This past weekend I went to Point Pelee National Park (Parc national de la Pointe-Pelée)!
Established in 1918, Point Pelee is the most southern point of mainland Canada and in 1996, the area was designated as a Dark Sky Reserve. Located 60 kilometers from Windsor, Point Pelee National Park makes a great and accessible day trip for people living or visiting Southern Ontario. Out of Canada’s 39 National Parks and 8 National Park Reserves, Point Pelee National Park is the second smallest, occupying 15 km² of space!
Point Pelee is an ecologically significant area for birds and is recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA). According to the Parks Canada information site on Point Pelee National Park, 80% of Ontario’s bird species have been recorded at Point Pelee at least once and almost 400 different bird species have been recorded in the parks birding area.
My growing interest in and love for birds made the selection of this site for the Winter 2019 University of Waterloo Parks Canada Club camping trip the perfect choice.
The trip: 48 people, 8 oTENTiks, 2 group hikes, and a 1 night stay.
The University of Waterloo Parks Canada Club hosts 2-3 over-night camping trips each year at different parks. For the end of the Winter 2019 term, Point Pelee National Park was the selected destination! The club executive members plans the details and opens registration for students. This trip cost $20 for drivers and $30 for attendees. This fee covered: one dinner, one breakfast, a guided hike (by Parks Canada staff), firewood and other incidental items, accommodations for one night, and reimbursed drivers for their gas.
One of the reasons this club excursion is so important is that students are able to get outside,spend some time off campus, and take a break from their studies. For some attendees, this is their first experience camping and it takes place in a welcoming and non-judgmental space. Another huge benefit of large group camping trips is the cost. Planning a bulk, all-cars-full trip is by far less expensive than other camping trips.
This was my first ever visit to Point Pelee and I am fortunate to have had pleasant weather throughout the entire trip to enjoy the people and view around me. I hope to return to Point Pelee with a kayak and warmer weather for some more fun outdoors.
In case you have not seen one yet, above is a photo of an oTENTik! For this trip, each oTENTik held six people, however, we quickly realized that we could have comfortably fit eight people per unit. The units we booked were all heated and inside was a table, four chairs, a bench, and a kitchen counter nook. oTENTik’s can be found not just at Point Pelee National Park, but also at Georgian Bay Islands National Park, Thousand Islands National Park, and Pukaskwa National Park.
Here we are! Obligatory photo of me and a friend standing at the southernmost point of mainland Canada!