le Lundi 2 octobre 2023
le Mercredi 3 novembre 2021 9:04 Société

Happy 50th Anniversary Voyageur Provincial Park!

Happy 50th Anniversary Voyageur Provincial Park!
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Ontario’s Provincial Parks are areas of land and water, large or small, natural or man-modified, designated by any of the provincial governments for the purposes of nature protection, recreation, tourism, historic preservation and education. With over 330 parks, covering more than eight-million hectares that attract almost nine-million visits each year, there is a lot to discover!  Provincial Parks are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks since its creation in 1972, although Provincial Parks have been in existence for over 125 years, starting with Algonquin Provincial Park which was created in 1893.

As residents of Prescott-Russell, we are so privileged to be serviced by a Provincial Park located within our geographical limits: whether for a short camping stay or for day-use of their beaches and trails, Voyageur Provincial Park can easily be reached by bike or motor vehicle or by boat.

Voyageur Provincial Park, originally known as Carillon Provincial Park, was created in 1966 after the construction of the Carillon dam/power station between 1959 and 1964 which resulted in the flooding of large areas along the shores of the Ottawa River, including part of what is now the park, raising the water level by 62 feet at Carillon and 9 feet at Hawkesbury/Grenville; the Long-Sault Rapids became an underwater current and the large flooded area was given the name of Lake Dollard des Ormeaux. The park is comprised of this flooded land and the unflooded remnants of open fields and woodlands. The park takes its name from the fur traders (‘Voyageurs’) who had to portage their fur and canoes around the once dangerous rapids of the Long-Sault in order to reach their trading post (today’s Macdonell-Williamson House in Pointe-Fortune). The ‘Voyageur’ appellation is also a reflection on the famous ‘Bataille du Long-Sault’ in which Dollard des Ormeaux, a few of his men and a group of friendly Hurons fought the Iroquois and all perished; they were eventually recognized as heroes for saving the French colony.

The park is comprised of 1464 hectares of land and opened officially in 1971; it is located in the township of East Hawkesbury and stretches from the villages of Chute-à-Blondeau to Pointe-Fortune along the Ottawa River. The dominant forest type is sugar maple and beech although many other varieties are also present. Its marketing strategy is oriented towards attracting urban populations within 100 kilometres to the east (Montreal/Laval), to the west (Ottawa), to the south (Cornwall/USA) and to the north (Laurentians). When created, the park’s goal was to provide, within the limits of the park’s environmental capacity, year-round recreational and educational activities for the people of Ontario and visitors to the province, focusing in the needs and interests of the large nearby urban populations.

(Source: Voyageur Provincial Park Management Plan 1992)

The Park offers over 400 campsites divided over 3 sites, offers 3 beach areas and picnic areas for campers and day-users, walking trails, convenience store and restaurant; the Park Management team also supervises the 10,000 acre Alfred Bog.  Plantagenet’s Jessup Falls Conservation Area (which we wrote about this summer) also used to belong to the provincial park group, but the ministry disassociated itself from smaller parks and it was transferred to the South Nation Authority in 1986 for 250$.

Considering the park’s popularity this summer, it obviously reached and surpassed its goals as it brought many visitors in our area to use our stores, small businesses, restaurants! And these visitors will spread the good news to their relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers… which will have a positive snowball effect for us all. Word-of-mouth is the best advertising technique in the world!

Small add-on note but quite an interesting discovery during my research:

DID YOU KNOW THAT…Ontario Parks recognizes the practice of scattering cremated remains of a loved one on both land and waters in some identified Provincial Parks? It is recommended to contact the Park Superintendent in advance to arrange a suitable and accessible location within the park, as some parks have a designated area.