Management Plan Progress Report 2020-2021

Pukaskwa National Park

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Management plans identify the long-term strategic direction and vision for Parks Canada places. Plans provide a framework for site management, aligning with the Agency’s mandate, vision and strategic outcomes. Management plans are guiding documents for decision making and planning.

This annual update serves as a progress report to partners, stakeholders, and the public outlining our work in implementing the key strategies from the management plan over the last year.

Key Strategy 1: AN ENDURING RELATIONSHIP: Honouring the Anishinaabek and Métis, and their connection to the land known as Pukaskwa

• Continued fostering a close relationship with Biigtigong Nishnaabeg throughout the year by participating in quarterly meetings with an Operational Working Group.

• Worked with Biigtigong Mno-zhi-yaawgamig (Pic River First Nation Health Centre) to present a multi-day cultural skills workshop, including sessions on tufting and quill work.

• Increased the amount of employment opportunities available for Indigenous youth through the federal governments YESS program (Youth Employment and Skills Strategy).

• Continued to try new approaches for enhancing recruitment of local First Nation applicants to job postings by hosting virtual information sessions for job advertisements.

• Collaborated on a project proposal with Biigtigong and Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg to enhance land based knowledge and conservation initiatives that involve fire dependent ecosystems.

Key Strategy 2: A WILDERNESS SUSTAINED: Experiencing Pukaskwa’s wilderness through strengthened ecosystems 

• Continued collecting baseline data and assessing indicators as part of the Ecological Integrity program to monitor ecosystem health in Pukaskwa.

• Used innovative new technology to strengthen knowledge of ecosystem change for species at risk by monitoring Pitcher’s thistle habitat change using drones and digital image analysis.

• Collected information on five species of bats that regularly use the park throughout the summer, including one species – Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) – that is an at risk species.

• Recognized internationally for leadership in wildfire suppression following deployment of Pukaskwa fire crew to Oregon, USA.

• Participated in the development of the 2020-2024 Lakewide Action Management Plan (LAMP) for Lake Superior, in collaboration with several partners around the lake.

Key Strategy 3: A “SUPERIOR” CONNECTION: Making Pukaskwa more relevant to Canadians 

• Allowed a gradual reopening that ensured staff and visitor safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, resuming most services by July 15.

• Welcomed a record number of visitors within a reduced season, with visitation 76.8% higher in 2020 than 2010 (the baseline year).

• Experienced 89% occupancy at oTENTik sites, demonstrating this novel camping opportunity continues to interest and motivate visitors to come to the park.

• Continued collaborating with Biitigong Nishnaabeg on drafting a shared protocol for the care, collection and handling of archaeological objects found in Pukaskwa National Park. 

AREA Management Strategy: HATTIE COVE

• Made several structural enhancements to both the Kiosk and the Visitor Centre to extend the longevity of these facilities and improve the quality of services for visitors.

• Installed 6 electric vehicle charging stations to support the Government of Canada’s goal toward a low-carbon future.

• Completed ~12% of deferred work to improve the overall condition of built assets, including replacement of eavestroughs at the comfort stations and building fences to protect above ground utilities.

• Delivered streamlined programs in Hattie Cove with a focus on visitor safety, and sharing natural or cultural heritage in smaller groups, accommodating physical distances and public health guidelines. 


• Uncovered no invasive species in trial of two experimental protocols for the early detection of rusty crayfish and zebra mussel and and frontcountry surveys for exotic invasive species.

• Continued to monitor & assess white-tailed deer observations from wildlife cameras and other incidental records, noting stable numbers since 1971 and a decline in the past 10 years.

• Completed planning for enhancements to Pukaskwa’s marine base to be implemented in 2021, in support of park operations along the Lake Superior coast.

• Recorded the highest number of sites occupied in backcountry camping since current record-keeping format was established in 2014, showing that Pukaskwa’s Lake Superior coast resonates in the hearts and minds of Canadians.

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