Named for the eastern arm of Gananoque Lake, the Lost Bay Nature Reserve is 238 hectares in size. It is considered part of the Algonquin to Adirondack Connection (A2A) because it is located within the Frontenac Axis – the southernmost part of the Canadian Shield that forms the Thousand Islands.
These islands provide a bridge for plant and animal species to cross the St. Lawrence River, which enables wildlife to travel within the corridor between the two parks in response to environmental change, maintaining both population and genetic diversity.
The reserve is home to 24 species at risk, including Blanding’s, eastern musk, northern map and snapping turtles, all of which are struggling to hold their ground elsewhere in the province.
About three-quarters of the reserve is forested and the remainder consists predominantly of wetlands, which are provincially significant and home to important reptiles, birds and mammals. Ducks, especially wood ducks, are often seen foraging for food and sheltering in the marshes. The relatively undisturbed wetland areas, linked by natural corridors of forest, provide an excellent habitat for birds such as the red-shouldered hawk, great blue heron and osprey. Songbirds, such as black-capped chickadees and yellow warblers, nest in the tall maples nearby.
Bridging the Gap
In 2014, thanks to the generous support of Ontario Nature’s wonderful members, our Lost Bay Nature Reserve has grown. We were presented with an opportunity that was too good to pass up. A nature-loving couple offered to sell us their 40-hectare property located between our Lost Bay Nature Reserve’s two separate parcels of land. Having cared for the property’s wildlife and natural habitats for 25 years, they wanted to make sure that Ontario Nature had the opportunity to add it to the adjacent reserve.
With little time to act, we reached out to our members for help in securing the property and putting long-term stewardship funds in place. The response was overwhelming, and our hope for one continuous block of protected habitat is now a reality.
The newest piece of Lost Bay is a biodiversity hotspot consisting of mature, intact forests and provincially significant wetlands. It bridges the gap between 103 protected hectares on the west and 95 hectares on the east, creating a connected 238-hectare nature reserve.
In October of 2000, the dream of linking the woods and wetlands of Ontario’s Algonquin Park to New York State’s Adirondack Mountains became a step closer to reality. Local landowners saw an opportunity to protect 44 hectares of provincially significant wetlands and mature forest around Lake Gananoque, and with the generous help of local donors, the Nature Conservancy of Canada acquired the Lost Bay Nature Reserve. Shortly afterwards, the nature reserve was turned over to Ontario Nature and a local group, the Kingston Field Naturalists, became the official stewards of the property.
In fall of 2009, an additional 59 hectares of provincially significant wetlands and mature forest was purchased and added to the reserve, again with the generous help of local donors. In 2011, another 95.1 hectares were added to the reserve. This property is named the Summerfield Tract in memory of Debra Summerfield whose family made a generous contribution in her name. The Summerfield Tract is close to the main reserve, but not connected and brought the total reserve size to 197.5 hectares (488 acres).
The Lost Bay Nature Reserve is located approximately 17 kilometres northeast of Gananoque, in the township of the Front of Leeds and Lansdowne. From the 401, take Highway 2 east to Kyes Road. Travel north on Kyes Road and follow it as it changes into Russell Road and Black Rapids Road. Shortly after the community of Sand Bay Corner, take the Lost Bay Lane cottage road to the nature reserve at the end of the road. There is no parking provided at the reserve. Visitors must stay on the one marked trail that extends from the end of Lost Bay Lane.
View Lost Bay Nature Reserve in a larger map.
Southern Ontario, like our nature reserves, is experiencing an increase in black-legged ticks and with it 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.