Point Pelee National Park now open for weekends only with some limitations

Nature lovers finally got their fix on Saturday when Point Pelee National Park opened its gates.

The number of visitors allowed in will be limited

High water levels came just over the top of the marsh boardwalk but that didn't stop people from taking the walk. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Nature lovers finally got their fix on Saturday when Point Pelee National Park finally opened its gates.

"I love being back in the park. Just like our visitors have not been in the park, our staff hasn't either so it's really nice to be back in the park and doing the job I love," Monique Oltrop, visitor experience manager at the park, said.

The park will be open to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to sunset for the time being. Day-use trails are re-opened for people to walk on as well as designated trails and pathways for cyclists. Picnic areas, beaches and green spaces can also be accessed.

Monique Oltrop is a visitor experience manager at Point Pelee National Park. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Road access is still limited due to ongoing paving south of the Marsh boardwalk. Once that work is done, the park will expand its hours of operation and allow access to additional parking areas. 

Some of the washrooms will be open for people to use and the number of visitors allowed in will be limited by staff at the front gate, though on Saturday, they did not reach that threshold. 

"We are keeping a close watch on, not only the park itself but also individual areas," Oltrop said.

"We're prepared to close them if they become too busy so we can protect visitors that way."

Not all of the park is accessible by vehicle yet as there is paving that needs to be finished on the main stretch. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Back to normal

Temperatures remained below 20 degrees for most of Saturday in the area but the front gate was fairly busy at times throughout the day.

"You feel human again, you feel in touch with stuff," Annette McGregor said. She took the first possible opportunity to get out biking in the park. 

"Why sit in the house on days like this when you can go out biking just here in nature?" 

Water was flooding over the top of the Marsh Boardwalk, but that didn't stop many people from taking a walk around it.

"It's starting to feel back to normal," David Hanson said. "It's nice to get the fresh air, you know, the sun and... go to the beach. It's great."  

He was there with some family and his great nephew Liam Bersaud who was collecting rocks.

"I like it here," Bersaud said.

David Hanson and his great nephew Liam Bersaud were out collecting rocks in the park on Saturday. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Some, like Greg Sweetman from Essex, broke out the kayak. 

"Usually we hit this spot this time of year," Sweetman said. "We're lucky to have it right now, open." 

Alexa Castillo and her family were flipping burgers on Northwest Beach. 

"This is very, very good," she said. "Good days."  

The Castillo family came out for a Barbecue on Northwest Beach. (Jacob Barker/CBC)


Jacob Barker


Jacob Barker is a videojournalist for CBC Windsor.


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