The Park has seen another very busy year with lots of new visitors looking to come out and explore Presqu’ile. The new pilot program for daily vehicle reservations is working well and has prevented most of the large line-ups that we saw last summer. This system has also reduced the overcrowding and over-use the park saw last summer, allowing the park to “rest”, as it were. The day use reservation program continues through the 2021 season. Ontario Parks continues to monitor visitor feedback as well as how visitors are using advance permits.
While the summer may be drawing to a close, activity at the park certainly isn’t. This year the campgrounds will be open until October 31st - allowing for lots of time for some fall camping. Fall is a great time to come camping as there are fewer bugs and the park is also quieter, especially on weekdays.
In the early summer when we were still in Stage Two, we tried an outdoor Nature Centre where we brought some of the exhibits outside to show and engage with visitors. It was very well received and some days we had more visitors than we do on a normal day with the inside open!
Once we entered Stage Three, we were able to open both the Nature Centre and Lighthouse Interpretive Centre for inside visitors. It was great to have visitors inside the Lighthouse Centre again after being closed last summer.
This summer the Discovery staff also offered drop-in style ‘Ask the Naturalist’ programs around the park - it was great to be able to get out and talk to visitors again even if it was from a distance.
This fall we are hoping to have the Nature Centre open on Saturdays until Thanksgiving and hopefully offer some fall programs depending on COVID-19 restrictions.
The monarch butterflies are beginning to gather around the park in small numbers, so look for their numbers to continue to grow. Generally, the first two weeks in September is when we see the peak numbers of monarchs, look for them along the beaches and at Owen Point.
Low water levels this summer means that the vegetation has grown thick around Owen Point and the natural beaches. Providing lots of protective cover for the migrating shorebirds but this means it is a lot harder for the birdwatchers to find the birds!