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Quarry Bay Nature Reserve

The “alvar coast”– an area of exposed bedrock sloping into Lake Huron with coastal meadow marshes at the heads of bays and inlets.

Quarry Bay Nature Reserve © Jim Griffin

About

The Quarry Bay Nature Reserve protects 391 hectares of significant alvar habitat on the southwestern shore of Manitoulin Island. Ontario Nature’s acquisition of Quarry Bay in 1999 was part of the largest conservation land purchase in Ontario, in which a total of 18 kilometres of windswept coast and 6,000 hectares of backcountry were protected by Ontario Nature, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ontario Parks.

Quarry Bay Nature Reserve © Jim Griffin

Plants and Animals

The alvars along this coast are home to a unique assemblage of plants, lichens and mosses, many of which are vulnerable, threatened or of limited distribution. The bright yellow lakeside daisy (Hymenoxys herbacea), found only at about a dozen stations around the Great Lakes, is the most notable. The alvar coast likely contains the majority of this wildflower’s range.

Fritillary butterfly © Ian Choi

Visiting

Quarry Bay Nature Reserve is made up primarily of treed alvar, interspersed with swamps and small lakes. There are also, large expanses of open alvar – limestone barrens with little or no soil – extending along the shores of Lake Huron.

These outstanding alvar communities are some of the best remaining alvar sites in the world. The area from Quarry Bay to Christina Bay forms the “alvar coast” – an area of exposed bedrock sloping into Lake Huron with coastal meadow marshes at the heads of bays and inlets.

Moss at Quarry Bay Nature Reserve

Directions

The Quarry Bay Nature Reserve is located on the remote southwestern shore of Manitoulin Island and is difficult to access. If you are interested in learning more about the reserve, please contact Ontario Nature.

Quarry Bay Nature Reserve © Ian Choi

Photos

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.