History of the Friends of MacGregor Point Park
The Friends of MacGregor Point Park was established in 1993 as a registered charity by a group of people who were passionate about MacGregor Point Provincial Park.
Led by a volunteer Board of Directors, the Friends work cooperatively with MacGregor Point Provincial Park to support and enhance educational and research programs and opportunities. Construction projects which encourage recreation and education within the Park have also been financed. A legal agreement between the Friends and the Crown provides formal parameters for this relationship between the Friends and the Park and provides definition for the extent to which we become involved in park operations.
The volunteer Board of Directors of the Friends is a minimum group of six directors that meet monthly from March to November. Meetings are formally run and the minutes that are taken are available to all members. Careful bookkeeping and reporting to the membership at the Annual General Meeting help to preserve our charitable status.
Since 1993, the Friends have helped with the completion of many projects within MacGregor Point Provincial Park. The construction, in 1996, of an observation tower along Tower Trail helped to highlight the role of the Huron Fringe as a migration corridor and important natural area for nesting birds along the Lake Huron shoreline. Viewing platforms have been constructed at Water Snake Pond and Seiche Pond and provide opportunities for nature observation and reflection. The campfire circle stage was first built with funding from the Friends and then in 2019 the circle of seating was enlarged and the benches were replaced. This site is a gathering point for many visitors to learn from guest speakers and live animal presentations, and to be entertained by the famous Mystery Evenings presented by the summer students from the Visitor Centre. Other projects have included boardwalk reconstruction, interpretive information panels at key points in the park, trail markers to aid hikers and cyclists, and Visitor Centre improvements and equipment. Groups of Friends volunteers also assist the Park with spring trail and shore clean-up and invasive species control.
Program enhancements include the annual support of summer student positions as Discovery Guides, and guest presenters on many weekends throughout the summer and fall. A sub-committee of the Friends organizes the world-renowned Huron Fringe Birding Festival which educates hundreds of participants every spring about the bird migration along the Huron Fringe as well as other topics of nature and the environment on the Bruce Peninsula. Other events change annually but have included Wild for the Arts, Healthy Parks Healthy People, and Family Day programs. These events bring varied user groups into the Park and the Saugeen Shores area.
Funding for this work in the Park is obtained through grant applications, membership sales, corporate and individual donations, and fundraising activities. Significant proceeds from the Huron Fringe Birding Festival are used for the projects and programs. The Huron Fringe Gift Shop, located in the Visitor Centre, is managed by the Friends of MacGregor Point Park and is an important source of income for the organization. Other fundraisers include breakfast with the Friends, barbecue lunches, bottle collection, and lottery ticket sales. Volunteers are always welcome to assist with our fundraising projects.
The Board of Directors recognizes that the role of the Friends of MacGregor Point Park is very important to MacGregor Point Provincial Park. It is our belief that our support promotes appreciation for education and recreation in a natural setting. This in turn will continue to promote conservation, environmental awareness, and health in people and the planet.