We don’t want to discourage children from finding magic in nature.
But we are also like the Lorax; we need to speak up for the trees (and all the other critters that live in provincial parks).
Children sleep better, have a longer attention span, and feel more creative when they spend time in green spaces. So getting outdoors is a great idea!
Kids also love building forts. However, this outdoor hobby can harm nature.
The defects of the strong
Sticks and logs are important habitat for small mammals, salamanders, snakes, insects and many other species. These animals are easily caught by predators when they lose their hiding places.
Mosses and fungi are an important part of the nutrient cycle and many depend on the moist wood of the forest floor to grow.
Scraping branches or leaves for your fort can uproot seedlings or small plants.
Many species, like the striking and endangered Five-lined Skink, require sticks and logs as nesting sites.
Sometimes fort builders get carried away and cut or break branches from live trees. This is illegal in protected areas such as provincial parks and can damage or kill trees.
And not only nature can be harmed.
Some forts are large and use large logs, which could roll or fall and injure someone.
Don’t be a stick in the mud
We get it: strong guys are fun. If you can’t imagine your outdoor adventures without forts, here are some ideas that are better for nature:
- Anything can be a forte if you use your imagination! Find a place that is naturally fun and doesn’t require you to move sticks or logs. A hideaway under the branches of a pine tree is a great, nature-friendly option.
- Bring a blanket! We all know that blanket forts are just as fun as stick forts. Why not set up something wonderful (carefully without damaging any trees) and let the imaginative play begin?
- If you are still moving or altering the clubs, we ask that you do your best to put them back as you found them when you are finished. This will give all the stick-loving creatures a chance to enjoy them too.
leave no trace
One of the best ways to protect nature in provincial parks is to leave no trace. This means that when you pack up and leave, no one can know that you were ever there.
When we protect park habitat, all visitors (and the many species that live in parks) can enjoy the views and experiences that healthy ecosystems provide. That’s why most of us want to spend time in nature!
Keeping the clubs on the ground is a great start. Other activities to avoid include moving or stacking stones, leaving painted stones, removing driftwood, or picking flowers.
Building a fort or picking some flowers may seem harmless. But imagine if all of our annual visitors did the same. The damage would be devastating.
Be a park protector
We love the passion park visitors have for enjoying time outdoors and appreciating nature.
Part of loving parks includes protecting them!
The next time you spend time in a local provincial park, remember the ways your actions can help protect our beautiful natural spaces and all the species that depend on them.