Three new conservation properties

Posted on March 12, 2022

Thanks to some generous land donors, three new conservation properties have recently joined the Georgian Bay Land Trust family. We’re delighted to introduce you to Ellie’s Lookout, Portage Preserve, and Saunderson Islands Easement!


Ellie’s Lookout

Ellie’s Lookout is a beautiful 0.5 acre island in the Manitou community, near the mouth of Twelve Mile Bay. It is situated in an island chain that provides habitat for a number of at-risk species, including the Five-lined Skink, Northern Map Turtle, and Eastern Foxsnake. Bald Eagles and Monarch Butterflies have been documented visiting the island, and it is likely that other migratory species use this habitat as a nesting or stopover site.¬†Protecting Ellie’s Lookout in its natural state helps maintain the ecological integrity of the entire 75-island archipelago of which it is a part, allowing this area to continue to function as a corridor for species movement between other undeveloped islands.

Ellie’s Lookout was donated to the Land Trust posthumously by Eleanor and Howard Edmunds. We are so grateful to the Edmunds and to their family for choosing to leave this legacy for Georgian Bay.


Portage Preserve

The Portage Preserve protects 2.76 acres of forest, rock, and shoreline habitat on Cognashene’s Portage Island. On our visits to the property so far, we have seen four species at risk: Bald Eagle, Northern Map Turtle, Monarch Butterfly, and Eastern Foxsnake. It is likely that more will be observed on future visits. The northern part of the Portage Preserve shoreline is designated as Type 1 Fish Habitat, so protecting this property will contribute to the long-term abundance of Georgian Bay’s fish populations.

Portage Island is home to a number of cottages, as well as a piece of federally protected land and the Georgian Bay Land Trust’s Portage Island Reserve. Protecting the new Portage Preserve helps ensure that a balance is maintained between nature and development in this growing cottage area, and will strengthen the long-term health of the island’s existing protected areas.¬†Thank you to the anonymous land donors for this gift to the community!


Saunderson Islands Easement

The Saunderson Islands Easement consists of two coastal islands in the Wah Wah Taysee community, totalling 3.27 acres. The larger island has a healthy mixed forest habitat running the length of the island, while the smaller island is mostly rock with a few trees. These are classic Georgian Bay islands, and are home to many of the species that our coast is known for. Massasauga Rattlesnake, Eastern Foxsnake, Five-lined Skink, Monarch Butterfly, and Northern Map Turtle have all been documented on the property.

Although these islands are developable, landowners William and Meredith Saunderson would like them to remain in their natural state forever, and therefore decided to enter into a Conservation Easement Agreement with the Land Trust. Thank you William and Meredith for doing your part to preserve Georgian Bay wilderness for future generations!