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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ontario Trails News - Wikwemikong celebrates the opening of trail and park

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Wikwemikong celebrates the opening of trail and park

Wikwemikong Tourism manager Luke Wassegijig, left, and Chief Duke Peltier cut the ribbon marking
the Point Grondine Trail as officially open
KILLARNEY—Wikwemikong Tourism was joined by various partners and support organizations last Wednesday in Killarney to celebrate the official opening of the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve’s Point Grondine Park.
After an opening song from Harvey Bell, Wikwemikong Chief Duke Peltier gave the opening remarks.
“Thank you for coming to celebrate with us today,” said Chief Peltier. “This park will be a wonderful addition to our tourism offerings here on our territory. This will be our flagship offering, complementing our Rainbow Ridge Golf Course on Manitoulin. On behalf of council I am pleased to offer our congratulations. This park has been a number of years in development, with work starting five years ago, and it is still a work in progress. We are now ready to welcome the public to enjoy our trails and the park. Please join me in giving a round of applause for the Wikwemikong Tourism Department (WTD) for their hard work. I would also like to offer many thanks to Ontario Parks for the training opportunities they provided for our park wardens.”

A traditional Anishinaabek teepee and canoe are positioned along one of the park’s trails.
A traditional Anishinaabek teepee and canoe are positioned along one of the park’s trails.
“Miigwetch to our special guests who have joined us today,” said Wikwemikong Tourism Manager Luke Wassegijig. “Like Chief Peltier said, today has been a long time coming.”
Mr. Wassegijig explained that in 2007 the Wikwemikong Department of Lands and Resources began this project at Point Grondine to capitalize on the overflow from Killarney Provincial Park.
“In 2010 we looked at a plan and created a partnership with Georgian Bay Coast Trail,” continued Mr. Wassegijig. “We have been working hard these last five years, learning how to build trails and training staff. We now have a quality product and our trail staff are now at the point where they are training other First Nations across the province.”
“We are here today to celebrate the opening of the park and 21 km of back country trails, including Merv’s Landing, a five kilometer loop, and the 15 km Wemtagoosh Falls Loop, as part of the Georgian Bay Coastal Trail,” added Mr. Wassegijig.

L-R Chief Peltier, Luke Wassegijig, Patrick Connor Ontario Trails/Georgian Bay Coast Trail, and Killarney PP Superintendent Jeremy Pawson.
Chief Peltier and Mr. Wassegijig presented a paddle to the mother and sister of the late Merv Pitawanakwat, Rosa and Jean Pitawanakwat. Merv was a dedicated worker on the trail that is named in his memory.
They also presented a gift to Colleen Wassegijig-Migwans, manager of Wii-ni n’guch-tood (the Wikwemikong Development Commission) for the organization’s support.
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