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Free land for free people: Looking back at Earth People’s Park

Earth People's Park

By Rod Clarke

posted August 5, 2005

We are stardust, we are golden,
We are caught in the devil’s bargain;
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

– Joni Mitchell, “Woodstock”

They came by the hundreds, looking for the garden. But what they found was 592 acres of tangled, bug-infested, logged out swampland, a wall of local hostility, and a climate so harsh and unforgiving that it brought tears to the eyes of the weak when the bitter winds of winter howled down across the Canadian border.

Some took one look, hitched up their backpacks, and headed out without ever unrolling their sleeping bags.

Others stayed, much to the dismay of the hard-working, French-Canadian locals who had viewed the invasion of their land by hordes of long-haired hippie freaks with fear and loathing.

It was called Earth People’s Park (EPP), and to this day, the very name conjures up a host of images, most of them wildly off the mark. I should know. For a year, my family called EPP home.

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