Sunset at Lake Superior Provincial Park, ON (Photo by Ethan Meleg)

Sunset at Lake Superior Provincial Park, ON (Photo by Ethan Meleg)

Cross-border conservation, for Superior’s sake

August 1, 2016
Thunder Bay, ON


An international effort to save Superior shoreline enters its final phase

When it comes to conservation, nature knows no borders.  Thanks in large part to the combined efforts of a handful of US-based organizations, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is within striking distance to conserving one of the last privately owned, undeveloped stretches of shoreline between Duluth, Minnesota and Thunder Bay, Ontario.  

Known as Big Trout Bay, the property that NCC has set out to purchase from a real estate developer from Wisconsin for conservation is located just minutes from the international border, and a half hour from Thunder Bay.  Its densely forested land is crucial to the well-being of several native species, including the bald eagle, and the peregrine falcon, majestic birds of prey that both use the area as a breeding ground.  Nearly half of Canada’s bird species rely on boreal habitat to complete their life cycle, and many of these species spend much of their time migrating throughout the Americas.   

Big 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. The 2,500 acre (1012 hectare) property is composed of coastal boreal forest, and includes 21 Km of pristine shoreline with towering cliffs, stretches of open bedrock, and rugged cobble beach.  

With the generous partnership of the JA Woollam Foundation, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the Bobolink Foundation, The Nature Conservancy’s Wisconsin and Minnesota programs, The Conservation Fund, Green Leaf Advisors and many individual donors in both the United States and Canada, NCC has been able to raise just over $5.25 million USD (approximately $6.8 million CDN) for this inspiring project. But, as the deadline of August 31 approaches, there is still a remaining need of $217,000 USD ($280,000 CDN) to secure the Big Trout Bay property for conservation.

“This is a massive international undertaking, but when faced with the potential loss of habitat and wildlife on the largest freshwater lake in the world, thinking big is essential,” said James Duncan, Nature Conservancy of Canada Vice President for Ontario. “Most importantly, 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.”

“Lake Superior’s Big Trout Bay, McKellar Point and Pine Point represent the last unsecured Great Lakes wilderness on the continent—truly a global gem,” said Tom Duffus, Midwest vice president for The Conservation Fund, which provided bridge financing as well as transactional and fundraising assistance to NCC via its Great Lakes Revolving Fund. “After more than 15 years of work personally on this project, I understand the importance of preserving the natural view the Voyageurs saw and, equally as important, the ecosystems that have sustained First Nations for generations.”

“The Nature Conservancy is proud to support this bi-national effort to protect the Great Lakes. Protection of the land at Big Trout Bay builds on other Great Lakes conservation successes including St. Martin Island in Lake Michigan and Clough Island in Lake Superior’s St. Louis River Estuary,” said Mary Jean Huston, who directs The Nature Conservancy’s work in Wisconsin. “Working together, we can keep the Great Lakes beautiful, healthy and productive today and for generations to come.”

As the final sprint to secure the property approaches its deadline, NCC is accepting donations in either Canadian or U.S. funds.  For those donors who favor a U.S. tax deduction, NCC is working in partnership with U.S.-based American Friends of Nature Conservancy of Canada (AFNCC).  Donations can be made at, (in the U.S.), or by calling 1-800-465-0029, x.2222.

About the Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is Canada’s leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved over 74,000 hectares (184,000 acres) in Ontario. For more information, visit:

About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working throughout the United States and around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. In Canada, the Conservancy’s work focuses on conserving globally significant landscapes, including the Great Bear Rainforest, Boreal Forest and Northwest Territories. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s work in Canada, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

About The Conservation Fund

At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land.

For additional photos and interviews, please contact:

The Nature Conservancy
Chris Anderson
(612) 331-0747 (office)
(612) 845-2744 (mobile)

Nature Conservancy of Canada
Jacqueline Segal
Communications Manager, Ontario
1-800-465-0029 (ext. 2215)

The Conservation Fund
Ann Simonelli
Media Relations

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