Unoperating parks under-served, day-based jobs inadequate.
by Julie Dupuis, Straight Goods News staff
Editor's note: This is PublicValues.ca Associate Editor Julie Dupuis's departing editorial. For her last issue, she shares her views on protecting public services in light of the Ontario government's latest changes to Ontario Parks programs and operations.
FRENCH RIVER, ON, October 4, 2012: Hitting home hard to a former Ontario Ranger (Esker Lakes Provincial Park, 1996) and current hiking enthusiast, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources recently announced that ten provincial parks will revert to non-operating status while it will also be transforming the overnight Ontario Ranger program to a day-based one.
Formerly the Junior Ranger program, the overnight teen work/camp experience has been running for nearly 60 years. Many remember it as a pivotal time that influenced them greatly. We came away having learned new skills clearing trails, paddling canoes, planting or pruning trees, and making spawning beds. We met new people and were introduced to new hobbies, like jogging or knitting. Everyone received first aid and WHMS training, and had to take turns on kitchen and cleaning duty. The beauty of the program was that it didn't matter what you could already do, but what you were willing to try.