5 islands in the middle of the Moose River between Moose Factory and Moosonee
The unique Tidewater Provincial Park is situated on 5 islands in the tidal estuary of the Moose River near the small communities of Moosonee and Moose Factory. Located only 20 kilometres (12 miles) upriver from the salt-water James Bay it is comprised of mud-flats, marshes, sub-arctic landscapes and Hudson Bay coastline.
This Ontario Provincial Park was first created in 1964 and is a natural environment park and is one of the few provincial parks not run by the Ministry of Natural resources as it is under the joint supervision and operation Ontario Parks and the nearby Moose Cree First Nation.
In total Tidewater Provincial Park occupies 980 hectares (2422 acres) of environmentally sensitive land on the following islands:
- Charles Island
- South Charles Island
- Butler Island
- Hayes Island
- Bushy Island
Location of Tidewater Provincial Park
Getting to Tidewater Provincial Park:
Please see me Moosonee Ontario page for directions to this small community as Tidewater Provincial Park lies only 1.5 kilometres (1 mile) offshore in the middle of the Moose River.
As the park is located on islands in the middle of the Moose River you can only reach it by boat. Water taxis are readily available at most public docks and when you are dropped off at the park you can usually make arrangements to be picked back up at a pre-determined time.
Tidewater attractions and activities
Most visitors will land on Charles Island, as that is where all facilities (toilets) and development is located. Charles Island is actually split in two by a man-made channel allowing for boat traffic between the communities of Moosonee and Moose Factory on Moose Factory Island. This has led to the formation of the so-called “South Charles Island”.
The main attraction to the park itself is its natural features; the tidal erosions, fossils and forest growth that are representative of the region in general.
Camping is the primary reason most visitors come to the park as Tidewater Provincial Park provides the only monitored camping facilities in the region.
10 campsites are available on a first come first basis. All campsites are un-serviced with each having a fire pit and picnic table. A picnic shelter is located at one double site and a large group picnic shelter is available near the group camping site.
Please note once again that as of 2015 camping and all other services are once again available at the park no matter what you may read elsewhere online.
- Riverside Trail
Enjoy the sub-arctic scenery of the Moose River as you stroll along the parks 2 kilometre (1.2 mile) long Riverside Trail. It is very easy to navigate and should take at most 45 minutes to complete.
There are many small streams that flow through the various islands of the park and all are well worthy of throwing a line in as they are full of brook trout. For those seeking to land bigger fish the Moose River contains trophy sized walleye and northern pike.
While the fishing is definitely better further upriver for those without access to a boat or canoe this may be the best location for attempting to land one of these prized game fish.
Tidewater Provincial Park is not a wildlife paradise but you will find some animals of interest on the islands including:
- Black Bear
While the Moose River has long been a main canoe and kayaking route it gets very wide and choppy near its mouth at James Bay. It is recommended that you are an experienced paddler if you wish to traverse the waters near the park as it can become quite dangerous.
There are no canoe/kayak rentals in the park so if you wish to participate in this sport you must bring your own on the Polar Bear Express train.
Swimming in the Moose River near the shoreline of the various islands of the park is not recommended as there are strong currents and tides.
Now that camping has been curtailed in the park picnicking has become one of the primary reasons that people still visit. There are a couple of picnic shelters and plenty of picnic tables along with fire pit grills that many locals make use of for family get-togethers.
All are available for visitors who may wish to spend a part of the day visiting this far-flung provincial park.