After a year of closure, Cape Croker officially opened for climbing and bouldering again in 2016. Since its inception as a Park in 1967 by the Department of Lands and Forests (now the Ministry of Natural Resources) under the Parks Assistance Act, it has been operated by the Chippewas of Nawash Band who recognized its potential for on-Reserve employment and intrinsic beauty for future generations.
One of the few climbing areas that has on site camping, showers, and a store, it has been a favourite pre- or post-stop for many climbers on their way to Lion’s Head National Park or Half Way Log Dump.
Since the cliff is just a short hike off the road, and offers both trad and sport routes that are numbered, many have enjoyed its rugged beauty, lack of crowds, and amenities such as paddle boarding and kayak rentals, and easy access to international level mountain biking trails in Purple Valley.
The Ontario Access Coalition (OAC) with its portfolio managers Dr. Harry Hoediono and Patrick Lam spent most of 2015 negotiating with the Park officials and the Band Council on the Park’s reopening this spring. Through hard work and the generous help of Gus Alexandropoulos through guide book recognition and advertising for the park’s official opening happened on June 17.
Among those present were members of the Cape Croker Section of the Bruce Trail Club who were rebuilding the Sydney Bay Boardwalk. This is a perfect example of how a number of eco-friendly citizens (OAC, Bruce Trail and First Nations Band Council) have worked together to help eco-tourism and eco-sport flourish on the Bruce Peninsula Bio Preserve.
Dr. Hoediono met with new Park Superintendent Nathan Keeshig to discuss climbing signage, future use of climbing waivers to track the number of climbing visitations, and cliff clean up. With the cliff closed for over a year much work needed to be done to trim, spray for Poison Ivy and ensure that in-situ gear was in good condition.
Future meetings with First Nations regarding the future incorporation of rock climbing and bouldering promotion as one of the Park’s many ecofriendly adventure sports continues. Climbers are reminded to heed all posted signs, climb with care and be respectful of the privilege to climb in such a beautiful area.