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H.N. Crossley Nature Reserve

Canadian Shield with granite outcroppings and ridges shapes the elongated bog.

Cottongrass, wetland © Maria Papoulias


Bruce Pond is a typical “eyed” bog, characterized by a moat-like zone of water around the outer edge; tree and shrub zones; an open sphagnum mat with pitcher plants, sundews and orchids; and open water in the middle. The setting for this is classic Canadian Shield with granite outcroppings and ridges shaping the elongated bog. The ground rises sharply away from the bog, except at the upper end where it drains into an area of mostly drowned larch and beaver meadows.

In 1981, Sandy Burgess donated 17-hectares of wetland, called Bruce Pond, to Ontario Nature to protect its bog, prized flowers and animals that captivated her during her youth. The reserve was named in honour of Burgess’s father, H.N. Crossley, who had purchased the family’s 400-hectare Sandy Bar farm on Lake Rosseau in 1890.

H.N. Crossley boardwalk platform © Stephanie Muckle

Plants and Animals

Burgess, who passed away in 1987 in her 95th year, wrote of seeing the provincially rare white fringed orchid and round-leaved orchid on Beaver Pond. Another uncommon species found on the property is Virginia meadow-beauty, a plant generally found along the coastal plain of the Atlantic ocean south from Nova Scotia. Plants of this affinity make their limited and peculiar appearances in Ontario in the Muskoka and Parry Sound regions.

An abandoned beaver lodge is heavily overgrown and the beaver meadows themselves are now suitable for moose.

Rose pogonia orchid © Maria Papoulias


A sign marking the reserve can be seen on the right (south) side of Burgess Road. A trail into the reserve begins just east of the open wetland area (which can be seen from the road) and leads to an observation platform that gives you a fantastic view of the reserve.

The Muskoka Field Naturalists are the official stewards of the H.N. Crossley Nature Reserve. Oastler Lake Provincial Park, Blackstone Harbour Provincial Park, and O’Donnell Point Provincial Nature Reserve are all nearby.

H.N. Crossley Nature Reserve © Muskoka Field Naturalists


Take Highway 632 south from the town of Rosseau. Approximately eight kilometres south of Rosseau, take a left onto Burgess Road. The reserve is located approximately three kilometres down this road, on the south (right) side just past Walkers Road on the left.

View H. N. Crossley Nature Reserve in a larger map.

Four-toed salamander © Stephanie Muckle

Autumn reflections © Maria Papoulias



TD Friends of the Environment Foundation logo

Ontario Nature Reserves have reopened. Please maintain physical distancing and be safe.

Since our Nature Reserves were closed as a public health measure to prevent transmission of COVID-19, we have been assessing the trails and will be resuming maintenance when we are permitted to do so. Use of our trails is at your own risk.

We want you to be safe. Please follow current advice of health and government officials. Please practice good hand hygiene, keep your distance from others and avoid touching surfaces such as signs, gates and railings.

If you have any questions, please call 1-800-440-2366 or email info@ontarionature.org.

Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.