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Point Pelee National Park Temporarily Closed to Visitors January 5–20

Boardwalk at Point Pelee National Park. Photo by Mike Gosselin

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 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 high population (hyperabundance) 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 over-browsing, the deer in the park are consuming and damaging native plants faster than they can regenerate, and 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, experiences mild winters, and, most importantly, 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 and 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, which includes ecosystem monitoring, deer population monitoring, species at risk protection, ongoing research and collaboration, and reducing 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.

 

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