Point Pelee National Park

Point Pelee National Park to Be Temporarily Closed January 5–20, 2023

Winter sunrise at Point Pelee

To ensure the long-term health of Point Pelee National Park’s sensitive ecosystems, Parks Canada and Caldwell First Nation will be conducting a deer population reduction activity in the park between January 5 and January 20, 2023, inclusive.

Public safety is of the utmost importance to Parks Canada and therefore Point Pelee National Park will be closed to visitors during this time. The park will reopen on January 21, 2023.

Parks Canada is responsible for maintaining and restoring ecological health in national parks. A hyperabundance, which is a high population, of white-tailed deer in Point Pelee National Park is a serious threat to forest and savannah health and the species that depend on these precious habitats.

Through overbrowsing, the deer in the park are consuming and damaging native plants faster than they can regenerate. This is threatening the health of the Carolinian Forest which is home to a number of species at risk, such as the red mulberry tree, eastern wood-pewee, and eastern foxsnake.

Deer are also jeopardizing efforts to restore the Lake Erie Sand Spit Savannah, a globally rare ecosystem that supports 25% of the species at risk in the park, including the five-lined skink.

Based on over 30 years of research and monitoring, a healthy and balanced environment in Point Pelee National Park would ideally support 24 to 32 deer. It is estimated that the current deer herd population is two times higher than this target.

Point Pelee National Park is home to a large amount of leafy vegetation, and experiences mild winters. Most importantly, the park lacks natural predators such as wolves, bears and cougars which would have normally kept the deer population in balance.

Population reduction is reserved for situations of absolute necessity. Parks Canada has been collaborating with Caldwell First Nation for a number of years to actively manage the deer population in order to protect the park’s sensitive ecosystems.

The deer reduction activity is part of the Hyperabundant Deer Management Program. The program includes ecosystem monitoring, deer population monitoring, species at risk protection, and ongoing research and collaboration. The program reduces the white-tailed deer population to sustainable levels based on the park’s goals to achieve ecological integrity — the health and wholeness of the environment and nature.

For more information, including up-to-date information on the park’s closures:

For information about hyperabundant species in Point Pelee National Park, please visit Hyperabundant species management – Point Pelee National Park (canada.ca)

Photo by Mike Gosselin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *