Springwater Park’s animal sanctuary is an 80 year old legacy that should be passed on

March 20, 2013

“The loss of Springwater Park would be a tragedy, not only for this community, but for future generations,”…

Wanzel eagle

A bald eagle takes flight in its enclosure at Springwater Provincial Park, Tuesday. As of March 31, the park’s wildlife compound is slated to be closed. (Mark Wanzel Photo)

Another good article by Ian McInroy of the Barrie Examiner, Park’s animal ‘legacy’ in peril:

The clock is ticking for the wildlife compound at Springwater Provincial Park.

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has stated the compound — enclosures first built in the 1930s to house a variety of wild animals and birds — will be removed as part of the ministry’s plans to change the park’s status from operational to non-operational as of March 31.

Park maintenance, road access, comfort stations and other facilities, trail maintenance and the compound will no longer be available.

Romaine Miller eloquently sums up the value of caring for those creatures that cannot care for themselves:

 “I will never forget the thrill of seeing deer up close — and feeding and petting them. They were trusting and beautiful,” she said.

“The compound cares for animals that have been injured in the wild, or are unable for a variety of reasons, unable to survive in the wild. This makes it unique among parks and an especially valuable treasure: one of a kind. It is a legacy for future generations,” Miller said.

“Today, we are able to enjoy provincial parks such as Algonquin Park and Springwater Park, because of the vision and the caring of the generations who preceded us. This is their legacy to us,” Miller added. “What will our legacy be for our children and the generations to come?

And still, a ray of hope on a breathtakingly beautiful day at the park:

“Reconsidering the decision to close Springwater Provincial Park represents an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and inspiration; to recognize a treasure of great value; and to create a meaningful legacy for future generations.”

That legacy should include the wildlife compound and all it offers to visitors, she added.

“It’s too bad the MNR can’t see the animals through the wondrous eyes of a child,” she said.

“The animal compound gives people an opportunity to develop a sensitivity and caring for animals they may not otherwise have.”


The SPCC says the First Nations are key to saving Springwater Provincial Park

December 27, 2012

Our aboriginal friends deserve all of the credit for the Georgian Mall flash mob round dance.

black bear

This black bear could be one of several animals relocated in the near future as the province decides the long-term direction of Springwater Provincial Park, north of Barrie. MARK WANZEL PHOTO

A great article about the Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition’s, SPCC position by Ian McInroy of the Barrie Examiner : Group trying to save Springwater Park hosting event at Georgian Mall Word  pdf but the headline does not reflect who should get the applause.

The First Nations, FN of Simcoe county and beyond deserve 100% of the support and credit.

End of story.

That being said, a very useful explanation why First Nations are so important in keeping the park open:

Les Stewart, of the SPCC, said support by the First Nations groups are vital to his group’s efforts to keep the park viable and that Wednesday’s event is intended to raise awareness about problems with Bill C-45 and the 14 pieces of federal legislation that would effectively re-write the treaty relationships with First Nations and degrade their role in important decision making.

“Only the Crown and First Nations have the right to alter that living relationship; it cannot be done unilaterally by any one federal government alone,” Stewart said Monday.

“The Springwater Park and surrounding forest lands are part of the disputed Williams Treaty, 1923. The MNR plans to make the park non-operational is a land-use change that the First Nations may choose to challenge.”

Simcoe County has been the home of FN communities for up to 10,000 years:  they’ve been born, lived and been buried here.

“There are 1,000 identified First Nation settlement areas in Simcoe County and from 150 to 175 ossuaries or “bone pits” that have been discovered,” he said. “Of the 150 or so, only about 10 (6.8%) have been treated respectfully and in a professional archeological manner. Most bone pits (a small one would have 300 skeletons) simply get dug up and forever lost.

“We believe an important 5,000 to 10,000 year old First Nations trail (Minesing Trail) runs between Anne Street at Carson Road and then along Anne Street north of Snow Valley Road and then straight through the park onto Minesing. Those lands have never been studied and the areas before and after are archeologically rich.”

The SPCC believes the First Nations sustainability model delivers the non-reckless precautionary principle of primum non nocere (first, do no harm).

“First Nations have lived in a sustainable way for thousands of years in Ontario,” Stewart said. “They consider themselves as protectors of all the land and water and had been extremely effective in helping defeat Site 41 (north of Elmvale) after 20-plus years of local activism couldn’t, and (stopped) the Mega Quarry in Melanchthon Township near Shelburne.

“Land use policy in Simcoe County is a controversial item and one that we will live with (for good or ill) for the next 50 years. Short-sighted, mega-growth can destroy communities and the environment in irreparable ways.”

Some have called the forests to the north of the city, “The Lungs of Barrie“.

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