Historical day for Mississagi Provincial Park

By Rosalind Russell – It was a historical day for the Mississagi Provincial Park located north of Elliot Lake.

The Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks David Piccini with Elliot Lake Acting Mayor Andrew Wannan, Mississauga First Nation Chief Bob Chiblow and Serpent River First Nation Chief Brent Bissaillion signed a new operating agreement for the park yesterday morning,

Piccini says the Ontario government fully endorses the agreement with the Mississagi Park Foundation, which means support and advocacy for the park.

The three community leaders, now equal partners in operating the park, all agree that it took many years of hard work and determination to form the partnership and reach the agreement. They say they’re now looking forward to developing the opportunities the park will provide in supporting the wider community.

The agreement protects the nearly 5,000 hectares of parkland with the park opening to visitors this Spring. 

Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Greg Rickford concurred adding he acknowledges the hard work that had been carried out especially now that the public will be able to visit the park and also experience the local Indigenous culture. 

The agreement ensures visitors will find many new amenities to explore the nearly 5,000 hectares of parkland now protected by the agreement.

Mississagi Provincial Park was established in 1965. It consists of more than 12,100 acres (4,900 hectares) of pristine wilderness.

The park is classified as a Natural Environment Park because of its significant, preserved natural features, such as its rolling hills, forests, lakes and streams.

Visitors can paddle pristine lakes, hike numerous trails and explore abandoned copper mines and logging camps from the area’s industrial past.

In 2021, Mississagi Provincial Park hosted over 19,000 visits.

In addition to Mississagi Provincial Park, Ontario Parks has operating agreements with four Indigenous communities, including Beausoleuil First Nation to operate Springwater Provincial Park, Moose Cree First Nation to operate Tidewater Provincial Park, Curve Lake First Nation to operate the visitor centre at Petroglyphs Provincial Park and Lac La Croix to operate park entry stations and maintenance of canoe portages at Quetico Provincial Park.

Photos :  1. Crest: In celebration of this new operating agreement, the Mississagi Park Foundation has released a redesigned park crest. The new crest predominately features a thunderbird, a mythological creature routed in Indigenous storytelling and tradition, the Helenbar Lookout, a unique geographic element in the park, as well as shades of orange, symbolizing the ongoing journey of truth and reconciliation.

2. It wouldn’t be a celebration without cake.

3. Unveiling the new park crest.

Photos provided by Amanda Brodhagen

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