MISERY BAY—It was a busy summer at the Misery Bay Provincial Park, with statistics showing that this season had the second highest number of people visiting the park in a season.
“This year the number of people ‘clicked in’ was 4,677, our second highest total to date,” said Gaynor Orford, of the Friends of Misery Bay (FOMB). She explained visitors signed one of four guest books in the park, “telling us where they are from, how many were in their group and leaving comments about their experience.”
Ms. Orford explained that 86 percent of visitors to the park came from 10 provinces and territories across Canada, including Nunavut, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, coast to coast to coast. “Visitors from 24 states, including Hawaii and 18 other countries from around the world were greeted by our students, Brooke, Karly and Jesse, and our weekend volunteers.”
“With people from all over finding not only Manitoulin Island, but Misery Bay Provincial Park, it begs the question, ‘How did you find us?’ The simple answer provided was the Internet,” said Ms. Orford.
“This was the year of the monarch butterfly,” said Ms. Orford. “For an endangered species, there sure were a lot of monarch butterflies around. One hiker observed 30 caterpillars in the mild weed patch on the dunes, even though the plants were stunted due to the hot and dry conditions. Hundreds of monarchs staged in the park in early September, getting ready for their long migration south. One visitor commented that he had to be careful where he walked for fear of tripping over them! Another commented that Misery Bay was like a butterfly conservatory, and another declared the park ‘butterfly heaven’.”
She pointed out the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) butterfly guide recognizes Misery Bay as a butterfly hotspot.
Ms. Orford noted visitors are often befuddled by the name Misery Bay. Over the years they have suggested name changes. However, this year visitors seemed to embrace the name. She said comments were left in the guestbooks, such as, ‘If this is Misery, I love it;’ ‘As usual, Misery Bay has failed to live up to its name;’ ‘Many find Misery Bay peaceful and pristine and return as often as they can;’ ‘always come back to this place for re-energizing;’ ‘died and woke up in heaven;’ ‘most beautiful and serene’.”
Others commented on the trails, saying that they were awesome, well maintained and well marked, and the scenery ‘inspiring.’
“There are so many people who work hard to keep Misery Bay a great place,” said Ms. Orford. “The trails people, the centre attendants, the visitors who pick up the flotsam and jetsam along the shorelines. The Friends of Misery Bay cannot say enough thank yous for all that they do.”
And Ms. Orford added, “half of our visitors heard about Misery Bay by word of mouth from the places they were staying, family and friends. The FOMB wishes to thank all these people for recommending Misery Bay as a destination, a must-see, must place to go. Without you, we would be “one of Manitoulin’s hidden gems.”