Algonquin Provincial Park Then And Now
Up until the 1800s the Algonquin region was basically uninhabited. Aboriginal peoples came to hunt and fish but their habitation was largely transient in nature. Pioneer loggers came in the 1800s to harvest timber to feed the increasing demand in England for ship building including timbers substantial enough to be used as ships masts. The loggers typically farmed in the summer months and moved to primitive camps to log throughout the winter. They transported white pine logs by horse drawn skids to the rivers where they would be carried downstream in the spring by rushing waterways to waiting markets in far off places. During the peak of logging, local farms in the Algonquin region sprang up and principally survived by providing food to the logging camps in the area. Life was difficult in those days and before the railroad was built into the area (as an alternative to running logs down the rivers) the area was totally isolated from the emerging modern conveniences of urban life.
Algonquin Park was established in 1893 to provide a wildlife preserve and to protect the headwaters of the major rivers that flowed from the Park area. Logging continued but soon visitors began to come to the park by train and they stayed in crude hotels for seasonal fishing and to experience the genuine wilderness.
Over the years Algonquin Park has developed into a major tourist attraction. It is famous as the backdrop for many Group of Seven artists paintings and of course the natural beauty that is protected for tourists and researchers to study and enjoy nature, preserved largely as it was since the beginning of time. Algonquin is home to thousands of animal, flora and fauna species and Park management has been careful to limit park development. There are several main corridors that act as transportation arteries and provide access to limited accommodation, outfitters and information centers. To really explore Algonquin one needs to canoe and pack in to the many remote lakes in the region. The vast majority of Park visitors are day visitors that come to observe the natural beauty, wildlife and perhaps hike on one of the many well signed trails that stem from the transportation corridors. Luckily for the thousands of tourists that visit the park annually there is ample accommodation facilities around the borders of Algonquin Provincial Park and visitors can find everything from campgrounds, motels, rental cottages and resorts. Supplies and a wide variety of restaurants from fast food to gourmet are available in the Park area. Outfitters for those who plan to adventure into the Algonquin interior are available inside and outside the park boundary. Algonquin Provincial Park makes up part of the Haliburton Highlands northern border. Haliburton County is the perfect location for visitors to vacation and experience the wonders of Algonquin.