March 6, 2001

The Dalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park Interim Management Statement provides direction for the custodial management of Dalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park until such time as a Park Management Plan may be prepared. An Interim Management Statement, by design, is primarily an internal document intended to provide short-term guidance for Ontario Parks' managers and staff. The Interim Management Statement will govern all activities occurring within the park and focus on custodial management required to protect park values and ensure public health and safety.

Questions or requests for additional copies of this document should be directed to:

Park Superintendent
Balsam Lake Provincial Park
R.R. #1
Kirkfield, ON K0M 2B0

I am pleased to approve the Dalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park Interim Management Statement.

Brian Pfrimmer, Manager
Central Zone
Ontario Parks

Background Information

NameDalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park
ClassificationNatural Environment
Site Region / Site District5E-8
OMNR Administrative Region / DistrictSouth Central Region / Bancroft and Parry Sound Districts
Total Area (ha)34,113
Regulation DateN/A


Survey LevelEarth ScienceLife ScienceCulturalRecreationalOther
Reconnaissance / Check Sheets20002000 2000 
Earth Science RepresentationThe Park is a large area of mainly low relief, numerous elongated and arcuate small lakes and extensive, bedrock barrens. The dominant rock types are granitic to monzonitic; intermediate gneisses; migmatites and gneisses of indeterminate origin and younger pegmatites of the Fishog Domain, Algonquin Terrane, in the southeast part of the Central Gneiss Belt of the Proterozoic Grenville Province.
Life Science RepresentationPreliminary inventories have identified seven forest Ecosite Types and over 100 plant species. Open bedrock barrens provide ideal habitat for the Five-lined Skink, a rare reptile, which has been recorded in the area. Dalton-Digby Wildlands provides a large intact contiguous tract of wilderness with minimal disturbance.
Cultural Resources RepresentationN/A
Recreational OpportunitiesCanoeing / Kayaking, Hiking, Swimming, Hunting, Fishing, Nature Appreciation

1.0 Introduction

On July 16, 1999, the Ontario Government released the Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy to guide the planning and management of Crown lands in central and parts of northern Ontario. A major part of the land use strategy was the government intent to establish 378 new protected areas. Dalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park is part of this significant expansion of Ontario’s protected areas system.

This is the most diverse and least disturbed natural area in site district 5E-8, containing more than 50 landform vegetation patterns. There has been a limited history of logging in the area. This area has mostly low rolling topography which includes organic soils, flat sandy deposits, bare bedrock plain and bare bedrock uplands with shallow soil patches.

The northwestern portion of the site in the District Municipality of Muskoka (Gravenhurst) includes Crown land portions of the provincially significant Lewisham Wetland as well as Riley Lake Barrens. Both of these sites have been evaluated and rated by the District Municipality of Muskoka as Muskoka heritage Areas. In addition to these sites is the Dalton Black Ash swamp.

2.0 Classification

Dalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park is classified as a Natural Environment park in recognition of its outstanding recreational landscape with representative natural and historical features that can provide high quality recreational and educational experiences.

3.0 Boundary

This large tract of Crown land stretches between Minden and the northern tip of the City of Kawartha Lakes (formerly Victoria County) and the southern portions of the District Municipality of Muskoka. The boundary is irregular and is located within the following five townships: Ryde, Anson, Dalton, Digby, and Lutterworth. The park’s boundary is shown in Figure 1. The park is 34,113 hectares in size.

4.0 Zoning

Dalton-Digby Wildlands will initially be zoned entirely as a Natural Environment Zone. All known significant natural features will be identified and measures to ensure their protection will be outlined in a future management plan.

5.0 Interim management guidelines

Unless otherwise noted, the management policies for Natural Environment class parks, presented in Ontario Provincial Parks: Planning and Management Policies will apply to this site (Appendix 1).

In the implementation of the approved Interim Management Statement, Ontario Parks may pursue opportunities for partnerships involving other agencies and groups. Park management and stewardship will be contingent upon availability of funding and unforeseeable changes in priorities or policy. All management and stewardship activities will meet the Environmental Assessment Act, Provincial Parks Act and other pertinent legislation.

5.1 Natural Resource Stewardship

The protection of provincially significant, special or representative life and earth science features will be the highest priority of Dalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park.

Management of the area will ideally allow natural processes to continue to influence the ecology of the park where possible. A resource stewardship plan may be considered once a detailed life science inventory is completed.

All fires will be suppressed due to the adjacent private land holdings. Fire management through prescribed burning will not be considered at this time. Fire management policies will be reviewed during a full management planning process.

Present wildlife management practices may be continued through partnerships and stewardship agreements.

5.2 Cultural resources

There has not been an assessment of cultural resources for Dalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park. An historical study on the park may be considered prior to the initiation of the management planning process.

5.3 Recreational activities

As noted in the Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy, angling and hunting occurring within the park boundary will be permitted to continue.

Low-impact recreational activities such as hiking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking and nature-appreciation will be permitted and encouraged.

Camping opportunities may be established through a management planning process. Present campsites may be rehabilitated to their natural state.

Any recreational activity found to have a negative impact on the protection objectives of Dalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park will have appropriate actions taken to minimize continued damage.

5.4 Land tenure

No private lands are included in the park. There are no Licences of Occupation or Crown Leases. There are 39 active Land Use Permits for various facilities in addition to any snowmobile trails. These permits will be continued and are eligible for enhanced tenure, but will not allow for the purchase of the land.

5.5 Existing and proposed development

There is no proposed development for Dalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park at this time. A management planning process will be completed prior to any future development. However signage and information kiosks may be established.

5.6 Commercial activities

As outlined in the Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy , commercial timber harvest, aggregate and mineral extraction, and hydro development will not be permitted.

There are 11 identified Bait Fish Areas, 15 registered trap lines and six Bear Management Areas within Dalton-Digby Wildlands Provincial Park. These will be permitted to continue. No new operations will be permitted.

5.7 Aboriginal interests

Dalton-Digby Wildlands is not subject to any native land claims. It does however fall within the Robinson-Huron Treaty area.

5.8 Client services

Natural Heritage Education programs and services are not being considered at present, but may be considered through the management planning process. Basic information on the park may be provided through Ontario Parks' printed media and web site. Self-interpretation will be encouraged.

5.9 Research

Research by universities and other qualified applicants will be encouraged. All research activities will conform to the Ontario Parks Research and Information Strategy, and Ontario Parks policies. Prior written permission will be required. All research will be non-intrusive in order to safeguard protection objectives.

Research priorities will be established through the management planning process. Research may deal with all aspects of scientific study, inventory or surveys of vegetation, ecological, cultural and recreational resources and processes.

5.10 Marketing

A marketing strategy is not a priority for the park. A marketing strategy may be considered when further information on park values is obtained.

6.0 References

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (1999). Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy .Queen’s Printer for Ontario.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (1994). Park Policy, Procedure and Bulletin. "PM 11.02.01, Preparation of Interim Management Statements" Provincial Park Operations Branch.

Brunton, Daniel (1993). Life Science Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest in Site District 5E-8 A Review and Assessment of Significant Natural Areas in Site District 5E-8 Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Science and Technology Section.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (1992). Ontario Provincial Parks Planning and Management Policies. Toronto: Parks and Natural Heritage Policy Branch.

Ontario Ministry of Northern development and Mines (1986). Ontario Geological survey Open File Report 5601 Geology of the Digby - Lutterworth Area Haliburton and Victoria Counties. Queen’s printer for Ontario.

Reid, Ron and Bonnie Bergsma (1993). Draft Integration Report. Muskoka Heritage Areas Program, District Municipality of Muskoka and Muskoka Heritage Foundation.