actions make little impact but when multiplied over thousands of visitors, the natural environment suffers.

With this in mind, Parks Ontario has put out a campaign together with Parks Canada, that Brown hopes will unite park visitors and their love of the mental, physical and environmental benefits they bring. They want park-goers to practice their best camping practices including planning ahead and coming prepared, checking info about the park before you head out, and picking up after yourself. They also ask people to respect nature by staying on designated trails, not feeding wildlife and leaving natural objects in their place.

They also remind visitors to be kind and courteous, as staff is working hard to bring the best experience possible to Ontario park visitors.

Written by Trevor Smith-Millar