MacGregor Point is an absolutely wonderful place to explore your interest in the natural world! Looking for an identification guide or binoculars while you're out on the trail? Stop by the Visitor Centre before you head out to borrow some from our Camper's Library, and chat with our helpful staff about what wildflowers or animals have been seen recently in the park!
Poison Ivy varies greatly in its appearance, but what you should notice immediately is the pattern of the leaves: each lead is composed of three leaflets. The central leaflet has a longer stalk than the two-side leaflets. Leaf edges will vary from being completely smooth to having randomly jagged teeth. Small clusters of whitish green flowers appear in June and early July. Dull white berries form in mid-July. Patches usually grow in ankle high plants, but certain varieties can grow as a tree-climbing vine reaching heights of 6 to 10 meters or as a low shrub.
Poison Ivy grows at the edges of meadows where it mixes with surrounding grasses and small shrubs. It also grows in open forested areas, river banks, roadsides and even beaches.
Poison Ivy is wide spread because the plant’s berries provide food for birds which then deposit the undigested seeds in their droppings. The leaves, roots, stems, flowers and berries all contain urishiol oil, which, if it contacts the skin, can result in an itchy red rash. Oil is also easily transferred from boots, clothing, camping fear and pet’s fur. Animals, however, are not affected by poison ivy.
Just like use, bears love hotdogs roasted over a campfire. But they will also chow down on candy wrappers, fish bait and toothpaste. Encourage campers to clean their cooking equipment and secure food, garbage, and toiletries away from their tent. For more information on camping and bears, visit: www.ontario.ca/bearwise
Raccoons are incredibly intelligent, and as a result they are one of the few animals that has done well despite the human-induced changes to natural environments. Raccoons have an omnivorous diet allowing them to eat virtually anything they can lay their paws on. With the many visitors that come To MacGregor Point each year, Raccoons have little difficulty in finding delectable entrees around campsites and garbage receptacles to supplement or replace their natural diet.
Making food available to Raccoons has many consequences, here are just a few reasons why we should all do our part to ensure these animals and others remain wild:
- Raccoons will continue to visit and create problems for the next family to camp on a site where they have found food
- Despite their intelligence, many raccoons fail to return to their natural diet after the campers leave for the season. Many will starve
- Wild animals can behave unpredictably when frightened. Some may even carry disease, so it’s wise to keep your distance
- Under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, feeding wildlife is prohibited and can result in fines of up to $155
In order to keep the wildlife wild:
Do not leave food out unsupervised on your campsite/picnic area. Put all food (and other smelly products like toothpaste and shampoo) away in the trunk of your car when it is not being used, and dispose of garbage appropriately in designated park garbage recepticles.
Porcupines are shy, slow-moving creatures that are attracted to salt and other mineral. They have been known to chew tiers and car hoses for their natural mineral content and / or road salt residue. Another favourite snack is the glue used to make plywood. If you notice a porcupine around your vehicle, keep a safe distance and scare it away by making noise. Through porcupine are covered in protective quills they cannot throw their quills at you. Once the porcupine has moved away from your campsite, inspect your vehicle for damage. Take special care to inspect your brake lines.
Ticks and Lyme Disease
There are many different species of ticks and not all of them carry Lyme disease. The most common tick you may encounter is the American Dog tick, which does not carry Lyme disease. The only tick that carries Lyme disease in Ontario is the Blacklegged (Deer) Tick. Both ticks can be found in wooded areas or tall grass habitats. In Ontario, Blacklegged ticks are more commonly found in rural area along the north shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River. Blacklegged ticks are known to fee on migratory birds and as a result they can be transported throughout the province. Therefore, it’s possible to encounter Blacklegged Ticks almost anywhere in the province.
Ticks feed slowly, and an infected tick must feed on a persona for at least 24 hours in order to infect them with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Because of this delay, a prompt detection and removal method of is one of the key methods of preventing Lyme disease. If you become infected from a tck bite, symptoms usually begin within 1-2 weeks, but can take as long as one month to begin.
Symptoms include: bulls-eye rash that can develop anywhere on the body; however, this rash may not occur in all cases. Early symptoms of Lyme disease can include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches and stiff neck, jaw pain, and sore muscles. If untreated problems with the heart, nervous systems, and joints can occurs months of ears later. Lyme disease is early treated in the early states so seek medical attention if you feel unwell.
When you are out in tick habitat you can better protect yourself by taking a few precautions:
- Wear long sleeves and tuck your pants into your socks
- War light coloured clothing so you can detect ricks before they attach
- Use insect repellent containing “Deet” (please follow manufacturer’s directions). Apply it to your skin and outer clothing.
- Conduct a tick check. Look on your clothes, body and pets. Pay close attention to your groin, scalp and armpits.
For more information please consult the Public Health Agency of Canada website: www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/disease/lyme.aspx