Our parks protect some of the most biodiverse places in Ontario, and this biodiversity includes a tremendous number of native plant species.
From giant tulips in the south to small ancient white cedars on the Niagara Escarpment, in the north to carnivorous wildflowers (and the infamous poison ivy almost everywhere) – plants are the foundation of our forest food chains.
Basically, we are full of plants.
Please don’t bring us more.
Leave your plants in their bed
Non-native plants do not fit into our ecosystems.
They do not provide food for plant-eating insects (which in turn feed bats, birds, fish and other wildlife). They can crowd out wildflowers and change soil chemistry so that native plants cannot grow.
Exotic plants are a major threat to our ecosystems and our staff spend many hours working to control them each year. Even with control efforts, many problem species are now so widespread that we will probably never be rid of them.
Keep invasive species at bay
In addition to the sneaky ways exotic plants enter our parks, it’s important that we don’t overlook the obvious.
Every time someone brings a potted plant to decorate their campsite, or plants a non-native species in their cabin garden, they are distracting pollinators from their important job of pollinating native plants.
Worse yet, many garden plants are highly invasive, such as English ivy and Japanese barberry.
Even if the plant itself is not invasive, the soil in which it emerged could be a Trojan horse, harboring thousands of tiny seeds waiting to colonize a new park.
No hay please
Unless they are on the menu, even dead plants can cause problems.
Straw or hay bales used as decoration can be full of fast-growing seeds, so don’t take them into natural areas.
Thatch appears most frequently in the fall, when campers decorate their sites for Halloween or Thanksgiving. Keep it eco-friendly by leaving the haybales at home.
Keep our wild spaces wild
As tempting as it may be to decorate your campsite with a pot of flowers or plant a hosta outside your cabin, it’s best to enjoy the greenery already growing around you!
Leave other plants at home and enjoy the natural boost our natural ecosystems can provide when allowed to do what they do best.