One of my favorite places in the world is Pukaskwa, a national park along the north shore of Lake Superior. My partner and I discovered it while driving across Canada years ago and have made the 12 hour trip from our home in Toronto to visit it several times since. The shore is rugged, the hikes are calm, and the air smells of pine and cedar. The first thing I always notice when we get out of the car stiff and tired when we arrive is how fresh the air is.
We came back again this summer with a friend, eager to share this beautiful landscape, but things were different. The sky was hazy, the air was thick, the sunrises and sunsets were ominous. Raging wildfires in northern Ontario have threatened the park and countless other natural wonders in the region. I reluctantly skipped our traditional full day hike along the coastal hiking trail to protect my lungs. We enjoyed fewer sunsets from our favorite spot, North Beach, due to the haze. I’m worried this will become the norm in the region, as increasingly drier summers make forest fires more frequent.
Have you witnessed the transformative effects of climate change on any of your favorite places? We would love to hear from readers around the world – tell us about a place you hold dear and how it has evolved. We can include your submission in an upcoming project.