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Rondeau Cottager Cynthia Szypula participating in the White Pine replanting in Rondeau Provincial Park in May.

Neville Knowles plants one of 30 White Pines that were purchased to replace those lost in recent winter storms.

Following a devastating ice storm in Rondeau Provincial Park this past winter, several caring cottagers are replacing some of the trees that were brought down by the ice and high winds. The December 2022 storm saw significant damage done to White Pine all around the park.

Cottager Candice Barlow initiated the re-planting program to give back to the park. More than thirty White Pine saplings were planted on Lakeshore Road and Harrison Trail in May.

“Since the first French Jesuits mapped the region, Rondeau has been known for its White Pine trees,” said Barlow. “Early maps refer to the Rondeau Peninsula as Pointe aux Pins. I wanted to replace these majestic trees which were sadly uprooted and destroyed.”

Park naturalists estimate fifty White Pines were destroyed in the severe winter weather.

This replanting initiative used four-year-old pine saplings obtained through the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority’s tree planting program. Volunteers from the Rondeau Cottagers Association purchased approximately 30 saplings and planted them on cottage lots during the first week of May.

“Our group hopes to make this a three-year reforestation initiative to replace the devastating loss of the trees,” added Barlow.

Rondeau Provincial Park is Ontario’s second-oldest provincial park, having been established on September 8, 1894. The park is located on an 8 km long crescentic sand spit extending into Lake Erie in south Chatham-Kent. According to the park charter, Rondeau was established as a response to demand for cottaging opportunities by residents of nearby Chatham. The park is also home to the largest area of Carolinian forest in Canada, a long sandy beach, a marsh bordering Rondeau Bay, public campgrounds, and a century-old cottage community.

Thank you Candace and Neville Knowles and others for their initiative on this project!