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Public comment open on designation of new conservation reserve

Forward movement on the designation of Ostrander Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area as a new conservation reserve has been announced by the Ontario government as it seeks comments from the public.

The official process began in September 2020 when Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith brought the then minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to Point Petre to announce plans to project the vegetation and species-at-risk for generations to come.

“With designation, the main thing is all industrial development ceases,” the minister said at the gathering.

“Since 2018, South Shore Joint Initiative has raised awareness about our South Shore, the last undisturbed land along the north shore of Lake Ontario and specifically, Point Petre and Ostrander Point,” said John Hirsch, president of the South Shore Joint Initiative (SSJI). “These globally-significant public lands are internationally recognized as a critical migratory pathway and home to remarkable biodiversity.”

Hirsch notes the wellbeing of the beautiful South Shore and millions of migrating birds, amphibians, plants and reptiles is inextricably linked with the people who enjoy it.

“For these reasons and more, we’re thrilled that public consultation is under way to permanently protect and preserve these lands for current and future generations as a new Conservation Reserve.”

Exploring creation of the new conservation reserve is based on the conservation efforts of the SSJI, a not-for-profit coalition working to protect the Important Bird and Biodiversity Area in the South Shore of Prince Edward County, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, who acquired and is managing privately protected areas in the region.

The lands would become the first new conservation reserve identified since Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy, announced in 1999, which resulted in the creation of 58 new provincial parks and 268 new conservation reserves.

The proposal is to establish more than 4,000 acres on the south shore as a reserve – designed to protect significant natural and cultural features while continuing use for the public to enjoy such as hiking, fishing and birdwatching.

It requires re-designation of the Crown land, a regulatory amendment and environmental assessment. Comments from the public are welcome on these for a 45-day period ending March 12, 2022. Visit the Environmental Registry of Ontario at and search number 019-4597. To comment on the environmental assessment, contact Kendra Couling, Park Planner, Ontario Parks, Southeast Zone 300 Water Street, Peterborough, ON K9J 3C7. Telephone 705-313-6491 or e-mail:

A very short survey has also been created to get answers to specific questions – including what the reserve, if established, should be named. Click here for the survey

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  1. Gary says:

    Some controls on ATV’s is necessary. It cannot be a free for all.

  2. Sam Lanfranco says:

    As a coalition of stakeholder groups work to protect the South Shore lands I hope some thought is given to collaboration to designate (and prepare) a suitable spot as an international Dark Sky location.

  3. Phil Norton says:

    While my interest in preserving these wild lands is my personal need of nature and adventure travel, we conservationists need to respect the long-time County traditions of hunting and all terrain vehicles. Yes, these activities are harmful to wildlife and their habitat but it’s a human population which will support the prohibition of industrial activity and residential or commercial development. That being said, the respectful sportsmen and respectful four-wheelers and bikers MUST police the disrespectful members of these communities—locals and visitors—who leave plastic and metal shotgun shells and shoot lead shot into the lake, plus they leave beer cans and campfire debris. It’s a compromise called “multiple use management” which is also the basic philosophy of the US Forest Service.

  4. Dave says:

    Mike good point. I suspect that this will be used to control access to the area by blocking off all parking. It is all about control. At least put in a few parking lots for people.

  5. Cheryl Anderson says:

    When the process is completed and the designation is finalized a management plan will be created to set out sustainable uses of the Conservation Reserve for responsible recreation.
    Wind turbines have been shown to be harmful to many species of birds when they are situated in a migratory pathway such as the south shore. Roads especially gravel roads such have been built to access wind turbines result in turtle death as the turtles are moving through their habitat foraging, mating and building nests.

  6. Mike Rodgers says:

    If this happens will it limit or remove the use of ATVs to this area. I always wondered why wind mills were so harmful to retiles birds etc but ATVs were OK. You see a weekend parade of city and local warriors running amuck in this tearing everything up in their paths.

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