A Manitoulin Island property that is host to a range of habitats including sand dunes, alvars, wetlands forests and beaches is now under the protection of the the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
The 1,205-acre (488-hectare) property is located on the southern shore of Manitoulin Island.
The property was purchased from the family of Dr. Ron Tasker, who also provided a generous donation to the project, according to a medial release. Dr. Tasker, an avid naturalist, first acquired property on Manitoulin Island in the early 1960s at the suggestion of a friend. After falling in love with the area, he went on to acquire more than 2,000 acres (809 hectares).
“On this property you have wilderness and forested property with lots of interesting, rare botany and
birds; biologically, it was interesting,” Tasker said, in the release. “I wanted to see as much land as possible preserved for the future. I had to pair up with somebody, and I thought NCC was the best bet.”
The alvars are particularly impressive for their abundance and variety, including grass, shrub and tree-dominated alvars. While many of Ontario’s alvars have been developed or used for farming, those on the Manitoulin property have been left in a natural state. Notable plants such as globally rare Hill’s thistle thrive on this alvar habitat, according to the release.
“The southern Manitoulin Island coast is a treasure trove of biological diversity,” James Duncan, NCC’s Ontario Regional vice-president, stated. “This project exemplifies NCC’s mission to secure permanent conservation for a wide range of valuable habitats. NCC’s partnership with the Taskers and the support of other generous donors has made it possible.”
Funding for this project was provided by the federal government’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and the province, as well as by donations from sisters Elspeth Newall and Katrine Howe, the Southern Ontario Orchid Society and the Hamlin Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation.
“This acquisition marks another achievement under our government's Natural Areas Conservation Program,” Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent said. “With this investment, we are taking real action to protect and conserve our ecosystems and sensitive species for present and future generations.”
The NCC is the nation’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect the most important natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.6 million acres (1 million hectares), coast to coast.
The Natural Areas Conservation Program is a $225-million investment to assist non-profit, non-government organizations to secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the conservation of diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat.
Posted by Arron Pickard