I have a slight obsession with non-operating provincial parks. I love exploring these lesser-known parks, which usually lack basic infrastructure. But since they are public lands, it is still possible to access them and, quite often, to hike there, so I couldn’t wait to explore DuPont Provincial Park and see what hiking there could be like.
DuPont Provincial Park is located near Morrisburg in South Eastern Ontario. It’s actually the closest provincial park to my home, but I knew very little about it. There is little information online, and I was not sure how to access it and if it had any trails at all.
Finally, I had to read the Park Management Plan of the Ministry of Natural Resources (I have weird hobbies, I know) to learn a little more about the history of the park and its purpose. And I also learned that there is a small parking area along County Road 2 that provided access to a possible trail. I therefore felt ready to explore DuPont Provincial Park for the first time!
DuPont Provincial Park was created after the government bought lands along the St. Lawrence River from DuPont Canada (hence the park’s name). The goal was to protect wetlands and a variety of ecosystems unique to those of the St. Lawrence Lowlands, in an area where human activities have significantly altered the landscape.
The park provides an important habitat for several species of reptiles, amphibians and fish. For a long time, this is also where the largest great blue heron colony was found in Eastern Ontario, but the population appears to have been declining in recent years.
Walking in the forest, I couldn’t help to be reminded of the Two Creeks Forest, located just a few kilometres away. Tall maple trees and mature pines, whose blazing green were somewhat contrasting with the fresh spring snow.
And what about the trails? For now, they are limited to an old industrial road and a trail that is used by snowmobiles in the winter. They are not maintained and not marked, and therefore a bit hard to follow. I hiked on what appeared to be a directionless trail through the forest, but eventually lost track and had to retrace my steps.
There is a section in the park management plan that discuss the possibility of developing a real network of trails in the future, much like it happened at Alexander Stewart Provincial Park, another non-operating provincial park in Eastern Ontario. However, there has to be local interest and funding available for this project to see the light one day.
So maybe one day it will be possible to explore DuPont Provincial Park more and learn a little more about the treasures it hides!