Thousand Islands National Park of Canada

Park Management

Thousand Islands National Park 2010 Management Plan

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What is a management plan?

A park management plan is a document that sets the direction for the years ahead.  It outlines the park’s goals and the actions necessary to preserve the natural environment and provide relevant services to people.  Decisions related to land use, research, and programming are made based on the most recent management plan.  The management plan is updated every 5 years to take into consideration local, regional, and national changes in the environment, society, and economic development.

Introduction

Thousand Islands National Park of Canada
Thousand Islands National Park of Canada
© B. Morin

Since its establishment in 1904, the community has been a key component in shaping what Thousand Islands National Park (SLINP) is today. Many groups, organizations and other partners have helped Thousand Islands National Park to balance protection of the Thousand Islands area with provision of meaningful opportunities for people to continue to enjoy this unique and special place.

The years have witnessed much change locally, regionally and nationally. The pace of change in the environment and in Canadian society is increasing with rapid urbanization, increasing stress on natural ecosystems and a rising awareness of the fragile connection between a healthy ecology and a sustained quality of life.  A Management Plan is about the role the national park will play into the future to provide benefit and relevant services to Canadians and a commitment to work with communities, organizations and individuals for a sustainable future and to sustain or improve the ecological integrity of the park.

The Park Vision for 2015


© Parks Canada
Where Land Meets Water and People Live

Thousand Islands National Park is where the bones of mother earth emerge from the waters of one of the world’s great rivers. Long regarded as a sacred area and meeting place by Aboriginal people because of its natural beauty and bounty, the Thousand Islands, represented by the Park, is a legacy to be cherished, enjoyed and protected for the benefit of all. The Park is a place of beauty and a host to an immense variety of plants and wildlife that persist in a relatively healthy ecosystem. It is a model of respect and responsibility for the land that sustains all life.

Thousand Islands National Park is for the benefit, use and enjoyment of Canadians, attracting visitors to learn and experience the Park and region.  The Park is a community partner linking the efforts of many towards managing the landscape in a sustainable manner and is a catalyst to collaborative work between governments, organizations and communities. It is a regional showcase known throughout the Southern Ontario and the National Capital region for its outstanding experiences, creative and inspiring programming, progressive management of the ecosystem and leadership in stewardship. 

Thousand Islands National Park is an ambassador for Parks Canada. Aboriginal traditional knowledge and cultures are celebrated. It is a model of stewardship in action and memorable visitor experiences in a sustainable landscape.

The national parks of Canada are hereby dedicated to the people of Canada for their benefit, education and enjoyment, subject to this Act and the regulations, and the parks shall be maintained and made use of so as to leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

Canada National Parks Act Dedication Clause

Aboriginal Partnerships

Programs for all ages.
Programs for all ages.
© B. Morin

Aboriginal presence in this area reaches back as far as 7,000 years. The First Nations people have a profound stewardship message, based on respect and responsibility for the land. It is proposed that through partnerships, visitors and residents will learn from the Mohawks of Akwesasne about historical and contemporary use of the landscape including traditional place names and plant use.  Resource management practices, visitor experience and educational programs will be enriched through the integration of traditional Aboriginal knowledge.

For the benefit, education and enjoyment of Canadians

Programs for all ages.
Outreach education at Landon Bay Lookout.
© Parks Canada
Thousand Islands National Park is committed to preserving and celebrating the values and attributes of the 1000 Islands Region with our communities. In a rapidly urbanizing society, the Park must be responsive to the needs of urban Canadians as well as area residents and traditional users.  

There is a strong connection between people and this landscape that needs to be told.  By inviting long- time residents, river guides, area farmers and loggers and Aboriginal elders to tell their stories, visitors will learn about the natural and cultural heritage of this diverse area.  Do you have a family history or story about the 1000 Islands that you would like to share?

On the Mainland

Hiker at Jones Creek.
Hiker at Jones Creek.
© Parks Canada
Located on the doorstep of the nation’s capital and close to the major urban centres of Toronto and Montreal, SLINP is geographically well positioned to reach out and encourage our urban neighbours, our young people and new Canadians to experience a national park.  SLINP will offer many reasons for a “land-based” person to visit, to enjoy and to learn from park programs and activities.

 At the moment, the Park lacks a venue, or focal point, for engaging regional residents, its stakeholders and visitors. With the new lands on the mainland comes an incredible opportunity to create a stronger mainland presence and also provide more meaningful experiences for visitors, at the same time as involving residents, Aboriginal partners and stakeholders in a creative partnership for conservation.   The Park is proposing a meeting place to bring regional residents and visitors together to engage in a dialogue, share, listen and learn from each other.

Expanding visitor experiences. Planning new mainland trails.
Expanding visitor experiences. Planning new mainland trails.
© Parks Canada

In the near future, residents and visitors will experience the Park by hiking along the network of mainland trails under development at Jones Creek and Landon Bay, two of the most beautiful areas in the 1000 Islands. At both locations, the trails will be suitable for different skill levels and provide a variety of educational and recreational opportunities. It is proposed that experiencing the mainland of the Park will be a four-season opportunity for residents and visitors to benefit from and enjoy this national park.

While the Park can take some actions to restore ecosystem integrity on its lands, it is proposed that the most important action it can take to ensure the future health of the Park is to reach out to regional residents and continue to build a culture of conservation and sustainable use. These outreach efforts must lead to a landscape with improved habitat connectivity and an increased understanding of the need for various management actions within the Park that will improve its ecological integrityand promote sustainable communities. 

Balancing boaters' needs with resource protection.
Balancing boaters’ needs with resource protection.
© B. Morin
On the Islands

It is proposed that island users will have the choice between two different island experiences, each attractive in its own way. Following on an assessment of the needs of the boating visitors, visitor impacts and the operational capacity of the Park, we reached the conclusion that two service models will balance the needs of boaters with the ecological integrity of these precious islands.

The proposal is that the majority of Park islands will reflect the natural setting many island visitors have expressed as their preference.

  • composting toilets
  • primitive camping sites
  • a pack-in, pack-out ethic
  • self-guided trail pamphlets
  • no generator use
  • sale of firewood
  • day use docking opportunities
  • mooring buoys

Three islands, Grenadier, McDonald, and Beaurivage, will provide additional services including:

  • garbage collection sites
  • potable water
  • generator use.

In response to the concerns expressed by visitors about respecting the Park and their fellow visitor, the Park is proposing to further investigative actions that foster positive and safe use of the Park. We intend to evaluate all aspects of island access (e.g. anchoring, docking designation, docking design, etc). We have discussed increasing dock availability for day use and the safety aspect of large boats on small docks.

This approach for the islands balances the integrity of natural and cultural resources, the capacity of the Park, educational opportunities and the enjoyment and benefit of the boating visitor.

Thousand Islands National Park of Canada
© Francis / Leggo

Preserving Our Natural Legacy

Green technology- Wind turbine at Mallorytown Landing.
Green technology- Wind turbine at Mallorytown Landing.
© Parks Canada

Thousand Islands National Park is a crucial link in the Algonquin to Adirondacks Wildlife Connectivity Corridor. It is embedded in the landscape and vulnerable to what happens around it. Not surprisingly, an assessment of the state of the park determined that habitat loss and fragmentation, coupled with physical environmental changes such as climate change and the introduction of exotic species, are critical issues affecting the future well-being of the Park and region.

The Park will undertake management actions to restore and enhance ecological integrity within the park boundary as the first priority.

Composting toilet - a visitor favourite.
Composting toilet - a visitor favourite.
© Parks Canada

Accordingly we propose to:

  • research and monitor relevant ecological issues including public values, needs and desires,
  • develop appropriate action plans leading to the recovery of Species at Risk,
  • lead in the use of green technologies and stewardship practices,
  • work with regional residents and community organizations to promote stewardship on the landscape,
  • establish the Park as a centre of ecosystem science expertise in the region and as a prominent partner with other organizations on this landscape,
  • engage in habitat restoration and enhancement, control of hyper-abundant species and restoration of fire as a tool, so that the ecological condition of the landscape improves in a fashion that will persist over time,
  • provide educational opportunities to visitors and residents based on environmental citizenship, stewardship practices and sound scientific information.
Working with neighbours -planting native wildflowers at Mallorytown Landing.
Working with neighbours -planting native wildflowers at Mallorytown Landing.
© Parks Canada

We will work to develop public understanding of the fragility of ecosystems and the link between ecological health and a sustained high quality of life. With your support and assistance, we will conserve our natural heritage for future generations. 


Hyperabundant Species
Shoreline rehabilitation at Landing.
Shoreline rehabilitation at Landing.
© Parks Canada

A hyperabundant species is when a species’ population has grown to the point where it exceeds the capacity of the landscape to provide enough suitable habitat. Over several years of monitoring and study of white-tailed deer in the Park, it has been confirmed that the Hill Island deer population is creating significant environmental impact. The Park is analysing options for restoring ecological balance to Hill Island, which could include herd reduction as an option.

Land-Use Zoning
Critical to a variety of plant and animal species, wetlands are under pressure.
Critical to a variety of plant and animal species, wetlands are under pressure.
© Parks Canada

Land-use zoning classifies land according to resource protection requirements and ability to accommodate use. Building upon the 1998 Management Plan, it is proposed that SLINP’s zoning plan will be simplified to accurately reflect the Park’s land management objectives.  Zone 2, Wilderness Area, will be the base level of protection with Zone 1 used where sensitive resources require it and Zone 3 where services are concentrated.  The Mallorytown Landing compound would remain as a Zone 5, park service area. For more information on park zones see Parks Canada's National Parks Policy

Map
Land Acquisition

It is proposed that limited land acquisitions will be made for ecological reasons and to enhance visitor experience opportunities.  Lands will be either gifted or acquired on a willing seller, willing buyer arrangement. The lands the Park has acquired and will acquire will be brought under the protection of the Canada National Parks Act. This action creates the obligation to preserve and protect the lands for all time.

Regional Influence
View from Landon Bay Lookout.
View from Landon Bay Lookout.
© B. Morin

The fragmented land holdings of the Park are too small and too separated to be able to maintain ecological integrity on their own. It is proposed that as a core protected area in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, Thousand Islands National Park will work collaboratively with partners, local communities, and private landowners to encourage responsible land use practices and decisions. The Park depends strongly on the surrounding communities to sustain and improve its ecological integrity.  The long-term ecological health of the region has a direct impact on everyone’s quality of life and is dependent on the support and enthusiastic engagement of landowners and residents.

International Role

The Park’s location on an international border and as a core protected area within the UNESCO designated Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, positions it on an international stage. We propose to continue to work with New York State and United States conservation agencies on common issues that require international cooperation for effective solutions. The Park also proposes to continue to work closely with the Biosphere Network organizations and other stakeholders dedicated to a sustainable future.

Properties Administered by Parks Canada - Main Duck and Yorkshire Islands, Skoryna Nature Reserve at Lower Beverly Lake

The Management Plan will affirm a caretaker role for these properties that does not compromise their future.

Black-Legged Tick and Lyme Disease

Black-legged ticks and Lyme disease are now present throughout the Frontenac Arch Region. The Park will support Health Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Health Units, tourism operators and other stakeholders to raise public awareness.


Discussing the Citizen Science project with private landowners.
Discussing the Citizen Science project with private landowners.
© Parks Canada
Thousand Islands National Park of Canada
Thousand Islands National Park of Canada
© Parks Canada