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FORESTS OF NW ONTARIO

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Regional Green Spaces
of Northwestern Ontario



Albert Lake Mesa Nature Reserve
Located east of Hwy. 527 in the Nipigon District, this 130 ha Nature Reserve features an excellent mesa/talus complex and is home to several regionally rare and/or uncommon species of liverwort plants. The sharp-tailed grouse is also known to range in this no hunting zone.

Arrowhead Peninsula Nature Reserve
Located near the end of Hwy. 588 at Northern Light Lake, this 815 ha park was established to protect significant stands of mature old growth red and white pine. Other forest types represented here include black spruce bogs and hardwood swamps dominated by black ash.

Arrow Lake Provincial Park
Arrow Lake is a non-operating, recreation class park situated in the Northern Lights corridor about 75 km (45 miles) west of Thunder Bay on Hwy. 588. This 430 ha parkland is equipped with 40 campsites, 6 outhouses and a boat launch; however, they are not maintained by the MNR. Arrow Lake was well used during prehistoric times, as evidenced by several archaeological sites, including what may be an encampment site.

The Beardmore Unconformity
The Beardmore Uncomformity is a rock outcrop located on the east side of Hwy. 11 some 3.9 km (2.3 miles) north of the entrance to Lake Nipigon Provincial Park. Here the visitor will note two types of rock - one on top of the other. On the top is a 1.3 billion year old sandstone deposit (Pass Lake Formation) overlaying Precambrian metasedimentary rocks deposited 2.7 billion years ago. Information on other geological features in the area can be obtained by writing: Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, Resident Geologist's Office, Suite B0002, 475 James St. S., Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7E 6E3. Ask for the Self-Guided Mining and Geology Tour, Beardmore-Geraldton District.

Bonheur River Kame Nature Reserve
Found in the Ignace District, this 800 ha Nature Reserve protects a distinctive, unmodified kame deposit rising some 80 m (260 ft) above the surrounding landscape. Forest cover is typical of the southern Boreal forest region.

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Brightsand River Provincial Park
A 130 km (80 mile) canoe route offers both large lakes and quick drops in elevation. Located 140 km (85 miles) NW of Thunder Bay off Hwy. 17 (then Graham Road), the park may also be accessed from Kopka River, another waterway facility. Natural features include eskers, moraines, and diabase dikes, plus Boreal and Old-Growth pine forest. Woodland Caribou are found in the area.

Castle Creek Nature Reserve
This 1075 ha Nature Reserve is located south of Hwy. 588 near Whitefish Lake and contains two significant natural features: a stand of eastern white cedar with a shoreline marsh which provides a home for the calypso orchid; and in the upland region the sensitive Castle Creek ponds with both regionally rare and uncommon plant species, including climbing bittersweet, virginia creeper and hawthorne. Wild rice also grows here and is harvested by Natives in the autumn.

Cavern Lake Nature Reserve
Found just north of Ouimet Canyon, this 189 ha Nature Reserve features a smaller canyon (48 m/157 ft. in height) with prominent talus slopes, a lake and a cave. A variety of plants of arctic and alpine affinity such as northern woodsia, arctic pyrola, encrusted saxifrage, fragrant shield fern and alpine bistort grow on the sensitive canyon floor and on the lichen barrens dominating the cliffs and talus slopes. The cave, which visitors are not encouraged to disturb, provides a winter hibernaculum for up to four different species of bat including the fairly rare Keen's long-eared bat. The bats conduct their swarming from July to September.

Craig's Pit Nature Reserve
A 530 ha Nature Reserve on Hwy. 17 south of Marathon, Craig's Pit features a variety of landforms including four major kettle holes, deep deltaic deposits, and wave-cut bluffs from the glacial Lake Minong period. The reserve is also an important birding area where hawks gather in great numbers.

Devon Road Mesa Nature Reserve
This 60 ha Nature Reserve, which is located on the north side of Hwy. 593 (not far from the Minnesota-Ontario border), contains a lucustrine clay deposit and diabase dike of Rove shales that provide shelter to regionally rare and uncommon flora, such as sugar maple, red maple, yellow birch, spotted coralroot and (beware) poison ivy. Young to medium aged white pine are growing near the south of the reserve along with white spruce.

Divide Ridge Nature Reserve
Located on the north side of Hwy. 588 near Whitefish Lake, this 235 ha Nature Reserve features a portion of wave-washed Proterozoic bedrock and a north facing escarpment with associated vegetation patterns typical of shallow, sandy till. A south facing slope is dominated by aspen mixed with the occasional white pine.

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Edward Island Nature Reserve
A 600 ha island in Lake Superior immediately east of the Sleeping Giant, this Nature Reserve was established to provide protection to a volcanic sequence and plants which are usually found in the Arctic.

Fraleigh Lake Nature Reserve
Located east of Hwy. 593, a few km south of the junction with Hwy. 588, this 825 ha Nature Reserve represents a range of wetland complexes including both a marsh and a fen. Vegetation is typical of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence/Boreal Transitional Forest. The remains of some abandoned homesteads stand within the reserve boundaries.

Gravel River Nature Reserve
This 763 ha Nature Reserve situated on Hwy. 17 about halfway between Nipigon and Schreiber protects several kilometres of the Gravel River including its estuary which empties into Lake Superior. A number of features relating to meandering streams are represented here including oxbow lakes, river terraces and a bird's foot delta. Other features include a jack pine stand, cedar and willow thickets, as well as cattail and sedge marshes. This no hunting area is heavily used by waterfowl during the spring and supports a small herd of white-tail deer.

Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve
Located 115 km (72 miles) west of Thunder Bay, Greenwood is an 811 ha old-growth white pine stand stocked with 40 - 50 stems of mature (up to 300 years of age) white pine trees. Plans are underway to develop a few low impact hiking trails through the area. [
Click here for more detailed information, photos and map ]

Hurkett Cove Conservation Area
Take Hwy. 11-17 East just past Dorion and then turn right to follow a dirt road for 3 km (2 miles) to the shore of Black Bay on Lake Superior. The area features a 125 ha cove with a sand beach and warm, shallow water. Surrounding the cove is a low lying marshland that is home to a great variety of songbirds, waterfowl and other wild creatures.

Kabitotikwia River Nature Reserve
An established canoe route, this 1965 ha Nature Reserve is situated on Hwy. 527 just south of the Gull Bay Indian Reserve (#55). Features include an unusual river meander pattern as well as an excellent wetland marsh complex with open and treed bogs and a low shrub fen.

Kaiashk Nature Reserve
This 780 ha Nature Reserve, situated west of Lake Nipigon and accessible by the Gull River, was established to provide protection for part of the Kaiashk Interlobate Moraine associated with the most southerly of 17 major spillways which drained glacial Lake Agassiz.

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Kama Hill Nature Reserve
This 1 ha Nature Reserve on Hwy. 17 a few km east of Nipigon was established exclusively for the protection of the type section for the Kama Hill Formation, an element of the Sibley Group.

Kashabowie Provincial Park
A 2055 ha Natural Environment Park located some 100 km (60 miles) west of Thunder Bay on Hwy. 11, Kashabowie provides protection for a variety of wetland types, including bogs, swamps, shoreline and fluvial marshes. Also represented is the Kashabowie Spillway, a drainage outlet from glacial Lake Kaministiquia.

Kopka River Provincial Park
Located some 200 km (120 miles) north of Thunder Bay, the Kopka River can be accessed from either the Graham Road or Hwy. 527. This 166 km (100 mile) water route features severe rapids and falls, low water levels and long portages. Situated in the Boreal forest zone, Kopka contains a dune complex and once served as an eastern outlet for spillage from glacial Lake Agassiz.

Lake Nipigon Provincial Park
Situated 160 km (100 miles) northeast of Thunder Bay on Hwy. 11, this 1400 ha parkland of mixed timber forest is surrounded by magnificent cliffs towering some 170 metres (550 feet) overhead. 60 campsites are provided for visitors, as well as a fully equipped comfort station. Call 1-807-887-5010.

LaVerendrye Provincial Park
Situated 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Thunder Bay on the U.S. border, this 109 km (68 mile) waterway consists mainly of lakes with very little white water. Nominated as a Canadian Heritage River (fur trade route), this waterway park is home to numerous rare plants and represents the approximate northern limit of basswood, white elm and associated species.

Little Current River Provincial Park
This waterway park offers a variety of water conditions over its 177 km (110 mile) course. Located about 100 km (62 miles) north of Geraldton, Little Current can be accessed off Hwy. 584 and 643, then by following logging roads. The park contains shoreline elements associated with glacial Lake Barlow-Ojibway.

Little Greenwater Nature Reserve
This 250 ha Nature Reserve south of Kashabowie was established to protect a representative feature of the Brule Creek Moraine.

Livingstone Point Nature Reserve
This 1800 ha Nature Reserve on the eastern shore of Lake Nipigon provides protection for a series of diabase sills overlying Sibley Group sediments. Some of the rocky shore portions support arctic/alpine affinity flora.

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MacLeod Provincial Park
Located on Hwy. 11 near Geraldton (300 km/180 miles) northeast of Thunder Bay, this 74 ha park 57 camping sites, half of which have electrical hookups. A comfort station on site is equipped with washrooms, showers and a laundromat. Surrounded on three sides by Kenogamisis Lake, MacLeod features a fine sand beach for sunbathing and swimming.

Matawin River Nature Reserve
Accessible by dirt road proceeding west of Hwy. 590 or south from Hwy. 11, this 2615 ha Nature Reserve features a moderately broken terminal moraine, a weakly broken outwash plain, forested dunes, fluvial wetlands and a deepwater marsh. The site provides excellent wildlife habitat.

Nakina Moraine Provincial Park
Situated directly south of the community of Nakina, this recent 5319 ha addition to the parks system features a number of post glacial landforms including a portion of the Nakina moraine, a ground moraine, kettles and eskers.

Neys Provincial Park
Neys Provincial Park occupies 3445 ha of land on Hwy. 17, 310 km (186 miles) east of Thunder Bay. Often painted by the "Group of Seven" artists, the park offers 144 camping sites, as well as fully equipped comfort stations. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the 2 km (over 1 mile) long sand beach on Lake Superior. Call 1-807-229-1624.

Nipigon River Recreational Trail
An 8 km (5 mi) trail follows the Nipigon River between Nipigon and Red Rock. Ranging in difficulty from easy to challenging, the trail offers access to the river and marshland and spectacular views of Nipigon Bay. Gravelled portions at each end are suitable for biking and skiing; the section between Stillwater and Lloyd's Lookout is rugged with steep inclines and ravines. Trail maps are available at the Visitor Information Centre in Nipigon.

North Superior Hiking Trail
The highlights of this 46 km (28 mi) walking path between Rossport and Terrace Bay include the Aguasabon Gorge and the Mount Gwynne Lookout which provides a view some 80 km (50 mi) in all directions. An information package and detailed maps can be obtained from Terrace Bay Tourist Information by calling (807) 825-9721.

Ouimet Canyon Nature Reserve
Ouimet Canyon is a gorge where wind and rain have chiselled deep into the Canadian Shield to form one of the most striking canyons of Eastern Canada.

The 777 ha park is located 70 km (42 mi) east of Thunder Bay on Hwy. 11/17. A gentle 1 km walking trail leads from the parking lot to two viewing platforms that extend over the edge of the precipitous canyon wall. The land falls 100 meters straight down to the rock strewn canyon floor. Across the 150 metre gap, huge columns of diabase rock reach skyward to form a spectacular and gigantic rock wall. To the north, the canyon pinches and twists into the surrounding hills; to the south, it opens to a broad valley and a grand vista of Lake Superior.

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Pantagruel Creek Nature Reserve
This 2685 ha Nature Reserve, accessible only by helicopter, was established to protect a portion of the Kaiashk Spillway, a prominent post-glacial waterway connecting glacial Lake Agassiz to early lake stages in the Superior Basin.

Porphory Island Nature Reserve
A 107 ha Nature Reserve off the south-eastern shore of Edward Island in Lake Superior, Porphyry Island provides protection to a number of rare and endangered plant species, including alpine berry, butterwort, Drummond's thistle and devil's club (the latter is not known to grow in any other location in Canada east of the Rocky Mountains). There are remnants of mining buildings that were constructed in 1846 and indications of a possible prehistoric Native presence.

Prairie River Nature Reserve
Located at the mouth of the Prairie River just a few kms east of Terrace Bay, this 380 ha Nature Reserve features extensive beach ridges as well as a dune complex. The vegetation community is that of a spruce-lichen woodland, primarily a reindeer lichen ground cover. Some areas of the reserve are home to bearberry, blueberry, juniper, beach pea and sand cherry.

Puff Island Nature Reserve
This reserve is both small (9 ha) and isolated south of St. Ignace Island on Lake Superior. It preserves the integrity of what is believed to be the uppermost level of the Osler Group, a volcanic deposit located along Black Bay Peninsula extending west from Edward Island to Copper Island.

Pukaskwa National Park
Ontario's largest national park features 1,878 square kilometres of wilderness. The size and remote location of the park offer unique challenges to visitors. Backpacking enthusiasts will enjoy the awesome beauty of the 60 km (37 mile) Coastal Hiking Trail. Canoeists can travel down the rapids of either the Pukaskwa or White River. The number of parties and the party size permitted in the backcountry is limited in order to preserve the natural features of the park and maintain the sense of wilderness. Contact the Park at 1-807-229-0801 for more information on booking a backcountry trip. Pukaskwa National Park conducts and sponsors scientific research which increases the understanding of the park ecosystem. Of special interest are the rare Woodland Caribou. One of the largest ongoing research projects studies the interactions between moose, wolf and caribou and how they use habitats in and around the park. Visitors can experience aboriginal culture through a program of First Nations interpretation which introduces visitors to many aspects of aboriginal life past and present.

Quetico Provincial Park
Situated in the Atikokan region, 190 km (115 miles) west of Thunder Bay on Hwy. 11, Quetico Provincial Park is considered by many to be the finest wilderness canoe area in the world. This facility provides visitors with access to over 4750 square km of interspersed lake and forest, and is home to a great variety of plant and animal species. It has 220 interior campsites and 156 car campsites. Other attractions include Indian pictographs, as well as an outstanding information pavilion. Visitors should avoid disturbing archaeological deposits situated in this beautiful wilderness area. Call 1-807-597-2735.

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Rainbow Falls Provincial Park (and Rossport)
Located 190 km (115 miles) east of Thunder Bay on Hwy. 17, Rainbow Falls Provincial Park and Rossport Campground together provide some 133 tent and trailer sites on a 505 ha site. Call 1-807-824-2298.

Red Sucker Point Nature Reserve
This 360 ha Nature Reserve on Lake Superior is located west of Marathon and features a continuous sequence of raised cobble beaches which were the shoreline of the glacial Lake Minong as it receded to the current Lake Superior level.

Sandbar Lake Provincial Park
Situated on Hwy. 599 some 235 km (140 miles) west of Thunder Bay, just north of Ignace, Sandbar provides visitors with access to numerous appealing features, including a lovely sand beach and an Indian pictograph viewing area. Among the park's other attractions are several post-glacial landforms including sandspits, eskers and erratic blocks. Providing 75 camping sites and a fully equipped comfort station, the 5083 ha park is surrounded by a transitional Great Lakes-St. Lawrence/Boreal forest zone. Call 1-807-934-2995.

Schreiber Channel Nature Reserve
This sensitive 13 ha Nature Reserve on Lake Superior's north shore between Nipigon and Schreiber was established to protect a sample of the Gunflint Formation, as well as stromatolite dating from 1.6 billion years ago. Contact Ontario Parks at (807) 475-1321 for more information.

Sedgeman Lake Nature Reserve
A large (5710 ha) Hature Reserve northeast of Lake Nipigon, 84 km (52 miles ) northwest of Nakina, Sedgeman contains an esker-delta complex and numerous deposits associated with the glacial Lake Nakina stage. The Kapikotongwa River, which passes through the park, is believed to have been an access route to the Albany system during the fur trade period.

Shesheeb Bay Nature Reserve
Located on the eastern shore of Black Bay Peninsula in Lake Superior, this 275 ha Nature Reserve - like most in its geographical range - represents the Osler Group.

Shook Lake Conservation Reserve
A 528 ha Conservation Reserve located northwest of Nipigon, Shook Lake preserves an almost pure stand of white pine found at the northern edge of the current range.

Slate Islands Provincial Park
This Natural Environment park in Lake Superior near Terrace Bay protects 6570 ha of Superior Highland transitional forest. A Woodland Caribou population lives here free from predation.

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Steel River Provincial Park
This 161 km (100 mile) waterway park situated 240 km (145 miles) east of Thunder Bay on Hwy. 17 has a variety of access points. Consisting of a variety of water types (slow, white, lake), the park features eskers, wetlands and a post glacial spillway.

Turtle River-White Otter Lake Provincial Park
Located some 240 km (145 miles) west of Thunder Bay, the Turtle River system is accessible from either Hwy. 11 or 17. Consisting mainly of a chain of interconnecting lakes, the route includes several drops in elevation and some whitewater opportunities. Surrounded by a transitional forest zone, the land features some old-growth pine, as well as the Eagle-Finlayson moraine. Cultural resources include pictographs and the White Otter Castle, a large red pine log structure constructed in the early part of this century.

Wabakimi Provincial Park
A remote park located northwest of Armstrong, 250 km (150 miles) from Thunder Bay), Wabakimi is an expansive wilderness canoe area. Comprised of some 155,000 ha (proposed to expand to 891,500 ha), the park is home to a great variety of floral and faunal species. Due to the difficult access to this park, prospective visitors are encouraged to contact the following for information relating to access, map sheets and other pertinent data: Superintendent, Wabakimi Provincial Park, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Nipigon District Office, P.O. Box 970, Nipigon, ON, P0T 2J0; telephone (807) 887-5010, fax (807) 887-2

993. West Bay Nature Reserve
A 1120 ha Nature Reserve on the west shore of Lake Nipigon, West Bay features a portion of the Onaman Interlobate Moraine as well as a glacial Lake Kelvin shoreline sequence.

Windigo Bay Nature Reserve
This large (8378 ha) Nature Reserve on Lake Nipigon features a glacial Lake Kelvin shore bluff as well as windblown sand dunes with associated dune field vegetation. Both Laurel and Black Duck pottery fragments have been identified on site. The area is an important migratory route for Woodland Caribou.

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