Marc Johnson Ontario 0

Reinstate Fushimi Provincial Park!

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Marc Johnson Ontario 0 Comments
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Dear Minister Mauro
I am moved to write to you today to ask you to reinstate Fushimi Provincial Park back into the network of Ontario Parks where it belongs.

In my 35 year career with the Ministry of Natural Resources, 32 of which were here in Hearst District, I have worked under various governments each with their own mandates, priorities and fiscal challenges. But none of these former governments, that included Bob Rae's NDP and Mike Harris' Conservatives, which both brought sweeping changes to the way we operated, thought that closing Fushimi Park was a wise decision in their cost cutting measures. Why now would your Liberal government be considering this and justifying it in order " achieve financial sustainability" when Fushimi Park over the last 2 years has proven to be just that, financially sustainable? Would it not be prudent, if this really is your goal, to keep the parks open in the system like Fushimi that are operating sustainably and close the ones that aren't instead of subsidizing them annually with the funds made by these profitable parks? I challenge you to look at these other parks with the same microscope that you have looked at Fushimi for the past 2 years.

I applaud your government's decision to create a series of new parks in southern Ontario. With increased urbanization there should be increased protection of our natural environment through parks. They offer continued enjoyment of the diverse forest ecosystems of our province, and with it much needed habitat protection for the species that live there. But please don't do it at the cost of closing Fushimi and the other parks (Rene Brunelle and Ivanhoe) in this Region that are under the same dark cloud. Our parks here in the Boreal forest provide a unique experience and a much needed link in the chain of Ontario Parks across this province. Closing them would deprive the citizens of this province from camping in a provincial park across an incredibly large portion of Northeastern Ontario. The same good reasons for creating these new parks should be the same good reasons for keeping Fushimi in Ontario Parks.

Over the past 2 years, since the partnership agreement was signed with the Town of Hearst to operate Fushimi, a lot of good things have happened. With the participation of Constance Lake First Nations in our Fushimi Working Group, initiatives such as erecting teepees in the park to showcase some of their local heritage, as well as provide a unique camping experience are being discussed. A landmark partnership was also formed with College Boreal which saw students getting hands on skills in their carpentry trade while constructing a rental cabin for the park. This will no doubt spawn further similar partnerships with other parks, and it is your dedicated Fushimi Park staff here in Hearst that made that happen thereby making future ones possible. A Friends of Fushimi was also formed which has been the lead on several initiatives like free weekly campsite draws, annual guided hikes, Appreciation Day for the campers, and a Fushimi Photo Challenge to increase awareness of the park to name just a few. Keeping Fushimi Park open and on the map will allow this good work to continue.

We, the citizens of Ontario, also have our own fiscal challenges. Soaring hydro rates, food and fuel prices are increasingly difficult to deal with. But in times like these, we need more than ever places like Fushimi Park to provide an escape and a place where we can bring our kids and grandkids to toast some marshmallows, go for a paddle, and listen to the loons at night from our tent. Collectively, we should be hanging onto to these refuges, not getting rid of them.

For all the above reasons, I am appealing to you Minister Mauro to reinstate Fushimi Park back into Ontario Parks, and to be proud that keeping it on the map will become part of this Liberal government's legacy."
Thank you.

Marc Johnson
Friends of Fushimi Lake Provincial Park
Hearst, Ontario
(P.S. I invite you to watch the attached video ( put together all with photos taken in Fushimi Park. You will no doubt see why we need to keep this beautiful Boreal forest park on the map!)

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