Boating in Canada Archive

Thousand Islands National Park Newsletter

Spring 1999

Welcome boaters and other park visitors

I mentioned a couple of newsletters ago that this was our "94th year of operation", the park having been established in 1904.

Correction. The park actually started operating in the summer of 1874 with fishery inspectors appointed as park guardians- and with signs posted asking "Ladies and Gentlemen Visiting this Island are requested to Protect the Trees and Shrubs, and before leaving to carefully extinguish any fire lighted thereon.”

In July of 1877 Sir John A. MacDonald wrote "No where on the continent of America, or for that matter in the world, is there a national park of equal beauty and magnitude as the Canadian Thousand Islands. That it should be preserved intact no statesman will hesitate to deny."

1874 to 1999. Welcome to our 125th Operating Season. We -hope you enjoy the park as others before you have enjoyed it for 125 years. And by working together, let's ensure that it is protected and operated so that people can enjoy it for the next 125 years as well.

St. Lawrence Islands National Park
2 County Road 5,
Mallorytown, Ont.
KOE 1RO
Telephone (613) 923 5261
E-Mail: ont_sli@pch.@c.ca
Web site: http://parkscanada.pch.gc.ca/sli

 

EMERGENCY CALLS

If you find yourself in an emergency situation on an island, you have several options to call for help:

By Radio

By Phone:

KEEPING IN TOUCH

To contact the Park office for information or to offer suggestions, you also have several means at your disposal:

"Up In Smoke"

I'm sure you'll agree there is nothing quite like sitting in front of a campfire as the sun goes down over the river. For many people the smell of wood smoke and the flickering light from the flames are favourite memories of their trip.

But let us think about the campfire for a moment. Where did the wood come from? Some people grab deadfall that's lying on the ground.

What's wrong with having a little campfire you ask? By itself nothing, but when you realize that many docks and campsites are occupied for most nights of the summer and that many visitors have a campfire, the cumulative effect of using deadfall can be quite dramatic.

When people forage for wood the effects range from areas becoming denuded of vegetation to other impacts on the natural world. Standing dead trees and branches provide habitat for insects and the woodpeckers that eat them, as well as providing nesting cavities for wildlife.

When the dead branches land on the forest floor they continue to add life to the forest by providing food for countless insects and shelter for various animals (from mice and salamanders to centipedes and spiders). As the wood decomposes it recycles nutrients into the soil that are then taken up by living plants.

As you can see, natural decomposition of dead wood plays a very important role in the continuing health of the entire forest community.

This summer, one way that you can allow these natural processes to continue and still have a campfire is to purchase firewood from the island attendants. The, cost will be $5.00 per bundle.

Remember if there is a fire ban during your visit, there are no open fires allowed, not even for cooking.,

PETS IN THE PARK

Dogs have become a growing problem on park islands over the past few years. Problems include chasing wildlife, frightening and molesting park visitors, defecating in picnic areas and campsites, barking during the day and night, and killing wildlife.

If you are bringing your dog to one of the park islands,- we would like to take this opportunity to remind you that dogs must be kept on a leash at all times -regardless of how far you venture from your boat or campsite. The owners or handlers of any pet found off the leash or violating any of the pet rules in the park may be fined andlor evicted from the park.

Others may not appreciate your dog, no matter how friendly it is. Keeping your dog on a leash will improve the quality of your visit to the park.

Remember that the park islands are home to raccoons and many other animals. Encounters with park wildlife can prove unsettling, and even harmful for your pet. Abiding by the following few rules will ensure all park visitors enjoy their park experience.

Rules:

WHY SHOULD 1 STILL BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE ICE STORM OF ‘98?

The Ice Storm of January, 1998, as we are all aware, caused considerable damage to our island trees. While Park staff worked quickly to clear the fallen debris from around the Park facilities, many huge limbs and branches remain on the ground or may be still hung-up in the canopy overhead in areas away from facilities and off-trails.

Over lime, the debris on the ground will break down and become much welcomed new island soil. In the mean time, over the next few years and during periods of dry weather, there will be an increased natural fuel load available in the event of a wildfire.

Visitors are asked to be extremely careful with fires, lighted matches, and cigarettes, and hot exhaust ports on generators placed ashore. Fires should not be left unattended and please do not drag limbs from out of the woods into a campfire.

Also, be aware of any overhead dangers off trail, and make your children aware as well. The Park Warden Service appreciates hearing of any public safety hazard from our visitors, either directly or through other Park staff. Enjoy a safe 1999 visitor season.

GENERATOR-FREE LOCATIONS

"Tell us what you think"

An issue that has sparked lively discussion among boaters in the Park has been the use of generators and idling engines to run inverters at Park docks. While some visitors want the convenience of being able to use this equipment, others are seeking a tranquil experience, free of disturbances.

While modem, quiet generators have alleviated the noise issue to some extent, some older equipment is occasionally used and the idling of boat engines at docks remains an issue. The response by the Park has been to forbid the use of generators and inverters during quiet hours from 10:00 PM to 8:00 AM and to establish generator free zones where the operation of generators and idling of engines is not allowed. This applies to the dock areas at Mermaid, West Endymion, north and east Grenadier Islands.

We would like to hear your views on this issue. Would you like to retain the approach that we have now? Would you like to see more generator free zones or fewer? Would you like to see any other restrictions or other approaches? Also, please remember that no solution will be effective without the support and compliance of all boaters.

If you want your views to be taken into account on this issue, please contact us by phone, fax, e-mail or letter (which can be dropped into the self-registration box, or mailed) and mark your letter "GENERATORS".

MOORING BUOYS

The provision of mooring buoys by the Park has been reviewed and a number of changes have been recommended. Changes in the number of buoys and their location and improvements in design, chain length and signage have been suggested.

There will be a total of 19 mooring buoys available this season, the same number as last year. Their locations are listed below. The two buoys on the north side of Endymion are being moved to the south side to be included in the Park’s water lot, which is rented from the province.

All mooring buoy locations will be monitored for environmental impacts. This will give us information necessary for placing these and other mooring buoys. We will not go ahead with additions and location changes in buoys until the impacts are known. There may be a problem with chains scraping the bottom clear of vegetation.

All 19 buoys will be upgraded, if necessary, to include secure chains and anchors and clear signage.

Island / No. of mooring buoys
Endymion 7 Camelot 5
Thwartway 5 Adelaide 2

ISLAND HOSTS

Volunteer island hosts will be welcoming park visitors again this year on the islands. These volunteers agree to cover a minimum of 4 weekends or an equivalent time in the operating season and to attend the orientation session which will be held this year on Saturday May 29th at Mallorytown Landing.

Hosts inform visitors of services, facilities and attractions in the park and the 1000 Islands region. They also explain park regulations and registration procedures to those who are unaware of them. While providing this very important stewardship role in the park, hosts have the enjoyment and satisfaction of meeting many new visitors in the park while maintaining contact with old friends who return each season. For more information on the program, please contact the park.

NEW VISITORS'CENTRE OPENING

General Works staff have been busily occupied this winter preparing the new visitors centre at Mallorytown Landing for the opening -of the season. The old, beach house has been transformed into an exhibit room and theatre room which will accommodate groups of up to 50 persons. You can buy T shirts, books and some gift items at the new nature shop. Some change rooms and the comfort station remain for visitors using the beach or the park docks.

A special event is being planned for July 24 to celebrate the opening of the new centre. It will be complemented by a lamplit walk at the Landing on the same evening. Why not stop in for the afternoon and evening, or plan to dock overnight at the Landing to take in the festivities?

Here are some other special events being planned at the Landing:

June 27 TDousand Islands by Paddle
July 1 Canada Day Celebrations
July 10, 11 Gunboat Weekend
August 7, 8 Art in the Park

ENDYMION ISLAND

We mentioned in the fall newsletter that research has shown that visitor use was adversely affecting the natural environment on Endymion Island in St. Lawrence Islands National Park. A favourite destination for many boaters, Endymion is designated by Park planning as a "Zone 1 special preservation area.". This is an area set aside to receive the highest degree of protection available in the National Park system in consideration of the sensitive biological and/or cultural resources contained within the area.

The west end of the island in particular is under stress from human use. Since 1991 we have completed six studies on the impact of visitor use on environmental and historical resources, with the trend being consistently downward,

The National Parks Act requires that we maintain ecological integrity through the protection of natural resources as a first priority. Parks Canada's purpose is fulfiill national and international responsibilities to commemorate, protect and present places which are significant examples of Canada's cultural and natural heritage in ways that encourage public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of this heritage, while ensuring long-term ecological and commemorative integrity. (Parks Canada Guiding Principles and Operational Policies, 1994)

The resources being protected on Endymion Island-consist of several rare plant species including Six-weeks Fescue and Sharp-leaved goldenrod (rare in Canada and Ontario), Water Plantain (rare in Ontario) and Pitch Pine (rare in Canada). Deerberry, a cousin of the blueberry and one of the rarest shrubs in Canada is found here and is designated in Canada as an endangered species.

In addition, there are areas of importance for aboriginal history on the island.

What have we done about it?

To date, three campsites and two campsite docks have been removed to protect archaeological sites. We have also removed all wood burning stoves from the island, placed 5 mooring buoys in a sheltered anchorage on the south side, delivered information on site and to various yacht clubs. In the mid-90's we carried out public consultation on zoning and the repercussions for visitor use as part of the recent revision of the park management plan.

What do we plan to do now?

Despite these precautions, the adverse impacts continue to occur particularly on the west end.

As a result we will be taking the following measures in 1999. At the same time, we will continue to talk with park users to decide on any future actions we need to take.

At this time, we are asking park visitors to Endymion Island to please keep visitor use on the island to a minimum. In particular, we would like park visitors to STAY ON MARKED TRAILS AND WITHIN MARKED VISITOR USE AREAS.

Other options which may be taken this,year include:

We hope that the changes listed above will protect the resources on the island, and at the same time permit continued use by visitors. We will continue to monitor the natural and cultural resources on this island and may need to take additional measures if those listed here don't work.

We appreciate your comments and suggestions. Should you wish to comment on the foregoing please contact us.

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