Ziibaakdakaan Maple Syrup Wins Multiple Top Ten Awards

Nathan Keeshig, Manager of Ziibaakdakaan Maple is proud to announce that the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation have won three top ten finishes in their first ever entry in the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair’s Maple Syrup competition.  Ziibaakdakaan Maple syrup took 7th place in the Amber category, 10th in Golden and 10th in Very Dark. 

 Ziibaakdakaan Maple is owned and operated by the Chippewas of Nawash and is located at the popular Cape Croker Park.  “Ziibakdakaan” is Ojibwe for “sugarbush”.  The Chippewas of Nawash have produced maple syrup for feasting, ceremony and trade at this exact sugar bush location for centuries.  Reviving the cultural practice of syrup making has been a long-held dream for Mr. Keeshig.  Ziibaakdakaan Maple was launched in 2017 and harvests sap from over 4,000 taps.  The business provides employment opportunities for community members, and supports Cape Croker Park in Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario.  For more information, visit www.ziibamaple.ca

 “For a new producer in the industry for only three years, it is exciting to see the quality of maple syrup that is produced at Ziibaakdakaan Maple Syrup.   Great achievement in a short period of time” said Bev Campbell, Chair of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Maple Committee.

 Nathan Keeshig credits the hard work of the Cape Croker Park staff, particularly Dave Moyer and “cook” Travis Jones for the awards.  He would also like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Indigenous Economic Development Program, the Indian Agricultural Program, the Tecumseh Community Development Corporation, and the Canada Ontario Resource Development Agreement (CORDA) for supporting the launch of Ziibaakdakaan Maple. 

 The Royal Winter Fair is the largest indoor agricultural event in the world and maple syrup producers from across Canada and the United States entered this year’s competition.    Cape Croker Park and Ziibaakdakaan Maple were featured by the Indigenous Tourism Ontario at the Royal in 2019 and were encouraged by the Royal staff to enter the Maple Syrup contest this year. 

 Ziibaakdakaan Maple products can be purchased by calling Cape Croker Park at 519-534-0571 or by ordering online at www.ziibamaple.ca.

Cape Croker Park to Allow Seasonal Campers

The Council, after long deliberation and careful consideration of the re-opening plans of the Province and Grey Bruce, has voted to allow seasonal campers to stay in Cape Croker Park. Cape Croker Park management has prepared a multi-phase plan to safely re-open the Park in stages. The plan has been reviewed by the Council, our health professionals, and the Community Emergency Response Group, guided by the very strong community feedback we’ve received expressing residents’ desire to keep Neyaashiinigmiing safe and COVID-19 free. The Park re-opening plan covers the remainder of the camping season, until the Park closes on October 12, 2020.

Many of the Park’s seasonal campers, those who book a campsite for the entire season, have been renting a seasonal spot for years and have made it a family tradition to summer in Neyaashiinigmiing. While some would have liked to return to the Park sooner, safety remains the paramount concern of the Council as we consider how to re-open Neyaashiinigmiing. The Council is taking a cautious approach to give us time to more carefully plan our re-opening, and assess the effects of steps taken toward re-opening. As we move forward, we are strictly limiting who may access the community – and the level of access that those admitted will enjoy.

Cape Croker Park is also an important part of our local economy, as an employer and net income generator. While the Park has been closed, our potential guests have certainly visited other camping sites around Grey Bruce that have re-opened under various protocols. This is immediately damaging to our revenues for this year, but could also hurt return business in future years if our guests staying elsewhere choose not to return to Cape Croker Park. Re-opening the Park in this safely limited fashion will honour our commitment to our seasonal campers, who booked their spots well-before the season opened, and help us maintain our competitiveness in the tourism industry during a difficult time.

Under Phase One of the plan, now being implemented, seasonal campers ONLY will be allowed to access their reserved sites, with limitations. Day camping remains closed. Public areas outside the Park will be off-limits to seasonal campers who must be largely self-sufficient in order to limit their contact with Neyaashiinigmiing residents.

The conditions of the Cape Croker Park Phase One re-opening include the following:

  • Comfort Stations including showers and laundry to remain closed.
  • Playground to be closed and physical barrier to be installed.
  • Pavilion, Veterans Arbor, and Sacred Fire Arbor are to remain closed.
  • Only one customer will be permitted in the Park Office at a time.
  • Camping will be open to Seasonal Campers with a completed and signed Licence of Occupation (contract) for the 2020 season.
  • The Contract is valid only for the “Family”, parents and dependent children. All Occupants of the site must be listed in the contract.
  • Limited to Self Contained Trailers (with washroom facilities). Alternatively, campers can rent a portable toilet that will be placed on the campsite for their personal use.
  • A Code of Conduct must be signed and kept on file in the park office.
  • There will be no additional campers/overnight visitors allowed on the site.
  • Campers must maintain physical distancing when in the park.
  • Campers are not to gather in groups of more than 10 people.
  • Campers must arrive at the Park between 8:00 AM and 10:00 PM.
  • The list of authorized Seasonal Campers will be provided to Chippewas Of Nawash Guardians at the monitoring station.
  • Campers must display a validly issued camping pass on the dashboards of their vehicles.

We are grateful for the loyalty and understanding of our seasonal campers who are choosing to stay with us under greatly curtailed circumstances. The Council is especially grateful for the community’s support and patience as we navigate these unknown waters. The Council continues seek the best way forward for all of us. Together, as a community, we will survive and come out stronger than ever.

Council Extends Neyaashiinigmiing State of Emergency to July 31

The Council voted today to once again extend the State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing, until July 31. This decision comes on the heels of Ontario extending the Provincial State of Emergency until July 15th. The Council is giving safety the highest priority as Neyaashiinigmiing has a higher percentage of older and health-compromised residents who would be particularly at risk if COVID-19 were to enter the community. Following the existing protocol, Neyaashiinigmiing’s State of Emergency will be reassessed prior to July 31 and a determination made at that time whether the community can and should be safely reopened.

Under the extended State of Emergency, access to Neyaashiinigmiing will remain restricted to residents and registered members.

The Cape Croker Park will remain closed at this time to all campers, including seasonal renters. Seasonal renters of Cape Croker Park lots should contact Nathan Keeshig, Park Manager, with questions or concerns.

Non-members who are leasing or renting properties in Neyaashiinigmiing are asked to respect our closure, which is being mandated for the health and safety of residents. Non-members who are not normally resident in the community will not be admitted at this time. Questions regarding rented or leased properties may be directed to Larissa Johnston, Lands Manager.

 

Bruce Trail Crossing Neyaashiinigmiing Remains Closed

The section of the Bruce Trail that passes through Neyaashiinigmiing remains closed until further notice, as well as the Cape Croker Park. The Province of Ontario has begun a careful re-opening of some public outdoor spaces, for day use only, and the Bruce Trail Organization has followed suit by opening specific sections of the Bruce Trail for safely separated hiking. You can find details about which sections are opened on the Bruce Trail Organization website. Importantly, unless a section has been explicitly opened, that section remains closed, including Neyaashiinigmiing (also known as Cape Croker).

These are special places and we are blessed that they are part of our home.  While we are anxious to share the natural beauty of our home with the public again, we will not do so until we are sure that we can open the trails and park safely and with as little risk to the community as possible. We ask that non-residents respect this temporary closure and refrain from attempting to enter Neyaashiinigmiing at this time. We look forward to the eventual safe re-opening of our natural attractions.

Cape Croker Park Remains Closed

We have received reports from the Neyaashiinigmiing Police that unauthorized campers have been found in Cape Croker Park, despite the Park closure. The Council is also concerned about the upcoming long weekend and the possibility that we may see campers attempting to access the Park over the holiday weekend.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents ongoing challenges to the safe operation of large public facilities like the Park. The Council and Cape Croker Park management want to remind the public that, in response to the continued risk of COVID-19 transmission, and our desire to delay infection in the community, the Park is completely closed to all patrons until further notice.

Cape Croker Park will not be open during the May Victoria Day long weekend. The Park is regularly patrolled by police and staff and persons violating the closure risk being cited for trespassing.

Would-be campers and non-residents should not attempt to enter the community. Note that provincial and federal parks are also closed until a minimum of May 31st. We know that this is disappointing to every supporter of our Park, and lovers of the great outdoors, but we advise people to stay home, at their primary residence, until we all receive official medical guidance that it is safe to move about again.