Map of the Highlands Corridor Showing Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest
Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSIs) are areas of land and water containing unique natural landscapes or features. These features have been scientifically identified as having life or earth science values related to protection, scientific study or education. Earth science ANSIs are geological in nature and contain significant examples of bedrock, fossils, landforms or ongoing geological processes. Life science ANSIs represent biodiversity and natural landscapes. ANSIs complement provincial parks and conservation reserves by conserving significant features through means other than regulation. Candidate ANSIs are areas that are considered to be provincially significant but where the status was not finalized through the confirmation process, which involves landowner consultation (Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, 2021).
Three Candidate Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) have been identified within or adjacent to the Highlands Corridor that are not already included in Provincial Parks.
The Lochlin Bog is a 530 ha, candidate Life Science ANSI of regional significance. D. Brunton describes the Lochlin Bog as the following (Brunton, 1990):
An extensive, undisturbed peatland of open bog heath, graminoid bog, wet thicket and Black Spruce – Larch forest over granite substrates; a typical large bog of areas in Site District 5-9 but uncommon this large in Site District 5-11. It supports typical bog vascular and shrub flora as well as some less common elements such as Rhychnospora fusca and Gentiana linearis and a population of the northern Lincoln’s Sparrow, at the southern limit of its normal range here.
The Lochlin Esker is a 103 ha, candidate Earth Science ANSI and is located immediately north of the Highlands Corridor. As final boundaries of the Highlands Corridor have not yet been defined, the close proximity of this provincially significant feature should be taken into consideration. The Earth Science Inventory Checklist (Kor, 2012) describes the Lochlin Esker as the following:
A small well-developed esker meanders through a wetland complex on the Canadian Shield near Minden. It formed during the retreat of the northern ice lobe 12,000 years ago. The esker shows a meandering course, very steep lateral slopes, a beaded form, and a narrow and lengthy morphology. There are few eskers on the Canadian Shield in this region due to the style of glacial retreat, which involves stagnation of the ice. The esker at Lochlin is well formed and in relatively pristine condition. The feature is considered important for its representation of a Canadian Shield esker in this region (north Bay Interstadial Theme), and as an esker as a landform example (Glacial Landforms Theme).
The esker is considered provincially significant for the following reasons: it is one of a few eskers on the Shield between the Great Lakes and Algonquin PP; high educational value; easy access (requires landowner permission; excellent landform development.
Silent Lake - Lowrie Lakes
The Silent Lake – Lowrie Lakes ANSI is a 507 ha, candidate Life Science ANSI. D. Brunton (Brunton, 1990) describes the Silent Lake – Lowrie Lakes ANSI as the following:
Silent Lake Park, including its several nature reserve zones, provides the only existing representation of medium-aged to mature tolerant hardwood forest (Sugar Maple – Yellow birch – Hemlock) over marble substrate in Algonquin Region; and in Site District 5-11. With its rich marble – influenced wetlands it offers an important representation of natural features not widely distributed in the Region. The exceptionally rare floral and faunal elements of Lowrie Lake (Nature Reserve 4) indicate that this ravine and ridge landscape and the calcareous seepages running through it offer an exceptional complex of life science features.
The present configuration of park boundaries excludes a large portion of such habitat along its northeastern shoulder, excluding possible habitat of rare and representative elements of the Lowrie Lakes Area and elsewhere in the park. Darbyshire and Dickson (Darbyshire & Dickson, 1977) point out that the Lowrie Lakes reserve is likely too small to protect some of its important life science features.
The site is on Ground Moraine landform units and relates closely to the other Silent Lake Park sites.
The Highlands Corridor has two candidate regionally significant Life Science ANSIs and is in close proximity to a candidate provincially significant Earth Science ANSI.