From Private to Protected: Thunder Bay Field Naturalists Club Aquires Michipicoten Properties

Thunder Bay Field Naturalists Club has newly acquired two properties on Michipicoten Island that will be added to their long list of Nature Reserves. (Map: TBFN)

Purchasing Property for Nature Reserves

The Thunder Bay Field Naturalists Club (TBFN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to understanding and preserving the natural environment. One way that they preserve natural environments is by purchasing properties to designate them as nature reserves, which are then monitored by volunteers from TBFN and their partners.

This month, TBFN purchased two properties on Michipicoten Island (Bonner Head and North East Property) with funding from private donors and the Canada Nature Fund, which is delivered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The two properties total 538 acres (217 hectares) of remote undisturbed wilderness, each surrounded by the Michipicoten Island Provincial Park. Michipicoten First Nation volunteers will be helping TBFN volunteers to monitor and care for the Michipicoten Nature Reserve. They will begin by recording which plants and wildlife are currently calling these nature reserves home.

Michipicoten Island

The terrain on Michipicoten Island is rocky, rugged, tree-covered and home to a variety of important species. (Photo: TBFN)

Michipicoten Island is the second largest Island in the Canadian side of Lake Superior. The rugged terrain, rocky shorelines and cobble beaches of the island are home to some rare species, including the nesting peregrine falcon. Until recently, one of Michipicoten’s most prominent animals was the woodland caribou. You may recall that Michipicoten woodland caribou were airlifted out and relocated in an attempt to reestablish their population so that they might be returned to the Island. This population now survives on the Slate Islands and Caribou Island, but TBFN and Michipicoten First Nation will be maintaining the Michipicoten Nature Reserves for the hopeful return of the caribou.

A cobblestone beach on the shoreline of Michipicoten Island. (Photo: TBFN)

Thunder Bay Field Naturalists Have Put Previous Funds Towards Many Other Reserves

The Thunder Bay Field Naturalists have a long history of land conservation on Lake Superior. Previous conservation purchases by the organization include:

  • Hare Island (off Thunder Cape in Thunder Bay)
  • lands surrounding Fork Bay, just east of Silver Islet on the Sibley Peninsula
  • a parcel on the east shore of Vert Island, Nipigon Bay
  • two separate parcels on Spar Island, south end of the Nipigon Straits
  • a parcel on Fraser Point, St. Ignace Island
  • a parcel on Swede Island, south of the Black Bay Peninsula
  • Paradise Island, south side of St. Ignace Island
  • a large land purchase of 1200 acres at Terrace Bay, Ontario, also including 12 rugged nearshore islands

Previous Infosuperior articles about the TBFN:

May 15, 2014: Huge Terrace Bay Land Purchase by Thunder Bay Field Naturalists

March 6, 2016: Conservation Purchase Includes Swede Island

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