The Neutrals and Mississaugas relied entirely upon natural resources and agriculture for their survival. Important crops were corn, squash, beans and tobacco (Chanaysk, 1970). These agricultural activities allowed large numbers of individuals to occupy villages. For example, when Jesuit Priests first visited southwestern Ontario they reported about 40 villages and estimated that they contained at least 12,000 individuals.
Huge numbers of waterfowl made use of the Long Point area during spring and fall migration. In the early years, there were few restrictions on the shooting season and on the size of the bag, or sale of game. "Pot hunting", both for subsistence and for market, was common practice and an additional resource for punters and villagers of Port Rowan (Big Creek Valley Conservation Authority, 1963).
Table 1 illustrates the expansion of lumbering during the early 1800's in the townships of the Long Point area. Big Creek was used to float millions of board feet of mainly pine and oak lumber to the Bay. The bulk of this lumber was exported through Port Rowan and to a lesser extent Port Royal. In 1849, exports from Port Rowan were dominated by lumber.
When mainland timber became scarce, loggers turned their attention to the Long Point peninsula. Boughner (1898) listed White Pine as the major species removed. The logging of this area had severe implications, with blowouts caused by wind and water destroying sand dunes (Figure 2). After its purchase in 1866, the Long Point Company restricted extensive logging activities.
The early development of grist mills is illustrated in Table 2.
Wheat growers in Norfolk county began to experience competition from western wheat suppliers in 1870 and by 1871 wheat production in Norfolk County had declined by more than 30 percent (Big Creek Valley Conservation Authority, 1963).
After 1795, with new settlers constantly arriving, several of the landowners fronting the marsh became concerned about their supply of hay and applied for grants of marshland. By the turn of the century, grants of land were given to most of the landowners who fronted the marsh in Walsingham township (Big Creek Marsh). Cattle ranged at large before 1870, and were often left out the entire year during the early pioneer days. The marshes provided a vast area of grazing without much danger of stock becoming lost.
Although fruit farming was not extensive on the Long Point Peninsula, a number of small operations did exist before the establishment of the Long Point Company. These operations included: 1) a small section of Ryerson's Island, which had some grapevine and a few peach trees; 2) fifteen hectares on the north end of Courtright Ridge, which were cultivated as a vineyard and which had a few peach trees; 3) an area of five hectares on Clark's Bluffs (now Bluff Point), which was under some sort of cultivation including a vineyard and peach orchard; 4) a garden of one hectare at the north end of Little Creek Ridge; and 5) a clearing of about 2 hectares at the north end of Squire's Ridge (Figure 3). Barrett (1977) indicated that the Long Point Company purchased these small parcels and did not support further cultivation.
During the pioneer years, the major centres of manufacturing were located at Port Rowan and Port Dover, where ready access to shipping was available (Figure 4). At one time, the Port Dover Tannery was considered to be the best in Ontario and employed 10 to 15 people (Big Creek Valley Conservation Authority, 1963). A woolen mill, carriage-maker, and cabinetmaker were also present in Port Dover during the 1860's and 1870's. As the Long Point area became more populated, the number of manufacturing establishments increased. The first industries that developed were distilling, wool-dressing, tanning and lye and potash production (Big Creek Valley Conservation Authority, 1963). As more equipment became available, additional industries developed.
During the 1870's summer vacations and summer cottages were becoming common in Ontario (Big Creek Valley Conservation Authority, 1963). No longer were hunting and fishing the only recreational activities in the Long Point area. Bathing and boating were becoming popular and beach sites were in demand. As the pioneer period ended, Port Dover and Port Rowan began to benefit substantially from tourism and the "cottage trade" as commercial and service industries increased (Big Creek Valley Conservation Authority, 1963).
Whillans (1979) argued that the construction of the Long Point causeway in 1928 interfered with fish movement and habitat and contributed substantially to the disappearance of Muskellunge and to decreased populations of Northern Pike, since there were no other apparent stresses at the time of their population declines. Northern Pike apparently shifted their spawning grounds from the now blocked Big Creek marsh eastward along the south shore. Whillans (1979) also indicated that there is evidence that the construction of a dam in Big Creek between 1889 and 1894 probably had a negative effect on Walleye and Yellow Perch populations in the Inner Bay.
The establishment of the St. Williams forestry station in 1908, opened a new chapter in the natural resources sector of Long Point and of Ontario. A total of 1,650 acres was purchased by the provincial government to form the nucleus of Ontario's first forestry station (Zavitz, 1963). In 1926, Norfolk Forestry Station No. 2 was built on 1,950 acres of land near Turkey Point (Figure 6). This forestry station came under the management and supervision of the St. Williams Forestry Station. The accomplishments of the province's first forestry station are twofold: 1) the production of nursery crops, and 2) the planting of forest demonstration sites.
Through the provision of seedlings, the St. Williams Forestry station was largely responsible for the reforestation of large cut-over areas of Norfolk county and the establishment of extensive wind breaks. By the 75th anniversary of the station (1983), the St. Williams Forestry Station had produced 370 million seedlings, which is sufficient to reforest an area of 308,000 acres (Robertson, 1983). It also has been a source of employment for residents of the area. In 1909, the forestry station employed 10 full time staff. In 1960, the number of employees increased to 120. In 1983 there were 12 permanent staff and approximately 150 seasonal staff (Robertson, 1983).
In 1940, Wilson (1974) reported less that 100 summer cottages and one permanent residence within the Long Point Park. Cottage develpment increased in 1944 however, when the provincial government began to supply new cottage lots on a 21 year lease.
Big Creek Valley Conservation Authority. 1953. Big Creek Conservation Report. Department of Lands and Forests. Conservations Authorities Branch, Toronto, Ontario.
Boughner, L.J. 1898 "Notes of the Flora of Long Point Island Lake Erie, Province of Ontario, Canada" Canadian Field Naturalist: 12
Chanasyk, V. 1970. The Haldimand-Norfolk Evnvironmental appraisal: Volume 2/Synthesis and Recommendations. Onatario Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs, Toronto, Ontario.
Greenland, G. 1974 Fishing on Lake Erie Shoreline. Ontario ministry of Natural resources, regional Office, London, Ontario.
Hefferman, S.E. 1978 Long Point, Ontario: Land Use, Landscape Change and Planning. M.A. Thesis School of Urban and Regional Planning, university of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
Kington, B. December 1994. St. Williams Forestry Station, Personal Communication.
Otter Creek Conservation authority, 1957. Otter Creek Vallet Conservation report. Department of Lands and forests, Conservation Authorities Branch, Toronto, Ontario.
Peterson, R.L. 1957 "Changes in the Mammalian Fauna of Ontario" In Changes in the Fauna of Ontario (Urquart, F.A.ed) University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario:43-57
Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk. 1989. Economic Base Study 1989. Department of Planning and Development, Townsend, Ontario.
Robertson, D.J. 1983. "Ontario's First Forest Station" Port Rowan Good News 75th Anniversart of the St Williams Forestry Station Special Edition.
Speight and VanNostrand, 1923. Map showing the plan of subdivision of part of the Long Point Park. Department of Lands and forests. Toronto, Ontario.
Whillans, T.H. 1979 "Resonose of Fish Communities to Stess: a Historical Study of Inner Bay, Long Point" Contact: Journal of Urban and Environmental Affairs. 11(1): 1-18
Wilcox,S. 1992 The Historical Economies of the Long Point Region. Long Point environmental Folio Series. (Nelson J.G. and Lawrence, P.L. eds) Working Paper 1. Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
Wilson, D.L. 1974 Long Point: Its Historical Geography. Undergraduate Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario