New Provincial Park and Conservation Reserves
St. Williams Conservation Reserve
- The St. Williams Conservation Reserve protects 1,000 hectares of land that was formerly part of the St. Williams Forest Station. Both the Nursery tract and the Turkey Point tract lie southwest of the Town of Simcoe in Norfolk County in southwestern Ontario.
- The conservation reserve includes oak savannah habitat, part of the deciduous forest zone found in the southernmost parts of Ontario. The deciduous forest zone, also known as the Carolinian zone, includes species found further north, such as maple, as well as species commonly found in Ohio, Pennsylvania and North and South Carolina, such as magnolia and sassafras.
- Because this zone is heavily populated in both Ontario and the American states to the south, the deciduous forest is one of the most threatened habitats in North America.
- Regulation of the St. Williams land coincides with celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the St. Williams Forest Station. The forest station was established by the province in 1908 to grow seedlings to reforest southern Ontario after deforestation by settlers led to drought, erosion, windstorms and floods. It was the first tree nursery in Canada.
- The property is designated as a conservation reserve to protect its special features while allowing recreational use.
Bickford Oak Woods Conservation Reserve
- The Bickford Oak Woods Conservation Reserve is a 308-hectare property in the Township of St. Clair in the central part of Lambton County near Sarnia.
- It protects the largest upland/lowland forest on a plain of heavy clay soil known as the St. Clair Clay Plain and contains the only stand of swamp cottonwood trees known in Canada. The forest includes scattered pockets of wetlands.
- The Bickford Oak Woods Conservation Reserve is in the deciduous forest zone.
- The property was acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada with funds from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Rural Lambton Stewardship Network and the Sydenham Field Naturalists. The title was transferred to the Ministry shortly after the acquisition.
- The property is designated as a conservation reserve to protect its special features while allowing recreational use for day users.
Goose Island Provincial Park
- Goose Island Provincial Park protects 75 hectares of land on Goose Island in Rainy Lake northeast of Fort Frances.
- The land was acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada with help from the local Rainy Lake community and with financial support from the Ministry of Natural Resources for the purpose of creating a provincial park.
- The park provides habitat for the bald eagle, an endangered species.
- Also in the park are a significant stand of black ash trees, the northern pin oak, which is rare in Ontario, and important wetlands.
- The park is designated as a nature reserve park to protect the species and habitat it contains, while allowing low-intensity day use such as hiking and bird-watching.