Wilson Island's cobble shores, Ontario (Photo by Michelle Derosier, Thunderstone Pictures)
Amazing sand beaches, stunning sunsets and the calming sounds of waves lapping on a forested shoreline: these are just some of the spectacular features of Wilson Island.
The $7-million bi-national Wilson Island project, located near Rossport, Ontario, is the largest (in terms of dollar value) conservation project ever completed in Ontario. In fact, eight islands totalling more than 4,700 acres (1,900 hectares), the largest of which is Wilson, are now conserved thanks to strong partnerships and many caring individuals.
Part of the Northwestern Lake Superior Coast Natural area and situated in the heart of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area — the largest freshwater protected area on the planet — the eight islands support a variety of habitats, including:
- rare coastal wetlands and forests,
- rugged cliffs
- bedrock shoreline
- globally rare sand beaches
In fact, a Parks Canada study of the entire northwest coast of Lake Superior ranked Wilson Island second overall for its representation of significant features of the region.
Exploring the interior forests of Wilson Island, one might come across rare species such as Appalachian fir–clubmoss and northern woodsia fern. The high cliffs of Wilson Island provide nesting habitat for majestic peregrine falcon, while the smaller off-shore islands provide important habitat for colonial nesting waterbirds.
Planning for the future
What does the future hold for Wilson and the associated islands? With the help of the Pays Plat First Nation and the local community, NCC is completing a detailed biological inventory of the islands. This information is being used to create a long-term management plan that will see the amazing features of Wilson Island conserved for our children and grandchildren, as well as for the wildlife that call this special place home.
Many committed partners helped ensure the natural legacy of Wilson Island, including The Nature Conservancy (U.S.), the Government of Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.