A New Era
Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, Park planners and concerned citizens worked to develop a strategy which would balance recreation and preservation. The process culminated in 1972 with the introduction and approval of a Master Plan for Point Pelee.
Already, Park officials were attempting to eliminate privately owned property through a "buy-back" program. The Master Plan recommended a continuation of this program until all privately owned lands within the Park's boundary were returned to public ownership.
Planners also felt that camping was too intensive a use, and could best be provided by the private sector in less sensitive areas outside the Park.
Until the early 1970s, access to most areas of the Park was by automobile, with little consideration as to how this affected the environment.
The 1972 Master Plan recommended that a public transit system be used instead of private vehicles, to take visitors to designated areas in the Park. The Point Pelee transit system has eliminated the need, during the peak season, to use the extremely fragile Tip as a huge parking lot. As a bonus, the motorized trams provide the rider a relaxing, enjoyable way to get to the Tip.
As further protection for other sensitive areas, the Park's staff has developed a network of trails extending from the Marsh Boardwalk to the Tip. Some are designed solely as hiking trails. Others are multi-purpose trails for hiking, biking, or cross-country skiing.
Such tactics seem to be working, since many areas of the Park are now regaining their natural character. With this transformation, Point Pelee can once again stand with the rest of Canada's national parks as a place where: " citizens of Canada and visitors from other countries may satisfy a craving for nature and nature's beauty; that we may absorb the poise and restfulness of the forests; that we may steep our souls in the brilliance of wild flowers; that we may develop in ourselves the buoyancy, the joy, in the activity we see in the wild animals; that we may stock our minds with the raw material of intelligent optimism, great thoughts, noble ideas, that we may be made better, happier and healthier. "
James B. Harkin
Reproduced with permission of The Friends of Point Pelee, from Where Canada Begins by James Robertson Graham.
First Commissioner of
National Parks 1911-1936