The Nature Conservancy of Canada announced this week that a major chunk of Lake Superior’s coast will be preserved in perpetuity. Big Trout Bay is located in Ontario, minutes from the international border. It was the last undeveloped, privately-owned bay on Lake Superior between Thunder Bay, Ont., and Duluth, Minn.
The parcel contains about 2,500 acres of mostly coastal boreal forest, providing important habitat for many species, including Peregrine Falcons which nest on the “towering” cliffs. The shoreline also features stretches of bedrock and cobble beach, providing habitat for species such as bird’s-eye primrose, lake trout and moose.
“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, Ontario Region. “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 Lake Superior’s North Shore.”
The Nature Conservancy sees the acquisition as part of a larger project to protect areas along Lake Superior’s north shore stretching from Quetico Provincial Park and the Boundary Waters to Pukaskwa National Park.
“It is a small piece in a much bigger puzzle and that’s part of what makes it so incredible,” James Duncan, NCC’s regional vice president for Ontario, told the CBC.
The organization spent more than 10 years raising the $8.5 million needed to purchase the property. It had previously been targeted for development of 300 cabins. The Canadian government contributed $3.3 million dollars. Ultimately, the funds were raised from both sides of the international borders, with support from the JA Woollam Foundation, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the Bobolink Foundation, the Rogers Foundation, The Nature Conservancy’s Wisconsin and Minnesota programs, The Conservation Fund, Green Leaf Advisors and individual donors in both the United States and Canada.