Our Nature Reserve Program has been protecting significant natural areas since 1961. With 26 nature reserves totaling 3,156 hectares (7,798 acres), our reserves protect some of the province’s best remaining examples of imperiled and vulnerable habitats.
With help from local stewards, Ontario Nature monitors each reserve in order to develop appropriate management plans and effectively manage each property.
Our goal is to continue building our province-wide nature reserve system that will:
- Safeguard habitat for endangered plants and animals.
- Protect biological diversity.
- Set benchmarks for scientific research.
- Create opportunities for recreation and nature appreciation.
Our nature reserves are open to visitors. We do not charge a fee for entrance and there are no operating hour. Properties are managed by volunteer stewards. We rely on visitors to be safe, minimize their impact on nature and be respectful of others.
For more information about visiting the reserves, please read our Permitted Activities Policy.
Our nature reserves are experiencing an increase in black-legged ticks causing an elevated risk of contracting Lyme disease. Please stay on trails to reduce your risk. For more information about ticks and Lyme disease, read our blog post and magazine article.
We welcome donations to support our work and our system of nature reserves.
Click for a full-size interactive map.
Learn More About Our Nature Reserves
Why It Matters
We protect the province’s most vulnerable habitats.
Heritage Woodlands: Since European settlement, roughly 80% of the province’s original woodland cover has been lost. Some of our nature reserves with heritage woodlands are Kinghurst Forest, Sydenham River and Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary.
Great Lakes Shorelines: These shores with their forests, dunes and wetlands, are globally unique. These areas are becoming more threatened by development and climate change. Some of the best examples in our nature reserve system include Petrel Point, Lyal Island, Baptist Harbour and Hay Marsh.
Alvars: These rare ecosystems of limestone or dolostone are home to many distinctive plants and animals such as the lakeside daisy. Nature reserves where you can find alvar habitat include Bruce Alvar and Stone Road Alvar.
From rugged coastlines to old-growth forests to orchid-carpetted swamplands, Ontario Nature’s reserves safeguard the provinces most imperilled habitats.
Our reserves are home to many rare and endangered species such as the blue racer snake, ramshead lady-slipper and the red-headed woodpecker. By protecting their habitats we are providing these species, and many others, with a safe haven for them to recover and prosper.