REQUEST FOR SUPPORT TO SAVE PRESQU'ILE PROVINCIAL PARK
Donald A. Davis
donald.davis at utoronto.ca
Tue Sep 15 03:26:41 EDT 1998
September 15, 1998
PLEASE HELP PRESERVE AND PROTECT PRESQU'ILE PROVINCIAL PARK - YOUR
HELP AND SUPPORT IS REQUESTED
Presqu'ile Provincial Park is Ontario's 5th oldest and 6th most heavily
used provincial park. It is an ecological gem. A 920 hectare peninsula
consisting of a long sand tombolo joining a limestone island to the
mainland. It is renowned for its biodiversity. Besides its importance
for monarch butterflies and others (over 52 species), over 319 species
of birds have been seen here. The two islands - Gull and High Bluff -
are one of the largest colonial waterbird nesting sites on the Great
Lakes. In the park are found provincially and nationally rare plant
species. The park also offers outstanding camping and recreational
opportunities and has a remarkable cultural history. The University of
Waterloo has a research station in the park.
Since 1979, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has been trying to
finalize a management plan, that would preserve and protect the park,
establish what activities are appropriate in the park and establish a 20
year plan for the protection of the park. However, the plan has started
and stopped over many years because the politicians are reluctant about
making a decision about the annual waterfowl hunt - a most unpopular
park activity and politically-sensitive issue.
As for my part, I have been campaigning for the past 6 years for the
plan to be completed. The current Ontario government deserves credit for
finally getting the process on track, for hiring a planning consultant,
holding public consultation meetings AND SPENDING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF
DOLLARS to get the process completed. NOW..... THE PROCESS IS STALLED
AND IN DANGER OF BEING ABANDONED! Anonymous informants tell me that this
is a very real possibility and may happen shortly. Again, as in 1986,
we are at the crossroads.
In December 1997, the Ministry of Natural Resources indicated by letter
that the plan would be completed "early in the new year". In April 1998,
the Minister told this writer that the plan would be "ready soon".
I AM NOT PREPARED TO LET THIS HAPPEN! I know I have the support of the
local, provincial, national and international environmental community. I
recall back in 1992 the late Dr. Roger Tory Peterson telling me just how
important Presqu'ile was for the butterfly and bird migration, as well
as for it's nesting habitats (third highest species total in the
province). For Presqu'ile is also an ecological island, surrounded on
all fronts by civilization and development.
At the moment, international designations pending for the park include
Reserve Site (International Network of Monarch Butterfly Reserves,
Important Bird Area, Ramsar Site (internationally important for
waterfowl, and Regional Site (Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve
I respectfully request your support in the form of a letter - no matter
how long or short - urging the completion of the park management plan
for Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Quite literally, the draft plan is
sitting on the desk of the Minister of Natural Resources - to be
released when he decides to do so. There is no further need for
consultation. The Ontario Parks Board of Directors was consulted about
the duck hunting issue, and Chair Frank Miller submitted his
recommendations to the Minister a long time ago.
So please send your letter, with a copy to this writer, to the following
Honourable John C. Snobelen, Minister of Natural Resources:
john_snobelen at ontla.ola.org
or telephone (416) 314-2301
Dr. Doug Galt, Member of Parliament, Northumberland Riding -
douggalt at eagle.ca
(or telephone 1-800-263-3980, or (905) 372-400 (Cobourg) or (416)
Given the urgency of the situation, I would ask that you let your
friends and colleagues know about the present situation and ask them to
contact Mr. Snobelen and Dr. Galt. Decribe your experiences in the park
and what this remarkable ecosystem means to you.
Thank you, in advance, for your support. Over the next few days, copies
of this letter will be sent to thousands of individuals and
organizations across North America.
Donald A. Davis
P.S. Noteworthy bird sightings this past weekend include 14 warbler
species, 12 waterfowl species, buff-breasted sandpiper, Baird's
sandpiper, 2 willets, a whimbrel and 3 bald eagles.
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