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Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve

This six-hectare nature reserve encompasses stunning and diverse scenery.

Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve © Smera Sukumar

About

Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve, acquired by Ontario Nature in 2000, is an important ecological area on the Bruce Peninsula. Located on the shores of Lake Huron, this six-hectare nature reserve encompasses stunning and diverse scenery – from an open jack pine forest to globally significant alvar habitat.

Wood lily © Mark Carabetta

Characteristics

The nature reserve’s alvars are easily recognizable by their pitted surfaces on gently sloping dolostone bedrock, dotted by pools of standing water. As a result, the landscape has a lunar look to it. The alvar microclimate varies widely, from searing summer temperatures, to freezing, wind-blown winters.

The area is geologically rich, with many unique geological landforms and glacial features. Just off the shore, the water is clean and clear and contains abundant reefs and shelter for fish.

Alvar shoreline © Smera Sukumar

Plants and Animals

An ancient stand of dwarfed and twisted cedar trees – some as old as 400 years – survives in this harsh environment, along with a number of lichens and mosses.

In addition to little bluestem grass and hairgrass, Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve supports a variety of rare plants, such as dwarf lake iris, Hill’s thistle, northern dropseed, ram’s head lady’s-slipper, harebells and fringed gentian. The site has remained in excellent condition, having had very few disturbances from exotic species. The nature reserve is home to land snails, leaf hoppers and other invertebrates. Many birds, such as terns and gulls, make their nest along the shoreline.

Great blue heron © Smera Sukumar

Visiting

Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve is located on the Lake Huron shore of the northern Bruce Peninsula. The protection of the nature reserve is enhanced by its location, jutting out into Lake Huron and bordered by private property – making it inaccessible by land, so visitation is difficult.

To learn more about Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve, contact Ontario Nature.

Cleaning up the shoreline © Smera Sukumar

Photos