Have you driven by the forested areas along County Road 2 between Morrisburg and Riverside Heights wondering who owned the land and if it might be okay to take a hike there?
Well, as it turns out, the land in question is the DuPont Provincial Park and, yes, it is okay to hike there.
“Planning for this park has been going on for years but the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) regulated it as a provincial park in June 2011,” reported Jolanta Kowalski, Senior Media Relations Officer for the MNR.
According to the Ontario Parks website, the 614 hectares of land “was acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) from DuPont Canada, through a combination of purchases and donations in 1997 and 1998, in order to establish the site as a nature reserve.”
Kowalski explained that the “NCC owns the land and it is managed in partnership with Ontario Parks.”
Ontario Parks revealed that “nature reserve parks are established to represent and protect the distinctive natural habitats and landforms of the province. These areas are protected for educational and research purposes.”
“Due to the fragility of many of these natural features, only a few nature reserves are accessible to the public.”
The MNR reported that DuPont Park has 1,500 meters of frontage on the St. Lawrence River and it is “home to mature hardwood forest, a coastal wetland and one of the largest heron nesting areas in Eastern Ontario.”
Kowalski told the Leader “this is a non-operating park and there are no designated access points or entrance areas. There are no designated trails.”
Ontario Parks explained: “a non-operating park has no fees or staff on site and only limited facilities.”
DuPont Park “is open to people who want to walk around but it’s not ‘maintained’ (no washrooms, trail grooming, camping, and so on) like some other parks,” said Kowalski.
For those readers who have dogs and love to hike off-trail, she confirmed that “dogs are permitted in all of our Ontario Parks as long as they are kept on a leash no longer than two meters and owners must clean up after them.”