Ontario Parks will complete a management planning process for Michipicoten Post and Michipicoten Island Provincial Parks. Park management planning will be conducted subject to the direction provided by the Ontario Provincial Parks Management Planning Manual and by Provincial Park Policy PM 11.02, Authority for Provincial Park Management Plans; and Policy and Procedure PM 11.02.02, Approval of Preliminary Park and Recommended Park Management Plans.
Michipicoten Post Provincial Park was originally established as a wilderness area under the Ontario Wilderness Areas Act (May 1971) and was regulated as an historical provincial park under the Provincial Parks Act in June of 1982 (Ontario Regulation 429/82). An interim management statement was approved for the park in 1986 and the park has been managed accordingly since.
The park is located approximately eight kilometres southwest of the town of Wawa and 230 kilometres northwest of Sault Ste. Marie and approximately seven kilometres north of Lake Superior Provincial Park. The park contains 289.0 hectares of land and water along the eastern shore of Lake Superior. It is situated on a sandy delta amongst the rocky shores of Lake Superior at the junction of the Michipicoten Bay and Michipicoten River. This sandy delta offers one of the longest, accessible and scenic sandy beaches along Lake Superior.
Historically, the post was used as a connecting point for the travel routes leading to northwestern, southeastern and interior Ontario including James Bay. The area was used for Aboriginal settlement and as an active fur trading post operated by several companies including the Northwest Company and the Hudson's Bay Company.
The park's natural features include provincially rare and regionally significant plants, seasonal habitats for migratory birds including bald eagles and a scenic landscape along the Lake Superior shoreline.
Michipicoten Island was designated a natural environment provincial park in 1985 under the Provincial Parks Act (Ontario Regulation 45/85). An interim management statement was approved in 1986 and the park has been managed accordingly since. The island is without public facilities as no development has been completed to date.
Michipicoten Island is the third largest island in Lake Superior. The park includes offshore shoals and islands within two-and-one half kilometres of the shore, and encompasses 36, 740 hectares. It is located in the lake's northeastern corner approximately 65 kilometres southwest of the town of Wawa. At its closest point, the island is located 16 kilometres south of Lake Superior Highlands Conservation Reserve on the mainland, just south of Pukaskwa National Park.
The island has many interesting geological features resulting from volcanic activity associated with the Mid-continent Ridge and the more recent glacial activity and weathering.
The island harbours a variety of provincially and regionally significant plants and animals including arctic relics and one of the southernmost populations of Ontario's woodland caribou. Other natural features include an interesting mix of southern Boreal and northern Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forests, various resident and migratory bird species and fisheries associated with the island's inland lakes and Lake Superior.
Aboriginal myths and past activities on the island such as small-scale copper mining, commercial fishing, trapping and lighthouse operation since the 1800's enhance the cultural significance of the park.
Michipicoten Post and Michipicoten Island are regulated separately but have many planning details in common. They will undergo the planning process at the same time to allow for efficient use of resources. Although the planning process is combined, separate management plans will be developed for each park. The approved management plans will establish the goals, objectives and long-term direction for the protection and management of the natural, cultural and heritage resources of these two provincial parks. The primary role of this document is to identify the contribution(s) that Michipicoten Post and Michipicoten Island make to the achievement of the Ontario Provincial Parks system objectives, specifically those of protection and heritage appreciation, and to identify management policies aimed at maintaining or enhancing that contribution. Once approved, the park management plan for Michipicoten Post Provincial Park and Michipicoten Island Provincial Park may be reviewed or amended to address changing issues or conditions.