Thanks to cross-border collaboration involving several organizations, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has purchased one of the last privately owned, undeveloped shorelines between Duluth, Minnesota and Thunder Bay, Ontario. The deal is the latest in a string of Lake Superior conservation purchases, as outlined below in the links section.
Known as Big Trout Bay, the property is located just minutes from the international border, and 45 minutes from Thunder Bay on the shores of Lake Superior.A map providing an overview of the purchase is accessible here.
Big Trout Bay’s densely forested land is crucial to several native species, including bald eagles; and peregrine falcons, which are assessed as a special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The 1018 hectare/2515 acre property is composed mostly of coastal boreal forest. Nearly half of Canada’s bird species rely on boreal habitat like Big Trout Bay to complete thir life cycle, and many of these species migrate throughout the Americas.
The property also includes 21 km./13 mi. of undeveloped shoreline with towering cliffs, stretches of open bedrock, and rugged cobble beach. These shoreline areas are especially important for biodiversity, as they provide varied habitat for species such as bird’s eye primrose, lake trout and moose.
Thunder Bay – Rainy River Member of Parliament Don Rusnak attended the March 29th NCC announcement in Thunder Bay and had this to say, “On behalf of the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I want to congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada and thank its many Canadian and American partners and donors for helping to make this binational initiative possible. The Government of Canada is pleased to support their habitat conservation efforts through the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Working together, we can keep the Great Lakes beautiful, healthy and productive today and for generations to come.”
Funding contributors to this multi-million dollar purchase include the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, the JA Woollam Foundation, the Nature Conservancy’s Wisconsin and Minnesota programs, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the Bobolink Foundation, the Rogers Foundation, The Conservation Fund, Green Leaf Advisors and many individual donors in both Canada and USA.
James Duncan, Nature Conservancy of Canada Vice President, Ontario Region summed the purchase up this way, “This is a massive international undertaking, but when faced with the potential loss of habitat and wildlife on the largest frewshwater lake in the world, thinking big is essential. 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 of Canada has been working to conserve land along Superior’s North Shore for 15 years, and this most recent acquisition brings the total conserved to 3,557 hectares/8789 acres of protected land that is open to the public for low impact activities, such as hiking.