Vidal Bay, Manitoulin Island Archipelago, ON (Photo by Striking Balance)

Vidal Bay, Manitoulin Island Archipelago, ON (Photo by Striking Balance)

Nature Conservancy of Canada protects more than 18 kilometres of Manitoulin Island shoreline

December 7, 2021
Manitoulin Island, ON


New conservation property among largest in Ontario

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing one of its largest-ever single-property acquisitions in Ontario. Covering 7,608 hectares, the Vidal Bay Forests and Shoreline property protects 18.5 kilometres of shoreline on Manitoulin Island, on the north channel of Lake Huron. This $16-million conservation project would not have been possible without community support.

Now secured, Vidal Bay connects with adjacent conservation lands to form a protected area of more than 248 square kilometres of forests, wetlands and shoreline, the largest of its kind south of the Canadian Shield in Ontario. Vidal Bay provides an excellent example of the scale of the work needed to tackle climate change and the biodiversity crisis.

Conserving a complex of this size helps local populations of American black bear and gray wolf move virtually unimpeded across western Manitoulin Island. Large-scale wildlife corridors like this provide local species with the uninterrupted habitat they need to survive and thrive.

NCC looks forward to continuing to learn more about the property and celebrating this incredible conservation achievement with donors, partners, supporters and the local community in the future.

This important land conservation project was made possible thanks to the generosity of private donors, including area residents, cottagers and organizations, as well as funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lafarge and Manitoulin Transport. The project was funded in part by the Ontario government, through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, as well as by funding provided by the Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund.

Manitoulin Island is the Territory of Zhiibaahaasing First Nation, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, M’Chigeeng First Nation, Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation, Sheguiandah First Nation, Sheshegwaning First Nation and Whitefish River First Nation. With gratitude and respect, NCC acknowledges the significant, ongoing role of Indigenous Peoples on these lands and looks forward to working together to ensure these natural lands can continue to support the people with whom they are intertwined.


“Opportunities to protect large, intact natural spaces in Ontario, like those found at Vidal Bay, are incredibly rare. The conservation of Vidal Bay not only protects habitat for the animals and plants that depend on it, but its forest and wetlands also clean our water and air while providing a place for people to connect to nature now and for generations to come.” – Esme Batten, NCC Midwestern Ontario Program Director   

By working with partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada, we are protecting our natural environment in Ontario and across the country. Protecting and conserving more of Canada’s natural beauty is an important part of our plan to address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Through programs like the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, we are making progress toward conserving a quarter of Canada’s land and a quarter of its oceans by 2025.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Our government is expanding Ontario’s green spaces to protect important natural areas and provide people with more opportunities to get outside, enjoy our beautiful province, and stay healthy,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “By collaborating with conservation leaders like the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, Ontario can achieve our shared goals to protect our land, air and water for future generations.

Property facts

  • Intact forests and wetlands are essential to carbon storage and air and water filtration.
  • The forests, wetlands and alvar habitats found on the Vidal Bay property store 8.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, sequestering 22,645 tonnes each year.
  • Habitats found on the Vidal Bay property support many Species at Risk Act-listed species, including mottled duskywing (endangered), lakeside daisy (special concern), Hill’s thistle (threatened), eastern wood-pewee (special concern), eastern ribbonsnake (special concern), wood thrush (threatened), least bittern (threatened) and Blanding’s turtle (endangered).
  • Vidal Bay’s waterfront overlaps with the Manitoulin Island North Shore Important Bird Area, designated due to its importance for migratory and breeding species of at-risk birds.
  • In July, NCC worked with the Manitoulin Nature Club to complete a virtual Vidal Bay BioBlitz to help inform the baseline inventory of species and habitats on the property. NCC’s next step is to develop a property management plan, which will identify conservation priorities and explore how people can be welcomed to this property for passive recreational uses.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) 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 14 million hectares, coast to coast to coast. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

The Greenlands Conservation Partnership helps conserve ecologically important natural areas and protect wetlands, grasslands and forests that help mitigate the effects of climate change. Through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, a total of $50 million will be invested over four years, including $20 million from the Ontario government, and another $30 million from other sources, such as individual donations and foundation support through the NCC and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, and other levels of government.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.

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Media Contact:

Tara King
Communications Director, Ontario
C: 416-937-5079

Jensen Edwards
National Media Relations Manager
Mobile: (438) 885-9157

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