Dupont Provincial Park Management Plan
This document provides direction on the management of Dupont Provincial Park.
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© 2009, Queen’s Printer for Ontario
Additional copies of this publication are obtainable from: the Ministry of Natural Resources for $8 plus GST per copy from the Voyageur Provincial Park office:
Voyageur Provincial Park
1313 Front Road
Ministry of Natural Resources
Office of the Minister
Room 6630, Whitney Block
99 Wellesley Street West
Toronto ON M7A 1W3
Ministère des Richesses naturelles
Bureau du ministre
Édifice Whitney, bureau 6630
99, rue Wellesley Ouest
Toronto (Ontario) M7A 1W3
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am pleased to approve the DuPont Provincial Park Management Plan as the Ministry of Natural of Resources, Ontario Parks’ policy for the protection and management of this park. This plan is consistent with the requirements of the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act. It reflects Ontario Parks’ intent to protect the natural and cultural features of DuPont Provincial Park and to maintain and develop opportunities for heritage appreciation for the residents of Ontario and visitors to the Province.
This document outlines implementation priorities for the plan’s elements and summarizes the consultation that occurred as part of the planning process. Consultation occurred at the Terms of Reference, Background Information, and Preliminary Park Management Plan stages. Consultation included direct notices, newspaper advertisements, open houses and postings on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry.
The plan for DuPont Provincial Park will be used to guide the management of the park over the next 20 years. During that time, the park management plan will be examined in 10 years to determine the need for review to address changing issues or conditions, and may be amended as the need arises.
I would like to express my appreciation to all those who participated in the planning process. Your valuable ideas have assisted in the completion of this plan.
The Honourable Donna Cansfield
Ontario Minister of Natural Resources
April, 28, 2009
Statement of Environmental Values and the Environmental Bill of Rights
The Ministry of Natural Resources’ Statement of Environmental Values (SEV) under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) describes how the purposes of the EBR are to be considered whenever decisions are made in the Ministry that might significantly affect the environment. This includes decisions made as a result of preparing management direction for a protected area.
The Ministry’s SEV has been considered throughout the planning process. The management direction for DuPont Provincial Park will further the objectives of managing Ontario’s resources on an environmentally sustainable basis.
The park is located within an area of interest to the Mohawks of Akwesasne.
Notices of the planning process for DuPont Provincial Park were circulated to the Mohawks of Akwesasne, and they met with Ontario Parks, Southeast Zone staff to discuss the project. Information and documents relating to previous stages were also shared with this First Nation, ongoing throughout the process.
Ministry of Natural Resources context
This park management plan has been prepared consistent with direction contained in Our Sustainable Future, Ministry of Natural Resources Strategic Directions (2005), and Protecting What Sustains Us: Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy (2005). The Ministry’s vision is “sustainable development”; and the Ministry’s mission is “ecological sustainability”. The Ontario Parks program contributes mainly to the goal of: “Healthy Natural Environment for Ontarians”, but contributes to other strategic elements as well. The mandate of the Ministry for Ontario Parks is to deliver Ontario’s parks and protected areas program, which includes: the protection and management of provincially significant natural, cultural, and recreational environments; provincial parks operations; provision of tourism opportunities; natural heritage education; planning and management of parks and protected areas; policy leadership on conservation reserves; monitoring, auditing, and public reporting on Ontario’s parks and protected areas.
Protected areas system context
All provincial parks and conservation reserves in Ontario fall under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act. The purpose of the Act is: to permanently protect a system of provincial parks and conservation reserves that includes ecosystems that are representative of all of Ontario’s natural regions, protects provincially significant elements of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage, maintains biodiversity and provides opportunities for compatible, ecologically sustainable recreation. The purpose of this plan is to ensure that this park is managed in accordance with the Act, and to guide the management of the park over the next twenty years.
Maintenance of ecological integrity is the first priority for provincial parks, and the restoration of ecological integrity will be considered. Ecological integrity refers to a condition in which biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems and the composition and abundance of native species and biological communities are characteristic of their natural regions and rates of change and ecosystem processes are unimpeded. Ecological integrity includes, but is not limited to, healthy and viable populations of native species, including species at risk, and maintenance of the habitat on which the species depend; and includes levels of air and water quality consistent with protection of biodiversity and recreational enjoyment.
DuPont Provincial Park (provincial park designation is subject to a boundary regulation) was acquired in 1997 and 1998 through the Ontario Parks Legacy program, a partnership between Ontario Parks and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). This 614 ha nature reserve class park contains outstanding natural features in an area where human activities have significantly altered the landscape. Despite this, DuPont Provincial Park protects a distinctive environment with significant plants and animals.
The park is centrally located within the Ottawa—Toronto—Montreal triangle (see Figure 1) in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, adjacent to the village of Morrisburg. DuPont Provincial Park is the only provincial park along the St. Lawrence River in eastern Ontario.
The park falls within Ecodistrict 6E-12. Hoasic Creek, a tributary of Lake Ontario within the South Nation Conservation Authority’s watershed and one of the few remaining natural creeks in south eastern Ontario, flows through the property. The 144 ha Riverside Marsh is a candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) that overlaps the park boundary. This wetland was created by flooding for the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s. Most of the 357 ha Hoasic Creek Hardwoods ANSI is enclosed within the park, and supports a mature mixed forest representative of what used to be common in the township. This forest boasts a large nesting site for great blue heron (Ardea herodias); the colony was once among the largest in eastern Ontario. The forest also supports 17 vegetation communities and more than 365 plant species. Detailed information on the park’s setting, natural and cultural heritage features, and use is provided in DuPont Provincial Park, Background Information (2002), available from Ontario Parks.
DuPont Provincial Park lies within the boundary of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Kemptville District and is administered by the Park Superintendent at Voyageur Provincial Park near Hawkesbury, reporting to the Ontario Parks Southeast Zone office in Kingston.
This approved park management plan will guide the management, operation and development of DuPont Provincial Park over the next 20 years. The plan will be examined in 10 years or may be amended as the need arises. Section 13 describes the process for review and amendment of the plan.
The DuPont Provincial Park Management Plan has been developed in accordance with the Ontario Provincial Parks: Planning and Management Policies (1992) and District Land Use Guidelines for the Ministry of Natural Resources Cornwall District (1983). In accordance with this plan, and coordinated with the management planning process, MNR has amended affected area-specific land use policies and mapping found in the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas to enable creation of a new provincial park.
Figure 1: Regional setting
Ontario’s provincial parks are organized into broad classifications, each of which has particular purposes and characteristics. DuPont Provincial Park is classified as a nature reserve (subject to regulation).
Nature reserves are areas selected to represent the distinctive natural habitats and landforms of the province. They are protected for educational purposes and as gene pools for research to benefit present and future generations. Recreational opportunities consist of low-intensity day use activities. Park facilities are limited to basic services such as parking lots and trails.
DuPont Provincial Park supports a wide range of habitats and high species diversity in a relatively small area. Over time, protection will allow an even more diverse ecosystem to become established in a place that has been significantly altered by human activities. The property’s designation as a provincial nature reserve fulfills one of the objectives of MNR’s protected area system plan: to establish a park in Ecodistrict 6E-12.
3.0 Vision statement
DuPont Provincial Park will protect the biological diversity, special beauty and educational value of its lands as part of the heritage of Ontario.
DuPont Provincial Park is governed by the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act and Ontario Provincial Parks: Planning and Management Policies (1992).
Ontario’s protected areas system has four objectives for establishing and managing provincial parks, as stated in Ontario’s Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act:
- to permanently protect representative ecosystems, biodiversity, and provincially significant elements of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage, and to manage these areas to ensure that ecological integrity is maintained;
- to provide opportunities for ecologically sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities and encourage associated economic benefits;
- to provide opportunities for residents of Ontario and visitors to increase their knowledge and appreciation of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage; and
- to facilitate scientific research and to provide points of reference to support monitoring of ecological change on the broader landscape.
The objectives of nature reserve class parks are to protect representative ecosystems and provincially significant elements of Ontario’s natural heritage, including distinctive natural habitats and landforms, for their intrinsic value, to support scientific research, and to maintain biodiversity. DuPont Provincial Park’s contribution to the nature reserve class park objectives are as follows:
Ontario’s parks play an important role in representing and conserving the diversity of Ontario’s natural features and ecosystems, across the broader landscape. Protected areas include representative examples of life and earth science features, and cultural heritage features within ecologically or geologically defined regions. Ontario’s ecological classification system provides the basis for the life science feature assessment, and the geological themes provide the basis for earth science assessment.
Ontario Parks will work to achieve the protection objective through appropriate zoning and an ecosystem approach to park planning and management. The park’s significant life science features present a basis for future scientific study.
4.1.1 Life sciences
The northwest corner of the park is characterized by mature pine and maple forest. There is a good diversity of forest birds; particularly notable are species, such as red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) and ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus), that require interior habitat for successful breeding. The coniferous forest supports a wintering area for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). A substantial area of forested wetlands and the many isolated small areas with poor drainage provide good habitat for amphibians.
In the northeast, a younger forest buffers the mature forest interior. Remnant fields are slowly being colonized by hawthorn (Crataegus spp) and willow (Salix spp.). The patchy forest and meadow areas support butterflies, but as areas of open field and meadow diminish due to forest succession these populations could decline.
The southeast upland consists of shrub thickets and open grasslands of limited vegetation diversity, a result of past grazing by cattle. The St. Lawrence River shoreline provides habitat for a variety of species, including migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. MacDonald Island, created when the St. Lawrence River was flooded for the Seaway, is a mixture of marshland and second growth forest.
Hoasic Creek is one of the least disturbed watercourses in south eastern Ontario, and the park will protect the lower 2 km of its 19 km length. This warm-water fish stream consists of slow-moving water with deep pools and short sections of shallow riffle habitat. Boulders, large woody debris, algae and sparse aquatic vegetation provide cover in the creek. In some areas, overhanging maples (Acer spp.) and alders (Alnus spp.) cover the entire width of the creek.
During spring runoff, the creek’s water level increases substantially. This increase in water depth may be what allows muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) and northern pike (Esox lucius) to migrate up the creek to wetlands in the headwaters. Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) are also seasonally present in the creek. The rocky streambed provides spawning habitat for smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu).
Water quality in Hoasic Creek is significantly degraded due to high levels of nutrients and bacteria originating upstream.
Hoasic Hardwood Forest
This hardwood forest is the largest, most mature, intact example of late succession forest in the area, despite the property’s past history of disturbance. A large heronry is present within the low-lying centre of the forest, in an area of swamp that is an extension of the 4,100 ha provincially significant Hoasic Creek Wetland nearby. Hoasic Creek Hardwoods has been identified as a provincially significant Life Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), and falls almost completely within the park (see Figure 2).
The park’s great blue heron colony was once the largest in eastern Ontario, with over 300 nests in the early 1990s, the majority of them active. In 2001, soon after Ontario Parks acquired the nature reserve, there were 223 nests; this decreased to 97 nests in 2006. Although historic records between 1973 and 1991 found some fluctuation in the total number of nests, there had never been fewer than 100 in the previous 25 years. The heronry’s continued presence suggests that the colony is relatively free from human disturbance during the breeding season, but the recent decline in nests is of concern to park staff.
The western half of Riverside Marsh is within the park. Despite its limited vegetation diversity, this wetland provides important feeding and nesting habitat for birds, reptiles, and amphibians, and is a staging area for migratory waterbirds. Among the cattails (Typha spp.) and willows, the gravel riverbed provides spawning habitat for several fish species, including northern pike, muskellunge, and smallmouth bass. Riverside Marsh is a provincially significant wetland. The impacts of various disturbances – such as the large annual water level draw-down of the Seaway – are unknown, but it is possible they may be hindering the establishment of a more diverse ecosystem.
Significant plants and animals
Several uncommon, rare, and provincially significant animal and plant species were observed (Brunton and Atkinson, 1989) in and around the park lands in the late 1980s, although there is no recent life science inventory specifically for DuPont Provincial Park. Butternut (Juglans cinerea, also known as white walnut) was observed on the property in 1989 prior to infestation by the butternut canker, a fungus that has since been killing butternut trees across North America. This species is now listed as endangered, both federally and provincially; it is not known whether any butternut trees remain in the park. Greater redhorse fish (Moxostoma valencienessi), and two wetland plant species – lake-cress (Neobeckia aquatica) and lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus) – are designated as S3 or uncommon in Ontario, and are known to be present in DuPont Provincial Park. Least bittern (Ixobrychus exilis), a threatened marsh bird, has been recorded among the cattails of Riverside Marsh. Black tern (Chlidonias niger), red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), northern map turtle (Graptemys geographica), and monarch (Danaus plexippus) are species of special concern provincially that have also been observed near the park.
4.1.2 Earth sciences
There are no provincially significant earth science features within DuPont Provincial Park. The surface geology of the park consists of a poorly-drained till plain on a limestone base. Occasional glacial erratic boulders are present, and there is a sand deposit along Hoasic Creek at the north end of the park.
4.1.3 Cultural resources
No cultural resource inventory or assessment has been conducted on the property, nor is there any documented evidence of Aboriginal use of the site. An historical cemetery within the park was used by community farmers in the early 1900s, but the graves have since been transferred to another location.
4.2 Heritage appreciation
Within the limits of seasonal access restrictions to protect natural heritage values, the entire park is very suitable for natural heritage appreciation through unstructured individual exploration.
Recreation is not the central focus of DuPont Provincial Park. As a nature reserve, the emphasis of DuPont Provincial Park is on protecting the natural and cultural heritage of the property, while possibly offering opportunities for self- directed nature appreciation.
Existing trails within the park are limited to an old industrial ring-road in the northeastern block and a snowmobile trail that traverses the park’s length. Walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on a limited trail network are potential terrestrial activities in nature reserve class parks. Activities on the water include boating and fishing. With its low-intensity, local focus and opportunity for winter activity, DuPont Provincial Park will complement nearby tourist attractions operated by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission.
DuPont Provincial Park will become established as a nature reserve class provincial park once it is regulated under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, at which time the park boundary will be described by a regulation plan. A minor land use amendment on the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas enabling creation of this new park has been completed in coordination with the management planning process.
Physical features such as roads and railway lines generally define DuPont Provincial Park’s boundary (see Figure 1). The park also includes the St. Lawrence riverbed to a limit of 300 m from the water’s edge, the approximate equivalent of the pre-Seaway shoreline. County Road 2 bisects the property into north and south parcels. DuPont Provincial Park is surrounded by privately-owned industrial, commercial and residential lands.
The northern boundary is the Canadian National Railway (CNR) line.
County Road 8 and eight private residences about the eastern boundary of the park north of County Road 2. Some residents have maintained a mowed buffer on park property between the regenerating fields of the park and their property. South of County Road 2, the park abuts the Riverside-Cedar Campground operated by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, which also owns the eastern half of Riverside Marsh.
DuPont Provincial Park’s southern boundary has approximately 1500 m of frontage on the St. Lawrence River and includes MacDonald Island 250 m offshore. The former Ontario Hydro (now separated into Hydro One Networks Inc. and Ontario Power Generation Inc.) has an easement on the property along the river that allows the company to flood to the 249′ (75.49 m) level. This is approximately 6′ (1.8 m) above the existing shoreline. The easement covers the part of the property, including MacDonald Island, that was flooded by the creation of the Seaway.
The park forms a horseshoe that abuts three sides of an industrial property, currently owned by RohMax Canada Inc., north of County Road 2. To access the plant from the CNR line, RohMax Canada Inc. holds an easement for the railway spur line that crosses park property. The Hoasic Creek Hardwoods ANSI extends outside the park onto this industrial parcel, west of the spur line.
A railway spur line that serves an adjacent industrial park forms the western boundary of DuPont Provincial Park north of County Road 2; the park abuts industrial land along its entire western boundary.
Park management plan policies apply only to the area within the regulated boundary of the park. Within the park boundary, the protection of park values and features will be achieved through appropriate zoning, control of land use and activities, education, and monitoring of ecological impacts.
Ontario Parks will support in principle the acquisition of property for the purposes of addition to the park, if acquisition is needed to enhance the values of the park. For example, Hoasic Creek Hardwoods ANSI extends onto privately owned lands beyond the park, and long term protection of these lands would enhance the park’s values and contribute to the park’s ecological integrity. Acquisition or securement will be subject to funding and willingness of the owners to sell or lease their properties or enter into a conservation easement. If secured and added to the park, the ANSI portion of these lands would be considered as part of the adjacent NR1 zone, with the remainder being considered within zone NR2.
Lands within DuPont Provincial Park are zoned in accordance with their environmental and cultural features and values, and their sensitivity. The three zoning categories designated for nature reserve class parks such as DuPont Provincial Park are based on the Ontario Provincial Parks: Planning and Management Policies. The zones differentiate the sensitivity of the natural and cultural values, and the appropriate amount of development, recreational uses and management practices within the park. There are three nature reserve zones and one access zone in DuPont Provincial Park (Figure 2).
6.1 Nature reserve zones
Nature reserve zones protect the provincially significant earth and/or life science features within a park, and may include an area in which a minimum of development is permitted. Development is generally restricted to trails, necessary signs, interpretive facilities (where warranted) and temporary facilities for research and management.
DuPont Provincial Park’s nature reserve zones make up more than 99% of the park’s area.
Zone NR1 – Hoasic Hardwoods (approximately 230 ha)
This zone encompasses the north western block of the park. It protects several significant features, including Hoasic Creek, the provincially significant mature forest ANSI, the heronry, and a small extension of the provincially significant Hoasic Creek Wetland.
Zone NR2 – Riverside (157 ha)
The park lands to the south of County Road 2 are comprised of a mainland area (57 ha), plus MacDonald Island (9 ha) and a portion of riverbed (89 ha) measured 300 m from the water’s edge along the St. Lawrence River. This zone includes part of the provincially significant Riverside Marsh. Zone NR2 protects the eastern half of the regionally significant Riverside Marsh ANSI as well as all of MacDonald Island.
Zone NR3 – North Eastern Block (approximately 227 ha)
This zone is generally east of the RohMax Canada Inc. parcel and north of County Road 2. As zone NR3 continues to evolve into a more natural state, it serves as a transition area for the significant natural features found in zone NR1.
Motorized travel is not permitted in nature reserve zones. However, a pre-existing snowmobile trail crosses the park through zones NR1 and NR3 and this use has been permitted to continue through an agreement, renewed annually, between the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) and Ontario Parks (Section 8.2.2).
6.2 Access zone
Access zones serve as staging areas, a means of both providing and regulating use in areas of a park geared towards extensive recreation. Generally, development is limited to roads, visitor control structures and group campgrounds. Provisions may be made for limited orientation, interpretive or educational facilities, though generally more for self-use rather than through structured personal service. Limited facilities for research and park management may also be present.
Zone A1 – Parking area (0.04 ha)
The park’s only access zone is located at the site of an existing gravel road off County Road 2. This zone will serve as a staging area for proposed trail activities in zone NR3.
Figure 2: Zoning
7.0 Resource management policies
DuPont Provincial Park will be managed in accordance with the policies set out in Ontario Provincial Parks: Planning and Management Policies for nature reserve class parks. The following policies will guide the management of park resources consistent with the Endangered Species Act, the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, and with the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act. All resource management projects will be undertaken consistent with A Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves (Class EA PPCR).
7.1 Adaptive management
An adaptive management approach will be applied to resource management activities within DuPont Provincial Park. Adaptive management allows for frequent modification of management strategies in response to monitoring and analysis of the results of past actions and experiences. Adaptive management is a systematic, practical approach to improving resource stewardship.
Vegetation and landscape management and restoration will be subject to the Class EA PPCR. The aim of management will be to perpetuate the natural heritage values protected within nature reserve zones. Natural processes will be used except where other approaches are specifically prescribed by this plan – or through a Class EA process – and priority will be given to restoration techniques that are judged to be most likely to succeed and to have the most substantial positive impact relative to cost. Resource stewardship initiatives may be accomplished independently or through partnerships.
7.2 Industrial/commercial uses
The following uses are not permitted in DuPont Provincial Park:
- Commercial forestry;
- Prospecting, staking mining claims, developing mineral interests, working mines;
- Extraction of sand, gravel, topsoil or peat;
- Commercial power generation; and
- Commercial trapping.
7.3 Land management
There are a number of sites within the park where past human activities have negatively affected natural features. These include the site prepared for industrial development in zone NR3, drainage ditches, and gravel and sand pits. These sites may be restored if it can be shown that significant ecological benefits can be achieved.
Cleanup will occur at sites within the park where old building materials and garbage have been dumped. Appropriate signs will be placed at traditional points of access to these locations and gates will be installed as needed for access control.
Where necessary, survey points will be established, identifying the park boundary in order to maintain park interests and ensure good relations with neighbouring property owners.
Ontario Parks will out-source all aggregate required for use in the park. Aggregates include gravel, sand, stone, or other prescribed material under the Aggregate Resources Act.
7.4 Water management
Wherever possible, natural drainage will be restored where it has been disrupted by past development.
Riverside Marsh has the potential to become a more biologically diverse environment through habitat creation and improvements in water flow. Ontario Parks may consider working in partnership with the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission and possibly Ducks Unlimited Canada to enhance the natural qualities of Riverside Marsh.
Ontario Parks will work with stakeholders to develop a cooperative approach to managing Hoasic Creek, based on the entire watershed. This approach will emphasize improving water quality and fish habitat and maintaining water flow. Projects aimed at achieving these objectives may occur within the park, and may include working in partnership with a number of agencies and individuals, including:
- the Township of South Dundas, to ensure that future development of land surrounding the park will be compatible with the park’s objectives; and
- landowners, naturalists clubs, Resource Stewardship S.D.&G. (the stewardship council for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry) and others, to help protect the wetlands of the Hoasic Creek headwaters.
Any partnerships will be cooperative and participatory, and do not imply provincial control over private property rights.
7.5 Non-native and invasive species
Non-native species means species not native to Ontario. Non-native species will not be deliberately introduced. Invasive species means species that are likely to spread and negatively affect native ecosystems. Where possible, actions will be taken to eliminate or reduce the threat of invasive non-native species that may be affecting the diversity of naturally occurring populations. Where non-native species are already established and threaten natural or cultural values, a control program may be undertaken if feasible and practical.
Most of the park area has had significant impact from human activity. Surrounding the park are areas where native species of plants and animals have been displaced by development (e.g., roads, urbanization) or by land management practices (e.g., farming, gravel pits). As a result, many invasive non-native species of plants and animals – including common carp (Cyprinus carpio), buckthorn (Rhamnus spp.), and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) – have become established in the park. Invasive species control will follow the direction in the Invasive Exotic Plant Management Strategy (Ontario Parks, South Eastern Zone, 2003) and the policies of this plan.
7.6 Forest fire management
MNR recognizes fire as an ecosystem process, fundamental to restoring and maintaining the ecological integrity of protected areas in the Deciduous Forest Region.
The Deciduous Forest Region is a diverse and productive landscape with long fire cycles. Within DuPont Provincial Park, areas of second growth forest – balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) and white birch (Betula papyrifera) interspersed with eastern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) – are most at risk of succession in the absence of fire. Fire within this community type results in an even-aged stand. The park’s mature forest includes species such as sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and American beech (Fagus grandifola), whose thin bark and shallow roots make them sensitive to fire. Lowland forest communities, such as those found adjacent to Hoasic Creek in the northwest corner of the park, are capable of sustenance without the influence of fire (Van Sleeuwen, 2006).
Fire management involves protecting values and attaining resource stewardship objectives through two main areas:
- Fire response: The protection of people, property and natural areas from wildfire, and,
- Fire use: The strategy of maintaining fire as an ecological process or meeting resource management objectives through the application or management of fire.
The Forest Fire Management Strategy for Ontario (2004) provides strategic direction for managing wildfire across Ontario. DuPont Provincial Park is in the Southern Ontario Fire Management Zone according to this provincial strategy. This zone is located outside the fire region, where municipalities have a mandate to provide forest fire protection. Municipalities have the lead in fire protection and management activities under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act (i.e., to protect human lives and properties) and through municipal by-laws. The Township of South Dundas fire department is responsible for fire protection and response in the park area. Ontario Parks will pursue an agreement with the municipality for managing forest fires that occur within the park, in accordance with MNR policy on Fire Management South of the Fire Regions (FM: 2.04).
Fire management within DuPont Provincial Park will help to restore and maintain ecological integrity while preventing personal injury, value loss, and social disruption.
Fires that pose a threat to public health and safety, property and infrastructure, or other values are a priority for suppression. An agreement on fire suppression will be reached through consultation between the Park Superintendent, the Township of South Dundas fire department, and authorized MNR fire management personnel. MNR fire management personnel may support the Township of South Dundas fire department in severe or extraordinary fire situations.
“Light on the land” fire suppression techniques will be addressed in the fire management agreement and will be used whenever feasible. These minimal-impact suppression techniques do not unduly disturb natural or cultural values. Examples may include limiting the use of heavy equipment or the felling of trees during fire response.
Prescribed burning is the deliberate, planned and knowledgeable application of fire by authorized personnel to a specific land area to accomplish pre-determined objectives. Prescribed burning to achieve ecological or hazard reduction objectives may be considered in DuPont Provincial Park. Plans for any prescribed burning will be developed in accordance with the MNR Prescribed Burn Policy, its associated planning manual, and A Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves, in cooperation with the Halliburton Fire Management Headquarters.
To provide further, detailed direction on the use of fire to achieve ecological or hazard reduction objectives, Ontario Parks will write a Statement of Fire Intent, as directed by the Fire Management Policy for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves. This statement will be developed by the Park Superintendent in consultation with MNR fire management personnel, to consider and document the role and primary fire management objectives and options in DuPont Provincial Park.
7.7 Species at risk
Species at risk will be protected consistent with the Endangered Species Act and regulations.
There are no current records of species of risk in DuPont Provincial Park. At one time, butternut (endangered) was present on the property; northern map turtle (special concern) has been observed at the mouth of Hoasic Creek and least bittern (threatened) occurs in Riverside Marsh. DuPont Provincial Park will support the perpetuation of these species by protecting their habitat.
Natural succession will be the principal approach used in managing DuPont Provincial Park, although active ecological restoration of some sites may take place if it can be shown that significant ecological benefits can be achieved. Where planting or seeding is being considered, native species from local sources will be used.
Except where there is a threat to public safety, dead trees will be left standing, and if cut or when they fall on their own, they will be left where they fall.
Rare and significant species may be monitored periodically to ensure their continued health. Specific enhancement or re-introduction programs may be developed where appropriate. Non-native plant species will not be intentionally introduced and will be controlled if they are shown to be negatively affecting the health of native species. Insect or disease control will occur only where there is a threat to the park’s natural features.
Chemical herbicide spraying along the railway spur line easement into the RohMax Canada Inc. plant and the Canadian National Railway (CNR) where it approaches and crosses Hoasic Creek is a detriment to the park’s ecological integrity. Ontario Parks will work with RohMax Canada Inc. and CNR to minimize chemical herbicide impacts and determine alternative methods (e.g. managing vegetation through mechanical means such as mowing).
Wildlife management will be directed toward promoting healthy populations and diverse communities. Management will follow environmental assessment requirements and approved species-specific management plans.
The heronry will be monitored on a regular basis and management action will be taken if possible – and as required – to ensure its health.
Animal populations (such as beaver, Castor canadensis, in Hoasic Creek) may be controlled when essential to human health and safety, the health of the species outside the park, or the values for which the park has been established. Where control is necessary, techniques will be used having minimal effects on other components of the park’s environment. Appropriate methods of population control may be undertaken directly by Ontario Parks, or through partnerships under the supervision of Ontario Parks.
Ontario Parks will periodically assess the effects of deer browse on vegetation in the park, to determine whether management action is required. If research indicates the number of deer in the area is a concern and control is necessary, Ontario Parks staff will work with MNR Kemptville District staff to determine deer management options in the surrounding landscape and, if necessary, an implementation plan would be developed.
Monitoring programs or protection and recovery plans will be implemented as necessary for the perpetuation of any rare or significant species found to occur within the park.
Recreational fishing is subject to provincial and federal fisheries regulations (e.g. the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and the Fisheries Act (Canada) as set out in the Ontario Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary.
The Cornwall District Fisheries Plan (1987) once guided fisheries management in the DuPont Provincial Park area, but provincial objectives have since evolved to manage this resource from a broader, landscape perspective.
Fisheries management within DuPont Provincial Park will focus on achieving a healthy and diverse natural environment. Recreational fishing will continue to be allowed in the waters of the St. Lawrence River that fall within the park boundary, and will be managed in accordance with MNR regulations for those waters. Hoasic Creek is a designated fish sanctuary, which offers protection for rare species such as the Greater Redhorse. Fishing is not permitted in Hoasic Creek during the spawning period from May 14 to the last Friday in June annually.
7.11 Cultural resources
The park vicinity is rural in character and was settled by the United Empire Loyalists in the late 1700s. Agriculture has dominated this landscape for the past two centuries. Evidence of this past use includes drainage ditches, laneways and fences. The historic Willard Cemetery, once present in zone NR3 of the park, was removed in 1966 and the remains were buried at a new location. There are no grave markers or other features to indicate this historic cemetery site, although it appears on survey plans for the area.
There has been no cultural resource inventory or assessment conducted on the property and no provincially significant cultural features have been identified. There is no documented evidence of past Aboriginal activity.
An archaeological assessment of the park will be completed as resources permit.
The zoning plan for the park may be modified if, following archaeological assessment, cultural heritage sites are found to exist, and require management different from that provided in current zoning.
Management strategies for any archaeological sites found in the future may range from allowing the site to evolve without human interference, to research, excavation and rehabilitation. Protection and management will be undertaken in consultation with the Ministry of Culture and with appropriate First Nations, as required.
7.12 Scientific collecting
The collection of fossils, rocks, minerals, archaeological/cultural artefacts, plants, and seeds is permitted by research permit and/or scientific collector permit only.
Scientific research by qualified individuals contributing to the knowledge of natural and cultural history and to environmental management will be encouraged. All research will be conducted by, or authorized by, Ontario Parks. Research projects will be administered through park policy directive PM 2.45 (Research Activities in Provincial Parks) and require a research permit and written authorization. Research must also meet all requirements under applicable provincial and federal legislation. Approved research and monitoring activities must be consistent with Research and Information Strategy, Ontario Parks, South Eastern Zone (2001 and as updated) and Ontario Parks, A Research and Information Strategy (1997 and future updates). Temporary facilities in support of approved research and monitoring activities may be considered.
The following general fields of research are particularly appropriate to DuPont Provincial Park and will be encouraged:
- Landforms, vegetation, fish, wildlife and archaeology of the park;
- Evolution of the park’s landscapes in relation to natural processes and human activity;
- Ecological restoration and management in the park;
- Status of species at risk and other significant species and habitats; and
- Optimal relationships between heritage protection and recreation enjoyment within the park.
Guided by the research policies and strategies outlined above, Ontario Parks will evaluate each application to conduct research using established criteria.
Ongoing monitoring and research on the health of the park’s environment will indicate the park’s success at achieving its protection objective (Section 4.1).
Approved research activities and facilities will be compatible with protection values and/or recreational uses in the park, and will be subject to development and management policies associated with the park’s classification unless special permission is given. Sites altered by research activities will be rehabilitated as closely to their previous condition as possible.
7.14 Inventory and monitoring
Planning and management decisions are intended to ensure that protected areas are sustained ecologically (which includes social and economic components). Ontario Parks will endeavour to make decisions with the best available information. Where this information is lacking, Ontario Parks may conduct inventories and monitoring, as necessary, to provide this information. Such efforts will be undertaken based on established methodologies and best practices. This will foster an adaptive management approach to protected areas management. The following are broad approaches to identifying inventory and monitoring needs: management actions identified in this management plan; public input; routine park maintenance activities; staff knowledge and experiences and environmental scans.
Priority monitoring projects include:
- Snowmobile trail impacts on park values (e.g., wildlife and vegetation) and trail use (e.g., ATVs access, heavy maintenance equipment);
- Heronry assessment every five years, with rapid assessments at two- to three-year intervals in between; and
- Effects of deer browse on vegetation.
8.0 Operations policies
As a non-operating park, DuPont will be managed by the Park Superintendent at Voyageur Provincial Park. Wherever necessary, implementation of the policies stated below will be consistent with the approved Ontario Provincial Parks Minimum Operating Standards.
8.1 Natural heritage education
The goal of the natural heritage education program is to develop visitor awareness and appreciation of Ontario Parks’ natural and cultural heritage, fostering a commitment to its protection for future generations. Programming will include the three components of Natural Heritage Education: information, interpretation and outdoor recreation.
The level of service each park provides depends in its significance and visitation. At DuPont Provincial Park, heritage education will be self-directed, and may include an interpretive trail. Display panels and/or an interpretive guide will be the primary tools for educating park visitors.
The objectives of natural heritage education at DuPont Provincial Park will be to:
- Describe the park, its natural features and management objectives;
- Interpret the history of land use within the park, highlighting the resiliency of nature and the positive impacts of natural succession;
- Increase awareness of the objectives and benefits of nature reserve class provincial parks; and
- Provide a way for park visitors and stakeholders to communicate with Ontario Parks.
Collaboration with local partners may also provide suitable means to inform park visitors, in keeping with these objectives.
8.2 Recreation management
Within the park, the natural heritage resources will receive a high level of protection by limiting the type, range and intensity of recreational activities and by controlling access to the park. Appropriate signs will be placed at the park boundary to indicate its status and permitted uses. Fencing or barriers will be used to control access at appropriate locations.
Ontario Parks policies establish what recreational activities and facilities are appropriate in provincial nature reserve class parks. Prohibited activities at DuPont Provincial Park include: horseback riding, hunting, camping and campfires. Low impact recreational activities such as hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on designated trails will be permitted within the park.
Water-based activities such as canoeing, kayaking and recreational fishing will continue to be allowed in the park. The park’s waters are hazardous for scuba and skin diving; these activities will be discouraged in the park. Sailing will be permitted on the waters of the St. Lawrence River. Motorized boating is permitted where in accordance with federal boating regulations, which generally limits speeds to 10 km/h within 30 m of shore. If non-compliant boating activities are found to affect park values, in particular riparian habitat, Ontario Parks may seek enforcement of speed limit restrictions on the St. Lawrence River, under the Canada Shipping Act.
DuPont Provincial Park will provide day use services only. The park trailhead may be equipped with a self-serve seasonal fee collection station. Visitor use of trails may be monitored, using a guest book.
8.2.2 Mechanized travel
The Riverside Snowmobile Club has, for many years, operated a trail across the DuPont property (shown in Figure 2). The use of this trail by OFSC members is permitted under an agreement, renewed annually, between the Club and Ontario Parks. The trail receives unauthorized use by all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorcycles in summer. In zone NR1, the trail crosses an aging bridge over Hoasic Creek and comes within 65 m of the heronry. In the interim, snowmobiling will be permitted to continue as a non-conforming use along the existing route only in the winter, and Ontario Parks will work with the OFSC to restrict ATVs from the park and to control off-season access to areas where the trail approaches sensitive features. Use of the trail will be subject to timing and snow depth restrictions so as to avoid disturbing the heronry or negatively impacting soil and vegetation along the trail. Snowmobiling will only be permitted to take place between December 1 and March 10 annually. At such time that the existing snowmobile bridge requires repair or replacement, evaluation under A Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves would include consideration of all reasonable route alternatives. The trail may then be relocated to an area where it would have the least amount of environmental impact. If the trail ever ceases to be used by the OFSC, it will be closed and rehabilitated.
Other than snowmobile use, there will be no authorized trails for mechanized recreational use. The park contains significant life science features that are sensitive to mechanized traffic, and severe damage to these park values resulting from unauthorized ATVs use has been documented. Park resources will be committed toward monitoring and enforcing restrictions on recreational mechanized vehicle use.
Park staff may use mechanized vehicles (e.g. motorboats, motor vehicles) in the park only as necessary and with the approval of the Park Superintendent for emergency, enforcement or park management purposes. Motorized vehicle use within the park will be avoided as much as possible.
In implementing the approved park management plan, Ontario Parks may pursue opportunities for partnerships involving other agencies and groups through formal partnership agreements. Partners may represent the local community, and local and provincial interests. Partners will work with Ontario Parks to assist with implementing the approved park management plan and following provincial park policies and regulations.
Ontario Parks may establish a local stewardship group to support park management.
9.0 Marketing and communications
Standard promotional strategies, including road signs and identification on maps may publicize opportunities for self-directed nature appreciation at DuPont Provincial Park.
10.0 Development policies
All development undertaken by Ontario Parks, or by partners on its behalf, will comply with A Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserve, and will be carried out in accordance with approved site and development plans that meet development standards for provincial parks.
Areas proposed for development will require prior assessment for significant cultural heritage features and natural values – such as species at risk – to ensure these values are identified and protected at the site.
Only very basic visitor services will be provided within DuPont Provincial Park and these will be developed in areas that are least sensitive to impact. Development within the park will be limited to pedestrian trails
10.1 Parking lot
The park’s designated entry point will be the access zone (see Figure 2) via a small gated, gravel parking lot and trailhead – possibly including a display or sign – that will be developed on the north side of County Road 2 in conjunction with the proposed trail network at this location. The park does not intend to provide washroom facilities.
In zone NR3, all or parts of the existing trails may be integrated into a modest network of hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails, depending on local interest and funding availability. This proposed trail network will be designed to highlight the park’s natural features and to minimize environmental impact by visitors. Proposed locations and standards of development will be made available for public review and comment before the trails are built.
11.0 Implementation priorities
Ontario Parks will implement the DuPont Provincial Park Management Plan in accordance with provincial parks policies and our agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Park development, operations and resource stewardship will depend on funding availability and unforeseeable changes in priorities or policy. Implementation of the management plan and operation of the park will meet the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act, Environmental Bill of Rights, Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, Endangered Species Act, and other pertinent legislation.
All aspects of park management, development and operation will be undertaken in accordance with the requirements of A Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves.
Park resource management, operations, and development proposals will be phased in as follows (listed in priority order):
11.1 Resource management projects
- Update the park’s life science inventory;
- Assess management strategies for the railway spur line easement held by RohMax Canada Inc., in collaboration with the plant manager; and
- Fully assess the status of the heronry every 5 years, with rapid assessments every 2-3 years in between.
11.2 Operations projects
- Control unauthorized recreational mechanized vehicle use in the park;
- Properly dispose of garbage that has been dumped in the park;
- Stop neighbouring residents from maintaining a mowed buffer on park property;
- Develop suitable interpretive materials for the park;
- Establish a local stewardship group for the park; and
- Subject to the safety of the bridge, conduct an evaluation under the Class EA PPCR for relocation of the snowmobile trail
11.3 Development projects
- Install fencing, barriers, gates and signs, as required;
- Develop a small parking area in the access zone to serve as the designated entry to the park and to the proposed trail network;
- Draft a trail development plan; and
- Develop a trail network for pedestrian travel in the North Eastern Block nature reserve zone.
12.0 Summary of public consultation
DuPont Provincial Park is the result of combined effort by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and Ontario Parks, working through the Legacy 2000 program. When the property was acquired by NCC, local awareness of its natural values and the need for its protection was limited. Increasing this awareness became one of the objectives of the public consultation process.
Public consultation was a very important part of the DuPont park management planning process. There were four phases in the planning and public consultation process:
Phase 1: Invitation to participate
Phase 2: Background information
Phase 3: Preliminary Park Management Plan
Phase 4: Approved Park Management Plan
The methods of consultation used during release of park management planning documents were as follows:
- Mandatory Contacts list, as per Provincial Park Policy
- Individuals/groups/agencies that responded to the Invitation to Participate
- Residents and corporate managers of adjacent lands
- Local First Nations community
- New individuals and groups who requested to be added to the mailing list (this was ongoing through the planning process)
Notices of DuPont park management planning were placed in the following newspapers:
- Cornwall Standard Freeholder
- Brockville Recorder & Times
- Morrisburg Leader
- Chesterville Record
Media interest in the DuPont park management planning process included interviews and inquiries from the Morrisburg Leader, Winchester Press, Chesterville Record, Iroquois Chieftan and the Cornwall Standard Freeholder.
Policy proposal notices (EBR Registry Number PB01E3020) and a decision notice posted on the Environmental Registry website advertised the opportunities for public review under the Environmental Bill of Rights.
All DuPont Provincial Park planning documents and related files were made available from the Ontario Parks Southeast Zone office in Kingston. Responses to individual enquiries were provided by phone, e-mail or in person.
12.1 Public consultation at each phase
Phase 1 - Invitation to participate; Terms of Reference
The Terms of Reference for this park management planning project was approved by the Managing Director of Ontario Parks in September 2001. The public was invited to participate in the process beginning in October 2001, and was notified through the methods of consultation outlined above.
Phase 2 - Background information
The Background Information document was released February 18, 2002. This document presented an inventory and analysis of resources within the proposed DuPont Provincial Park, including natural and cultural heritage, social and economic benefits and use. Park classification, goal, objectives and zoning policy were proposed.
The Background Information document and an accompanying questionnaire were distributed in January 2002 by postal mail (print copy) or e-mail (link to electronic copy) to approximately 70 mandatory and local contacts / groups. A notice was posted on the Environmental Registry on February 18, 2002, announcing the 45-day review period; soon after, an open house was held in Morrisburg, when approximately 50 people were able to meet the planning team and provide their input into the project.
Public consultation showed strong support for allowing the existing snowmobile trail to remain within the park, so as to maintain the connection between Morrisburg and Riverside. Other topics that received several comments during public review of the Background Information document were: enhancing water quality in Hoasic Creek, creating a stewardship group and developing other partnerships with the community, and wildlife management concerns from deer and goose overpopulation and the loss of hunting opportunity. A summary of public response to the Background Information document is available on file at the Ontario Parks Southeast Zone office.
Phase 3 - Preliminary Management Plan
The Preliminary Management Plan was released in September of 2005. This document presented the proposed management direction for DuPont Provincial Park, including park classification, goal and objectives; boundary; zoning; and policies for resource management, operation and development. The Preliminary Management Plan also provided a detailed summary of comments received during the background information stage of park management planning.
The Preliminary Management Plan was distributed by postal mail (print copy) or e-mail (link to electronic copy) to approximately 121 mandatory and local contacts / groups and notices were placed in local media. Copies of this document were made available from the Southeast Zone office of Ontario Parks. A notice was posted on the Environmental Registry on September 13, 2005, announcing the 45-day review period. Two open houses were held in Morrisburg in early September 2005 (one weeknight and one weekend event), and were attended by approximately 39 people.
In general, respondents were supportive of the new park, although the local municipality expressed dissatisfaction with the change in land use and its consequences. A special presentation was made to Township council and invited guests to provide opportunity for additional discussion regarding the creation and management of DuPont Provincial Park. The greatest concern for the majority of respondents was the continued existence of the snowmobile trail within the park, with most respondents showing strong support for leaving the trail in its place and directing efforts toward keeping ATVs out of the park. Other topics of concern included permitted recreational activities (fishing, hunting, canoeing in Hoasic Creek) and management of vegetation (railway spur line) and wildlife (deer, coyotes, goose and beaver).
In response to the comments received regarding the snowmobile trail, Ontario Parks revised the proposed policy for the trail, to allow it to remain at its existing location in the interim. In April 2006, additional consultation was sought from 46 individuals and groups (40 local contacts and six contacts from the Ontario Parks mandatory contacts list) that had previously commented on this policy, and a 28-day comment period was provided for review of the proposed new policy. Five responses were received, with all respondents being in favour of the new proposal.
A summary of public response to the Preliminary Management Plan document and subsequent scoped consultation is available on file at the Ontario Parks Southeast Zone office.
Phase 4 – Approved Park Management Plan
In addition to minor wording changes to clarify policies in this plan, and formatting changes to bring the document up to current standard, review of the preliminary plan resulted in the following two major modifications:
- Railway line maintenance along the easement (Section 7.8): The preliminary plan stated that “only mechanical means such as mowing will be used to manage vegetation on the easement along the railway spur line into the RohMax Canada Inc. plant”. However, the current easement agreement allows RohMax Canada Inc. to manage vegetation along the railway spur line as they determine to be best. Although the preference of Ontario Parks is toward mechanical vegetation management, RohMax may continue to use chemical spraying, as necessary, to manage vegetation along the spur line for the duration of the current easement agreement.
- Snowmobile trail policy (Section 8.2.2): Rather than closing the existing trail, the route will be permitted to temporarily remain at its current location, subject to timing and snow depth restrictions. During this time, impacts of the trail on park values and use will be monitored. The long-term intent is to re-route the trail to a location with the fewest impacts, to bedetermined through assessment under A Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves.
Ontario Parks will retain on file reference copies of the Terms of Reference, Background Information, the Preliminary Management Plan and the approved Park Management Plan.
13.0 Plan amendment and review
The park management plan may be reviewed or amended to address changing issues or conditions. At ten year intervals, this plan will be examined for the need for a review or amendment. A review may involve a reassessment of all or part of the plan, including classification, zoning, goal, objectives and all resource management, operations and development policies. An amendment can be considered to address specific issues or needs.
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Chabot, A. 2001. Assessment of the DuPont Nature Reserve Heronry. Prepared for Ontario Parks, South East Zone, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 33 pp. + appendices.
Custodianship Agreement between the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ontario Parks, June 3, 1998.
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Official Plan of the Township of Williamsburg, Cornwall: United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, 1985.
Official Plan of the Village of Morrisburg, Cornwall: United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, 1985.
Van Sleeuwen, M. 2006. Natural Fire Regimes in Ontario. MNR, Queen’s Printer for Ontario, Toronto. 143 pp.
- footnote Back to paragraph Future development may be required to accommodate the snowmobile trail at a new location, should an evaluation under A Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves deem it necessary to move the existing trail. Policies for the snowmobile trail are detailed in Section 8.2.2.