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Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve

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

Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve © Smera Sukumar


Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve, acquired by Ontario Nature in 2000, is an important ecological area on the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula.

Located on the shores of Lake Huron, this ten-hectare (24-acre) nature reserve encompasses stunning and diverse scenery – from an open jack pine forest to globally significant alvar habitat.

Wood lily © Mark Carabetta


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.

Cedars, alvar and Lake Huron coastline, Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve © Joanne Gui

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. This property 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, Baptist Habour Nature Reserve © Smera Sukumar


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. To protect this rare habitat, this property does not have a marked trail system and is closed to the public.

If you would like to conduct research on the property, please contact Ontario Nature at 416-444-8419.

Kalm's St. John's Wort, Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve © Keeva Fitzpatrick


We are looking for stewards of this nature reserve. Please review our Volunteer Stewardship page for more information.

Kalm's St. John's Wort, Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve © Keeva Fitzpatrick

“Protecting vulnerable alvar habitat is critical to conserving the many species that rely on it for future generations.”

– Gabriella Zagorski, former Nature Reserves Coordinator

Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve © Maria Papoulias

Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve

The Baptist Harbour Nature Reserve is generously supported by the Comart Foundation