Key piece of Wolfe Island coastline protected
Nature Conservancy of Canada conserves 33 hectares on historic island
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announced today the protection of 33 hectares (82 acres) of meadow, wetland and shoreline on Staley Point — an area with a rich and long human history.
Located at the extreme northwestern corner of Wolfe Island, just six kilometres south of Kingston, Staley Point has a vibrant cultural history. Its Indigenous history stretches back to time immemorial. For thousands of years, the island was used as a permanent and semi-permanent settlement by Indigenous communities, including Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Mississauga and Algonquin-speaking Peoples. Later, Staley Point was part of the seigneury (estate of a French noble) of French explorer and trader René-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.
In addition to its distinguished cultural history, Staley Point is critical to local nature conservation. Large marsh wetlands on the south side of the property filter the water flowing off Wolfe Island into Lake Ontario, while providing habitat for an impressive suite of waterfowl. In addition, its expansive grasslands are home to large numbers of migratory, at-risk birds listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, such as bobolink (threatened) and eastern meadowlark (threatened), and provides habitat for the endangered monarch along its epic migration route.
This important local land purchase was made possible thanks to the generosity of many area residents and organizations, especially the MapleCross Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Government of Canada’s, Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund and private donors.
“A project of this scale and importance would have been impossible without the collective passion of the local Wolfe Island and Kingston communities for ensuring this special place be protected. It’s thanks to the community, and forward-thinking donors like the MapleCross Fund, that we are able to announce this amazing conservation success today.” - Mark Stabb, Program Director for central Ontario east, Nature Conservancy of Canada
“The conservation of Staley Point will protect meadow and wetland habitat for species at risk in Ontario. By working with partners like the Nature Conservancy of Canada, we are protecting our natural environment for generations to come. Together, we are making progress toward our goal of conserving a quarter of Canada’s land by 2025.” – The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“By protecting the coastline on the historic Wolfe Island, we are supporting the many diverse plant and animal species that call our community home. I would like to congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada and their various partners on this important milestone.” – Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with NCC towards preserving the significantly ecologically significant property at Staley Point. Having lived for many years in the vicinity of the Lake Ontario, we recognize the importance of protecting the lake and its shoreline from the stresses of urbanization. We are especially pleased that the local community shares these concerns and that so many residents have also made donations towards retaining the unique and important biodiversity of Lake Ontario.” – Dr. Jan Oudenes and Dr. Isobel Ralston, MapleCross Fund; “Investing in Canada – Investing in Nature”
- Wolfe Island is the largest island in the Thousand Islands archipelago.
- 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.
- This is NCC’s second conservation project on Wolfe Island, having helped protect Big Sandy Bay (south of Staley Point) from development in 2001.
- The protection of this site by NCC provides an opportunity for the organization to restore native grassland habitat to better support insects, including monarchs and other pollinators, and grassland birds, including bobolink.
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 (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast, with more than 84,000 hectares (207,000 acres) in Ontario. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.
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.
Video and images
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