The world's largest freshwater protected area along the rugged shores of Lake Superior
Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area is a relatively new creation as it was founded in 2007 and is the world’s largest freshwater protected area at 10, 850 square kilometres (3860 sq. miles) or 1/8 of the entire lake, the largest freshwater lake in the world.
It stretches for 140 kilometres (85 miles) along the rugged northern shore of “Gitchi Gumme” (the lake’s aboriginal name), from Thunder Bay east to Bottle Point just east of Terrace Bay. It stretches south to Isle Royale National Park in the Unites States. In addition to the protected lakebed with its collection of shipwrecks it includes the waters of Black Bay and Nipigon Bay, river estuaries as well as 60 square kilometres (23 sq. miles) of mainland, islands and shoals. This includes the 2009 acquisition of the eight almost untouched Wilson Islands a natural treasure trove for rare flora and fauna.
One of only 2 operating National Marine Conservation Areas in the province (the other being Fathom Five Marine Conservation Area off the tip of the Bruce Peninsula), the protected area is the spawning and schooling waters of as many as 70 species of coldwater fish including:
- lake trout
- lake herring
Animals that call the area home include:
- Woodland Caribou
- black bear
- peregrine falcons
- bald eagles
The vegetation of the various islands is also unique being subarctic and alpine.
The mainland also contains historically significant aboriginal sites including two areas of pictographs and former settlements.
Location of Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area
As of now the Conservation Area does not have any facilities but it is accessible by land along the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway #17) or by boat. The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area is stunningly beautiful. While lacking in facilities it more than makes up for it in incredibly picturesque landscapes and a natural beauty unlike any other place in the world.
Please note that if traveling through the area by boat that Lake Superior is famous for its fierce storms that can brew up suddenly. This is why there are so many shipwrecks lying at its bottom. Care should always be taken and the weather report should be checked diligently prior to going far offshore. The water is extremely cold and hypothermia is an ever-present danger. As of now, the park is mainly of interest to nature lovers, photographers, boaters, fisherman and outdoor adventure seekers.
For more information visit: Ontario Parks