by Mark Carabetta

Ontario Nature has recently doubled the size of its Lost Bay Nature Reserve, a moody landscape where you can find a number of at-risk turtle species, eastern ratsnakes and eastern ribbonsnakes. This summer, the organization purchased 58 hectares of adjacent forest and wetland habitat, increasing the size of the Lost Bay reserve to 101 hectares.

Located on the eastern arm of Gananoque Lake, the Lost Bay Nature Reserve was established in October of 2000. It lies within the Frontenac Arch-Thousand Islands Biosphere Reserve and forms a key part of a geologically significant corridor that runs from Algonquin Provincial Park to the Adirondack Mountains in New York. The reserve’s forests and provincially significant wetlands contain an abundance of wildlife, including wood ducks, red-shouldered hawks, ospreys and yellow warblers.

“The Lost Bay wetlands are part of a much larger wetland system,” notes Emily Conger, president of the Algonquin to Adirondacks Conservation Association (A2A). “Ontario Nature’s reserve connects to a complex of provincially significant wetlands extending from the huge Wiltse Creek Marsh at the base of Gananoque Lake all the way to Killenbeck Lake, roughly five kilometers to the northeast. The lands that Ontario Nature has purchased are an essential link in maintaining the kind of connectivity that lies within the mandate of A2A.”

The Kingston Field Naturalists, who are the official stewards of the original Lost Bay reserve, will take on the same role for the new property.

Saving this important landscape and increasing the size of the Lost Bay Nature Reserve was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Greenlands Program (an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources-Nature Conservancy of Canada initiative), Environment Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Cameron Smith, a member of the Kingston Field Naturalists who lives near the reserve, was instrumental in bringing about the protection of both the original Lost Bay property and the new addition. Before its purchase, plans had been made to build a subdivision on the property. Without Smith’s dedication and hard work, the expansion of the reserve would not have happened.