Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
staff in canoe

Alison Lake or “Lakie” is an environmentalist from our Northeast area and has earned a reputation as a passionate promoter of ecological integrity.

She has an infectious love of the natural world and is rarely seen without her “containers” (binoculars) around her neck.

staff looking at the forest by helicopter

At last count, he has visited more than 100 provincial parks, exploring as far south as Fish Point Provincial Park and paddling as far north as Wabakimi Provincial Park.

After an early career in forestry, “Lakie” joined Ontario Parks and for the past 18 years has worked on:

She spent many years as part of the Discovery program and also held positions as assistant park superintendent, chief park naturalist, and park biologist before becoming an ecologist in the northeast area.

Do you remember the first provincial park you visited?

Killbear Provincial Park. My family had just immigrated to Canada from Australia and I discovered that the desolation of a Canadian winter is more than made up for by a summer in Georgian Bay.

pine at sunset

Killbear marked my starting point for what a Canadian landscape could be.

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What is your favorite lake to paddle in Ontario parks?

Lake Huron, anywhere in Georgian Bay.

It’s huge and challenging, has big exciting waters, big waves and when that’s too much there are thousands of interesting islands and coves to explore and provide calm waters on windy days.

staff paddling canoe

I love the challenge of sailing through thousands of islands, especially through the delta of French River Provincial Park.

What is your favorite nature sound?

The sound of the wind blowing through White Pines.

Cluster of old pine trees with blue sky in background.

What is your favorite smell in nature?

I love the smell of the hot sun on the pine needles, there is nothing like it.

What is one thing you wish all park visitors knew?

I wish visitors knew how much more you can see when you are quiet and still.

turtle on log

I have learned more by waiting and watching to see what a creature does than by picking it up and interrupting its day.

What makes you smile the most when you spend time in nature?

I always smile when I hear the first common loon of spring return from a winter away on the coast.

If someone has never been to a provincial park before, which one would you encourage them to visit first?

Visit the park that is closest to you and, if you can, start visiting a different one each time.

hiking route

All of our protected places have something amazing that they were created to protect. I’m trying to make my way by visiting as many Ontario Provincial Parks as I can. I’m already over 100 and I can’t wait to see the next one!

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What is your favorite camping food?

Bannock is wrapped around the end of a stick and cooked over a fire, then rolled in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon while hot.

Eat it off the stick!