AH working with resort to mitigate trespassing
By Chad Ingram
Published Jan. 24, 2019
Algonquin Highlands township will work with Buttermilk Falls Resort to help reduce trespassing at the resort, located adjacent to the popular Highway 35 tourist destination from which it takes its name.
Councillors discussed the issue during a Jan. 17 meeting, and the township will create signage at the falls site, which includes a confluence of publicly and privately owned property, making it more clear to falls visitors where they may and may not go.
There is a history of trespassing on the resort property by visitors to the falls, which has been a popular tourist stop for generations.
While the highway-side park and a road passing over an aging bridge at the site are owned by the Ministry of Transportation, the road continues onto the resort property, where it becomes private. The federal government also owns property at the site between Halls and Boshkung lakes, as the Trent Severn Waterway (part of Parks Canada), owns and operates the dam there.
A parking lot at the MTO park, which is open May through October, is for visitors to the falls.
“This is the only location where parking is available for visitors,” parks, rec and trails manager Chris Card told councillors, explaining that visitors will park on the resort property, then traverse the resort property on foot to get down to water. Trespassing also occurs on the resort’s waterfront area, with visitors to the falls having gatherings, picnics, etc. on private property.
“If they’re asked to leave, there’s confrontations,” said Mayor Carol Moffatt.
“There are signs telling people what they can’t do,” Card said, indicating there is private property signage at the boundary of the resort property, but adding there is no signage telling people what they can do.
There is no signage, for example, directing visitors to use the MTO parking lot only, or directing them from the parking lot to the township property that abuts the falls.
There is a township-owned unopened road allowance that runs along the falls where visitors walk to observe it and walk down to Boshkung, although this strip of land has never been maintained as a trail or promoted as such by the township.
The falls’ popularity continues to grow.
“It’s becoming a popular fall colour destination as well,” Card told councillors, explaining that tour bus companies now drop busloads of people off at the site.
Card’s department will work on signage and trail upgrading to the tune of about $2,000, to be included in the 2019 budget.
The township will also contact the MTO, and Moffatt said the aging bridge owned by the MTO, would likely need to be addressed in the near future.
“That would be part of the equation, to ask MTO what they’re going to do with that bridge,” she said.