Lands and Waterways in Central Ontario North
 

Given that Central Ontario North is such a popular destination, Ontario's land managers, government agencies, the outdoor clubs and conservation groups have done an excellent job of maintaining some of the wilder areas while helping to spread the impact. A lot of the credit belongs to the MNR, which manages the park land and water sheds through Ontario Parks and Conservation Authorities. Of course there is much work to be done, with the keen interest in Ontario's outdoors, the management requirements will continue to grow.

 
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The area has dozens of Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas as well as managed forests, swamps, bogs. The northern section of the one of the most important natural features in Ontario, the Niagara Escarpment also requires protection and management. There are several nature centers which are involved in the protection of the specific areas, such as the Wye Marsh, most of which play an important additional role in the area of education. A lot of these centers provide programs, not just for individual visitors but for groups of school children, to let them learn early on about the care and management of the environment.

While government funding makes up a part of their budgets, many of these groups are dependant on the contributions of individuals. If you can't support them economically, you might think of giving of your time or expertise. For a list of clubs and associations that are active in the area, have a look at our Clubs and Associations section.

 

Provincial Parks

 
 
 

National Parks

Forests

Copeland Forest Resource Management Area - 1750 ha, hiking, cross country skiing, group camping (Contact Springwater Provincial Park). The area has a mixed forest along with fields and marshes. In the spring songbirds are abundant, while plenty of white tales can be observed in the winter. Take the 400 north passed the 11 split to exit 121. From Highway 93, follow Copeland road to the forest.

Simcoe County Forest - (705) 726-9300

Walkers Woods - This is an area of old growth Hemlock, Cedar and Pine located in the heart of the Sauble Beach area. The area is well known for its orchids. Follow Highway 6 north from Owen Sound then head west on the 8 at Hepworth. The forest is about 1km north of the towns main traffic light on the 21.

Reserves

Petral Point Nature Reserve - The reserve is a mix of fen, interspersed with Cedar, Tamarack and Black Spruce. The area is well know of its orchids .Hiking is permitted along boardwalks. Located on the Bruce Peninsula just north of Red Bay. Follow the 6 north of Owen Sound and head west to Red Bay just before Mar then head north to Petral Point Road where you head west to the reserve. Bruce Peninsula, Bruce County

Rubberweed Nature Reserve - An area of Jackpine forests and open bedrock, it is home to a variety of unusual and rare plant species. The area is owned and managed by the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. Follow Highway 6 north of Dyers Bay about 0.5 of a kilometre where you'll see the entrance on the east side of the road. Bruce Peninsula, Bruce County

Crown Land

Residents of Canada can camp without cost on Crown Lands in Northern Ontario (north of the French and Mattawa Rivers). Non-residents must acquire a permit from a district MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) or at most establishments which sell fishing licenses.

Note: This does not apply to Central Ontario North Region which lies to the south of the French River.

Birding

  • Bruce County Birding Reports - Bruce County
  • Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory - Bruce Peninsula, Bruce County
  • Canadian Peregrine Foundation - Owen Sound, Grey County
  • Huron Fringe Birding Festival - MacGregor Point, Bruce County

    Bracebridge Lagoons - Birding, hiking and cross country skiing. This is reputed to be one of the best birding areas in the Muskokas. Songbirds and warblers are plentiful in the spring and fall, while the summer sees a wealth of shorebirds and waterfowl. The area has an observation tower. Head north on the 400 to the 11 split. Take the exit at Muskoka Falls and head west, then turn left on the 16 to James Kerr Park. The lagoons are just up the hill. Muskoka

    Bruce Peninsula - Over 175 species have been recording nesting on the peninsula. The eastern shore, near the north of the peninsula, have a large variety of waterfowl particularly in the spring. In the early spring you'll also be able to observe Osprey and Bald Eagle since the peninsula provides a land corridor to migrating raptors. Bruce County

    Bognor Marsh - 620 ha, hiking, This mix of forest and wetlands has a boardwalk as well as an observation tower. Species you're likely to see include Pied-billed Grebes, Black Crowned Night Herons, Terns and Bitterns. Follow Highway 10 north to Rockford just south of Owen's Sound, head east on the 18, passed the turnoff for Heath Head, to Concession Road 4. The marsh is located on the north side of the 18. Grey County

    MacGregor Point Provincial Park - Friends of MacGregor Point hold the Huron Fringe Birding Festival each Spring. The park has varied habitat, including wetlands, forest and shoreline. There is a Ducks Unlimited pond with observation tower. Species you're likely to observe include Pied-billed Grebes, Caspian Terns, Black Crowned Night Herons, Blue Herons, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Black Ducks and Red Shouldered Hawks. Bruce County

    Nottawasaga Island Nature Sanctuary - The island has restricted access but birders can take advantage of the Silver Creek Wetlands, on the mainland, to observe some of the islands nesting species which come inland to feed. This includes Great Egrets, Northern Pintails and a variety of Herons and Mergansers. Located off shore in Nottawasaga Bay about 3km west of Collingwood. Take the 400 passed Barrie and pick up the 26 to Collingwood. Simcoe County

Bird Sanctuaries, National & Provincial Wildlife Areas, Migratory Bird Sanctuaries

Chantry Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary - The island has restricted access but a variety of the islands nesting species can be observed from the Southampton shoreline and along the shore road to the south. Watch for Black Crowned Night Herons, Ring Billed Gulls and Double-Crested Cormorants. The island is located just off of Southampton and is managed by the Canadian Wildlife Service To reach Southampton follow the 10 to Owen Sound then head west on the 21.

Eleanor Island National Wildlife Area - The island is a nesting area for a variety of birds and has restricted access. With a boat you can observe the birds from a distance, but be sure to keep your distance, and don't make a wake, which can be a problem for nests. Southern Lake Muskoka just north of Gravenhurst, Muskoka

Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Areas - 900 ha. The area is comprised of forest, field and marsh. Over 250 bird species have been recorded at the marsh. Amongst the heavy concentration of water fowl watch for Virginia Rails, Black Turns, Least Bitterns and Pied-billed Grebe. There is an interpretation center which is open seasonally to the public. From Barrie head north on the 27 passed Elmvale then head west on Tiny Floss Townline to the marsh.


Matchedash Bay - Matchedash Bay is at the lowest extremity of Severn Sound (south Georgian Bay) in the shield transition zone. Birds to watch for are the Black-crowned Night-Heron, Black Tern, Virginia Rail, American Bittern, Least Bittern and King Rails. Locate approximately five kilometres northeast of Coldwater and to the southeast of Waubaushene. Waubaushene, Ontario

 
 
  Conservation Areas

The Conservation Authorities are responsible for much of the green space in and around southern Ontario. Their mandate to protect the watersheds has become a huge boon in preventing urban sprawl from eating up all of the areas natural splendor. Central Ontario North is managed, from west to east, by the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority and the Nottawasaga Conservation Authority. To the south the Toronto region is covered by the Toronto Conservation Authority which is largely responsible for the city proper and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority which protects and manages the Credit River watershed to the east of the city. To the east the watersheds are managed by the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority. It should be noted that along with their other responsibilities, the Conservation Authorities maintain many of the Provinces canoe routes - hats off to all of them for their good work.

 


Grey Sauble Conservation Authority

  • Feversham Gorge - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Inglis Falls - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Old Baldy - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Pottawatomi - Jones Falls, trail and picnic area, Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Spirit Rock - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • The Arboretum - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Arran Lake Conservation Area - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Other Conservation Areas - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Bognor Marsh - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • St. Jean's Point - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Red Bay - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Walker Woods - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Bruce Caves - Access to the Bruce Trail, Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Colpoy's Lookout - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Indian Falls - Access to the Bruce Trail, Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Owen Sound Mill Dam - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Hibou - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Ainslie Wood - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Epping Lookout - Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Eugenia Falls - Access to the Bruce Trail, Grey Sable Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario 

    Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority - Some of the conservation areas are located outside of Central Ontario North in the Southwestern Region.

  • Minesing Swamp Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Petun Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Osprey Wetlands Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Edenvale Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Fort Willow Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Elba Wetlands Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Tottenham Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Glencairn Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Carruthers Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Utopia Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • New Lowell Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Nottawasaga Bluffs Conservation Area - Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario

    Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority - Some of the conservation areas are located outside of Central Ontario North in the Southwestern Region.

  • Saugeen Bluffs Conservation Area - North of Paisley about five kilometers, Hiking, Camping 182 sites, 68 with services, also group camping, Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Durham Conservation Area - Grey Rd 27, 323198 Durham Rd, Camping 196 sites, 83 serviced, also group camping, Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Brucedale Conservation Area - Between Kincardine and Port Elgin off Hwy 21, Camping 54 sites, 25 with services, also group camping Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Denny's Dam Conservation Area - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Headquaters Conservation Area - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • McBeath Conservation Area - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Stoney Island Conservation Area - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Varney Conservation Area - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Allen Park Management Unit - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Kinghurst Management Unit - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
  • Bells Lake - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
  • Greenock Swamp Complex - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North/Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
 
 
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