Ontario, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, is opening five new provincial parks and expanding three others.
These natural environment and nature reserve parks will help protect over 10,000 hectares of Ontario’s rare ecosystems and other important parts of the province’s natural heritage, such as Carolinian forest. The parks will also support many rare and endangered species, while giving families and visitors more opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy the province’s natural beauty.
Although the parks won’t permit camping or provide visitor facilities such as washrooms, they will offer activities like hiking and bird watching.
The new provincial parks are:
- Carden Alvar, a natural environment park near Orillia
- Cedar Creek, a nature reserve park near Essex
- Clear Creek Forest, a nature reserve park near Chatham-Kent
- Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Mnidoo Mnising, a natural environment park on Manitoulin Island
- Strawberry Island, a nature reserve park near Manitoulin Island
Ontario is also expanding the following existing parks:
- Misery Bay by 251 hectares
- Stoco Fen by 102 hectares
- Charleston Lake by 243 hectares
Protecting Ontario’s natural wilderness is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up by investing in people, building modern infrastructure and supporting a dynamic and innovative business climate.
- Nature reserve parks protect specific elements of Ontario’s natural heritage, including distinct natural habitats and landforms, to support scientific research and maintain biodiversity.
- Natural environment parks protect outstanding landscapes, ecosystems and other elements of the province’s wilderness to provide high quality recreational and educational experiences for visitors.
- Ontario and the Nature Conservancy of Canada have signed a 15-year memorandum of understanding that outlines a shared vision for biodiversity conservation in the province.
- There are more than 330 provincial parks in Ontario, with more than 100 offering visitor facilities.
- In 2013, Ontario’s provincial parks received more than 8.5 million visits from people around the world and generated $69 million in revenue.