NCC's Trout Bay project
Looking down over Trout Bay, Lake Superior, ON. (Photo by NCC)
It’s rare that the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) gets the opportunity to take important steps in an area steeped with natural significance, and of such critical relevance to the health of the Great Lakes system for both sides of the border.
Rock formation on the north shore of Lake Superior, ON. (Photo by Carol DeSain)
NCC is leading a bi-national effort to raise funds aimed at the long-term goal of protecting undeveloped shoreline and inland forest on the North Shore of Lake Superior.
With its rugged coastline, dense forest, blue-grey waters and unique rock formations, Lake Superior’s matchless qualities and vast expanses represent the kind of wilderness that lives on in Great Lakes lore.
Known as the Trout Bay project, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is hoping to raise funds within the next six months to permanently protect more than 2,500 acres (1,010 hectares) of land on Big Trout Bay and Little Trout Bay, found at the northwest corner of Lake Superior. The sigificant conservation opportunity is located only minutes from the international border and just a half hour from Thunder Bay.
A project of this magnitude would be prohibitively expensive to complete in the U.S., but is still possible in Canada.
“This is a massive undertaking,” says James Duncan, vice-president in Ontario with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “But when faced with the potential loss of habitat and wildlife on the largest freshwater lake in the world, thinking big is essential,” adds Duncan.
Protecting Species at Risk
Peregrine falcon (Photo by Chris Hill)
Why Trout Bay? NCC’s conservation scientists have identified the property as crucial to the well-being of several wildlife species. NCC’s conservation process is led by a team who plan and execute the protection of critical and at-risk natural spaces and manage them for the long term.
With 21 kilometres of pristine shoreline, including stretches of open bedrock and cobble beach, the bulk of the Trout Bay property is composed of coastal boreal forest. Nearly half of Canada’s bird species rely on boreal habitat to complete their life cycle, and many of these species migrate throughout the Americas.
Trout Bay’s spectacular cliff outcrop is also a critical breeding ground for the peregrine falcon, one of the many wide-ranging and migrating species that pass through this greater North Shore landscape.
The best and perhaps last chance to act
Trout Bay holds incredible significance, not only for its rare habitat and species but also for its likelihood for development if not acquired. The shoreline has already been zoned for residential development, with the potential for more than 300 cottage lots. This is the last privately owned, undeveloped bay between Duluth in Minnesota and Thunder Bay in Ontario. Much of the coastline in this area is being actively marketed to land buyers who are looking to build.
Connecting nature lovers to wilderness
While development puts this shoreline at risk, the Nature Conservancy of Canada firmly believes in making NCC properties accessible to nature lovers and encourages visitors. Many of NCC’s properties in Ontario provide excellent hiking, birdwatching, nature photography and other recreation opportunities. Should NCC be lucky enough to purchase Trout Bay, trails would be incorporated in to the currently privately owned property to make it even more accessible to nature lovers in the area.
Bird's-eye view of Trout Bay, Lake Superior, ON. (Photo by John Anderson)
Through partnerships on both sides of the border, the Nature Conservancy of Canada hopes to ensure that this emblem of North American natural heritage will remain a home for wildlife and a haven for recreation, and that it will provide vital sustenance to the Great Lakes Basin on which the U.S. and Canada both rely so heavily.
“Most importantly,” says James Duncan, “this project gives us hope that the landscapes we love today will be here for others to enjoy tomorrow. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to make substantive and tangible progress on our overall goal of protecting the Superior North Shore.”
The Nature Conservancy of Canada must still raise approximately $3.6 million dollars in its campaign to purchase Trout Bay. Donations can be made by clicking here, or by calling 1-800-465-0029, x.2222.