Thousand Islands National Park
|Thousand Islands National Park|
|Location||United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, Canada|
|Nearest city||Brockville, Ontario|
|Area||24.4 km2 (9.4 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Parks Canada|
Thousand Islands National Park (established 1904) is located on Hill Island in the Thousand Islands Region of the Saint Lawrence River. The islands are actually the worn-down tops of ancient mountains. This region, the Frontenac Axis, connects the Canadian Shield from Algonquin Park in Ontario to the Adirondack Mountains in New York.
The park consists of 21 islands plus many smaller islets, 2 mainland properties and a visitor centre at Mallorytown, Ontario on the mainland. It is Canada's smallest national park with a total area of 9 square kilometres (3.5 sq mi).
Much of the park is only accessible by boat. There are picnic facilities and limited camping facilities on several islands. Trail systems can be found on the mainland along the Thousand Islands Parkway at Jones Creek and Landon Bay.
The Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, in which the park is located, is known as being one of the highest areas of biodiversity in Canada.
The first inhabitants of the park area are thought to be hunting and fishing peoples who arrived following the last glacial period approximately 10,000 years ago. Many artifacts have been found in the park, including a 2500 year old pot that was found by a diver in 1979. Pictographs are still visible on some shoreline cliffs despite damage due to acid rain and vandals.
By the early 17th century, the Iroquois people had put up large summer encampments on the riverbanks from which they fished the rich waters. Around this time they began to be visited by French explorers, fur traders, and missionaries following the St Lawrence river to seek their fortune in the new world. Following the American Revolution at the end of the 18th century, European settlers began moving into the area and the traditional fishing encampments were displaced. A few Iroquois still returned to fish, but by the 1860s fish stocks were greatly depleted.
During the war of 1812, the area of today's National Park was visited by both British and American warships. The preserved hull of a British Gunboat was sunk nearby and, raised in 1967, it now resides at the park. Martello towers were built in the area to defend the British from American invasion. Inside the park, Cedar Island, a small island visible from downtown Kingston, Ontario, is the site of a Martello tower named Cathcart Tower.
The park was established in 1904, the first Canadian national park east of the Rocky Mountains. It was called St. Lawrence Islands National Park until 2013, when it was renamed to Thousand Islands National Park to reflect the natural area in the name.
- Parks Canada: Government of Canada Names Thousand Islands National Park , 2013-03-28
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