A group of eight Lake Superior islands, totaling more than 4,700 acres, will be protected under a recent $7 million bi-national purchase by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Nature Conservancy. The Government of Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources provided financial support to make it possible. Located just south of Rossport, ON, the acquisition includes Willson Island, Barr Island, Confiance Island, Kingcome Island, Abitibi Island K11, Abitibi Island W11, Abitibi Island W13, and Abitibi Island C15.
The purchase is not expected to be harmful to boating, according to GLCC Port Captain (Nipigon) John Zechner. The islands are within the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, the largest freshwater protected area in the world. Their coastal wetlands and forests, rugged cliffs, bedrock shoreline, and sand beaches of the islands support rare species, such as Mountain Fir-moss and Northern Woodsia fern. Wilson Island’s high cliffs provide nesting habitat for Peregrine Falcons, while the smaller islands provide important nesting habitat for colonial water birds.
“The Wilson Island Group presented an unmatched opportunity to protect large scale, ecologically significant and relatively untouched habitat,” remarked NCC’s Chris Maher, Regional Vice-President, Ontario. “This project has been on the conservation community’s wish list for many years, and the joint effort to protect this island group has been crucial its success.”