Superior Islands Nature Reserve. Photo © Mike Bryan

Superior Islands

Superior Islands Nature Reserve

TBFN completed the purchase of the Superior Islands Nature Reserve in July 2017. The reserve protects eight properties in five separate locations in the heart of the National Marine Conservation Area. It includes more than four kilometers of undeveloped Lake Superior shoreline.  This new addition is 57.87 hectares (143 acres) of land mass – this total does not include the large underwater lots that are part of all of these new holdings. While the individual properties are relatively small, they are surrounded by Crown Land. By acquiring these small pieces of patent land, TBFN is protecting entire islands from development. The properties are all remote and undisturbed, with no developments or roads, and no recent logging or mining activity. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has rated these properties as high priority for protection.

The Owen Channel property was purchased in April 2018. It is located in the National Marine Conservation Area on the east shore of Black Bay Peninsula. (Click on map to the right.) Inland, a Provincial Conservation Reserve surrounds the property. The property consists of five adjacent parcels (200 acres) of which about 60% is land and 40% lakebed.

The Owen Channel site features more than two kilometers of rugged Lake Superior shoreline, large raised cobble beaches with delicate lichen and heath habitat, and an array of Arctic plants. Another feature of interest is a small inland lake (Otter Lake) with shoreline marsh habitat. Roughly half of this lake is included in the purchase. The property is remote with no buildings nor roads, and no recent logging nor mining.

The property is located very near some of our existing reserves. Spar Island, and Agate Cove, both purchased in 2017 as part of TBFN’s “Superior Islands Nature Reserve”, are just a few minutes away by boat. The property is also on the route of the Lake Superior Water Trail (part of the Trans Canada Trail). 

The latest addition to the Superior Nature Reserve is Agate Point. TBFN purchased this 40 acre parcel of privately owned land in August 2018. This purchase was key to protecting the natural wilderness character of this whole area. Agate Point is the last private piece in this section of the lake and is located very near our existing properties at Spar Island, Agate Cove, and Owen Channel-Otter Lake. Four TBFN members completed a preliminary inventory and site assessment of the new Agate Point property in July while visiting other TBFN reserves in the area.

The protection of all these properties was only possible because of donations from hundreds of individual supporters. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this major conservation effort.

The Thunder Bay Field Naturalists would like to acknowledge the following partners for their support in helping us to secure these properties: the Echo Foundation, Environment and Climate Change CanadaThe McLean Foundation, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Assistance was also received from the Ontario Land Trust Alliance. The Ontario Land Trust Assistance Program assists eligible recipients with costs associated with land securement and management to help conserve Ontario’s biodiversity. OLTAP is an initiative of the Ontario Land Trust Alliance Inc. This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. 

Superior Is. NR images