Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mississagi Provincial Park

Recently I spent a night at Mississagi Provincial Park and Campground, just north of Elliot Lake Ontario.  The Park is classified as a 'natural environment park' under the Ontario Provincial Park system and is one of the parks that was slated to be changed to a non-operating park (eg. day visitors only) last fall.

Mississagi was kept open this year under a one year trial program which drew on resources of Elliot Lake.  Essentially, during the trial period Elliot Lake is responsible for staffing, operational and capital costs and will cover any losses that the Park incurs.  I had a great experience at Mississagi and it will be interesting what will happen to the park in the future.

Given the vast amount of crown land, lakes, and forest areas in Northern Ontario moving parks to non-operating status means the use of park space would probably drop dramatically.  There is a ton of choice for fishers, hikers, boaters etc and many people want to be able to stay over where they are spending the day.  If Mississagi drops to day use only status some have speculated that the park will probably see an even greater drop in attendance.

Overall I had a great experience at Missisagi.  The walking trails were great -- albeit lacking in interpretive signage. Granted, I didn't splurge on the comprehensive trail guide which probably included more detailed explanations of the natural landscape. I also went kayaking on the main lake in the Park and the views from the lake and the trails were beautiful.  Places like Mississagi Park serve as an excellent reminder of the natural value of the vast outdoor spaces in the North. 

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