Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Misery Loves Company: Misery Bay Provincial Park

Misery Bay Provincial Park located on the south shore of Manitoulin Island, is having a celebration this Friday to kick of the 2012 season at the Park.  This celebration will also mark the transition of Misery Bay moving from "non-operating" to "operating" park status under the Provincial Parks legislation.  This transition is significant as it means more funding and support from the provincial government.  This designation and support has the potential to be a huge boon to the largely volunteer and community operated Park.

Misery Bay Park is 1005-hectares in size and is classified as a nature reserve.  There are a number of  short (under 5 km) walking trails on the park which allow visitors to explore the landscape.  Perhaps the most well known feature of the park are the alvars that make up a large portion of the landscape. Alvars are a rare natural feature which consist of a limestone plain, with thin or no soil on top.  This unique rock based formation support prairie type flora and a one of a kind ecosystem.

The Misery Bay Park is also one of the few areas along the south shore of Manitoulin Island that is accessible to the general public.  The majority of the shoreline is privately owned.  A small visitors center welcomes visitors to the park and facilitates a number of walking tours, lectures, and educational presentations.  Weekly educational and interpretive events occur at the park throughout the summer to help educate the general public about the unique landscape and ecosystem which exists within the Misery Bay Park. The park is an excellent example of the unique natural heritage that exists throughout Ontario and would be well worth a visit if you are visiting Manitoulin Island or taking the Chi-Cheemaun across Lake Huron.

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