Staley Point, Wolfe Island, ON (Photo by Spencer Wynn)

Staley Point, Wolfe Island, ON (Photo by Spencer Wynn)

Help protect a key piece of Wolfe Island coastline

August 1, 2019
Kingston, ON

 

Nature Conservancy of Canada conserves 31 hectares on south coast


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is looking to protect almost 40 hectares (100 acres) of meadow, wetland and shoreline on Staley Point once home to French aristocracy, fur trappers, French settlers and Loyalist farmers.

Located at the extreme northwestern corner of Wolfe Island, just six kilometres south of Kingston, Staley Point has a long history. The property was part of the seigneury (estate of a French noble) of French explorer and trader Rene-Robert Cavelier La Salle, which was awarded to him in 1675 by King Louis XIV of France. In 1685, the property was part of the very first private land sale in Upper Canada when La Salle transferred the island to Jacques Cauchois.

In the last century, Staley Point became a local hunt club. In the late 90s, the club’s membership was dwindling and interest in keeping the lands protected waned. However, club member, Bill Brown, stepped forward to purchase the property to protect it from future development. In 2004, Brown deeded the land to his three daughters, who continued to keep it as a wild retreat as a tribute to their father.

Aside from its distinguished cultural history, Staley Point is critical to local nature conservation. Large marsh wetlands on the south side of the property filter water flowing off Wolfe Island into Lake Ontario, while providing habitat for an impressive suite of waterfowl. Its expansive grasslands are home to large numbers of migratory, at-risk birds, such as bobolink and eastern meadowlark and provide habitat for the endangered monarch along its epic migration route.

NCC, a not-for-profit, national land trust, is looking for the funds to purchase Staley Point from the Brown family. In total, the organization must raise $1.1 million by the end of 2019 to protect this key part of Lake Ontario’s cultural and natural heritage.

Traditionally known as Ganounkouesnot, which means Long Island Standing Up to the Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation, Wolfe Island (or Grand Ile in French) is the largest island in the Thousand Islands archipelago. The island was later renamed Wolfe Island in honour of General James Wolfe, who died leading the British forces to subdue the French forces in the battle of the Plains of Abraham.

Today, Wolfe Island serves as a stopover for waterfowl and other migratory birds. It provides wintering grounds for snowy owl, gyrfalcon, rough-legged hawk and other northern raptors. The island is a vibrant agricultural community and a favourite destination for birders and photographers.

“When you visit Staley Point, there is a real sense of being in a coastal prairie,” says Gary Bell, NCC program director for eastern Ontario. “At a time when less than 10 per cent of the world’s grasslands remain, it’s exciting to see the sheer number of bobolinks, meadowlarks and other grassland birds making Staley Point their home”.

Under the stewardship of NCC, Staley Point will continue to be an outpost for these grassland species on the windswept shoreline of Lake Ontario.

To learn more or to make a donation, click here, email ontario@natureconservancy.ca or call 1-877-231-3552 x 2280.

About

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private 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, with more than 82,000 hectares (200,000 acres) in Ontario. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

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Media Contact:

Nicole Senyi
Communications Manager
Ontario Region
C: 416-937-5079

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