Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
Go for a walk!  - Parks Blog

Today’s blog was written by Discovery Program Project Coordinator Jessica Stillman.

We’re not trying to be rude; We really want you to take a hike!

On Wednesday, August 9, 2023, Discovery staff across the province encourage everyone to explore our provincial park system by taking a hike.

But why?

Guided hikes have a long history within Ontario parks. They are reputed to be the spark that started the Discovery Program, which now reaches more than 1 million visitors each year.

Discovery programs, such as guided walks, are one of the many ways Discovery staff share a park’s natural and cultural stories. These stories transcend time and space, and trails are a great way to explore them!

group touring the mineThe Silver Queen Mine Trail, Murphys Point Provincial Park

Trails can be anything we want them to be. A quiet time for self-reflection, an artist’s inspiration, an opportunity to reconcile with our past and look to the future and see what our legacy will be.

Discovery staff and our park trails help visitors explore and create deeper connections to Ontario’s heritage, one step at a time.

What is walking day?

It’s an opportunity!

An opportunity for exploration, discovery, wonder and awe.

group walking along the boardwalkWasaga Beach Provincial Park

Whether along a trail with our expert Discovery staff or on your own with one of our amazing Discovery products, it’s a chance to enjoy the beauty of Ontario’s parks.

How can I participate?

It’s simple: go for a walk!

We’d love it if you could join our Discovery staff for a hike, which is why over 75 provincial parks will be offering hiking programs on Wednesday, August 9!

What types of programs do these parks offer?

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Guided walks

Many of our parks will offer a guided walk led by one of the park’s amazing Discovery staff members.

staff showing the geological feature of the visitorBig Bend Lookout, Arrowhead Provincial Park

While the theme of the programs will vary, there are a few things that are guaranteed to be the same no matter which guided walking program you attend:

  • World class interpretation – No, our Discovery staff will not interpret any language for you, but will speak on behalf of the park’s natural and cultural history.
  • Unique stories – Like all Discovery programs, these guided walks are designed to share stories with you in meaningful and engaging ways that will leave you wanting to know more.
  • Breathtaking views – Discovery staff know the best places to stop along a trail. Let them share their favorite trail views with you!
  • Memories – stimulating, fun, inspiring and engaging; Discovery programs are what memories are made of.
  • From sunset strolls to evening hikes, the parks are putting their best foot forward for Hike Day and they want you to put on some walking shoes to do the same.

    discovery staff standing on a rockLally Homestead Trail, Murphys Point Provincial Park

    look at each one park events calendarCheck program listings at the park or talk to staff for details on programs offered.

    Discovery Hike Exploration Stations

    Meet one of our experienced Discovery guides at a Discovery Hike exploration station.

    Lace up your hiking shoes and stop by the Discovery table for tips and tools to explore a hiking trail at your own pace. Explore using your senses – who knows what magical things you’ll discover?

    boy writing in activity book

    These drop-in programs are self-paced and provide an easy way for any age to explore a new side of the park.

    Don’t forget to get a free discovery activity book for additional hands-on exploration activities.

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    Self-guided hiking

    Can’t make it to a show on August 9? Don’t worry, Ontario Parks has over 2,000 km of trails across the province where you can plan a self-guided hiking adventure.

    Many of which have Discovery products, such as trail guides and interpretive panels to help you delve deeper into the trail’s heritage.

    visitor reading about fossilsCraigleith Provincial Park

    The only question is which path will you take?

    For younger visitors, some trails have a historical route. These are signs or trail posts with pages of a story that you interact with as you walk the trail. Story walks are fun and educational activities that promote literacy, learning, and outdoor play – perfect for a hike!

    family looking at interpretive signTulip Tree Trail, Rondeau Provincial Park

    Don’t forget to pack your Discovery activity book or pick one up at the park’s main office.

    Filled with lots of great tips and activities to encourage exploration, these FREE books turn any trail into a place of discovery!

    So what are you doing on August 9?

    We hope you said, “taking a hike!”

    We know you can go on a hike any day, but why not choose to go on a hike with thousands of visitors from all over the province?

    On the little swamp trailTiny Bog Trail, White Lake Provincial Park

    How cool would it be to say you were part of the largest group of visitors to Ontario parks, farthest apart (in an entire province), all hiking on the same day?

    Our Discovery team is excited to share the trails and stories of Ontario with you.

    Happy hiking everyone!

    Take a Hike Day is an initiative presented by the Discovery Program.

    It’s another great way to participate in the Healthy Parks Healthy People (HPHP) program at Ontario Parks during the annual 30×30 Nature Challenge, where we encourage Ontarians to make time in nature part of their daily routines by dedicating 30 minutes per day. day outdoors for 30 days during the month of August.

    For more information about Healthy Parks Healthy People at Ontario Parks, Visit our website.