Updated

Indigenous protesters again block entrance to Pinery Provincial Park

Indigenous protesters are again blocking the entrance to the Pinery Provincial Park, an action they say stems from a longstanding dispute over First Nations claims to the parkland on the shores of Lake Huron.

Protester Maynard George says the action is connected to a First Nations claim to the land

Maynard T. George is leader of the Indigenous family group claiming ownership of Pinery Provincial Park. (Submitted by Colin Graf)

Indigenous protesters are again blocking the entrance to the Pinery Provincial Park, an action they say stems from a longstanding dispute over First Nations claims to the park on the shores of Lake Huron.

Maynard George of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation told CBC news that he and about four other protesters have pulled into the park's front entrance in a trailer. 

"We've moved in, we've taken up our residency here," said George. "And we've shut down the park permanently. We're in a position where we have to do something to resolve the claim."

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources told CBC News the park remains open to visitors despite the protest. 

​George was involved in a similar action in November that caused the park to close for a number of weeks. 

He said the protesters' claim to the land stretches back to the War of 1812. 

The park's superintendent would not comment on the situation.

Indigenous protesters say they are again blocking the entrance to the Pinery Provincial Park. (Submitted by Colin Graf)

No court action

George's lawyer Wanda Corston said for now, there are no plans to file any official court claim. She said the OPP have spoken to George about the protest. 

"They've decided to take over the park with regard to some claims they have," said Corston. She said for now, there has been no action to file a claim in any court. 

"There's no legal position at this point in time, we just hope the claims can be settled in an amicable way," she said. 

Ministry response

George said police were present in the park on Monday, but that they are only there to maintain order. He said there have been no arrests or confrontations. 

In a statement to CBC News, a spokersperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources said, "Ontario Parks is working toward a resolution to this situation – we are engaging with the individuals, their counsel and police to better understand their claims."

George said he intends to stay at the park. It's unclear for how long.

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story said the trailer pulled across the park entrance was "preventing visitors from entering the park." CBC has since learned that although the trailer is blocking part of the entrance, it's only blocking one entrance lane. A spokesperson from the Ministry of Natural Resources told CBC News on Tuesday, March 20, that the park remains open to visitors.
    Mar 21, 2018 3:08 PM ET