Conservation of Frontenac Arch Protected Lands Expanded

Published on: 2019/12/05 - in Releases

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announced Wednesday evening the protection of 119 hectares (294 acres) of granite ridges, wetlands, streambanks and forests in the Frontenac Arch.

Once the treasured retreat of local landowner John “Jack” Hunter Allum, NCC’s Leland Wetlands, 25 kilometres from Kingston, has been added to NCC’s Loughborough Wilderness, a collection of protected lands at the heart of the Frontenac Arch.

A life-long conservationist, Mr. Allum acquired the property 40 years ago to protect the forest. He spent years expanding that forest, restoring old farm fields by planting 20,000 native trees. After his death, his sons honoured his wishes and sold the property to NCC.

“He just loved forests and he loved nature,” said Gary Bell, NCC’s program director for eastern Ontario. “He loved being out in the forest and he just wanted the property to protect the forest.”

Connecting the northern forests of the Algonquin Highlands with the Adirondack Mountains in New York state, the Frontenac Arch forms a critical habitat linkage between the northern hardwood and mixed forests of Ontario and the Appalachian Mountain chain of eastern North America. This narrow bridge is in one of the most important forest corridors east of the Rocky Mountains.

“The Frontenac Arch is the last, intact forest corridor in eastern North America. It punches above its weight in terms of conservation. For such a small area, it is vital for wildlife connectivity,” said Bell. “It is thanks to landowners like Mr. Allum and countless volunteers, donors and community members that we have been able protect so much of this absolutely unique natural area.”

Frontenac Arch Natural Area [click to view]
The landscape has a long history — both human and natural. The rocky vistas, numerous lakes and large forests make it quintessential Ontario wilderness. It is also one of the first places settled by early Empire Loyalists after the War of Independence and the War of 1812.

The Frontenac Arch is a confluence of five different forest regions, bringing together the northern Canadian Shield forests and southern Carolinian influences. This unique overlap creates a great richness of plant, insect and animal species, making it one of the most biodiverse regions in Canada and a place of great beauty. Over 200 bird species alone have been recorded at the Queen’s University Biological Station inside the Frontenac Arch.

Bell has been working with NCC in the Frontenac Arch for more than 14 years. Since 2005, he has helped NCC and partner organizations acquire more than 3,150 hectares (7,780 acres) of protected land here. The Leland Wetlands is one of the last projects Bell is working on before his retirement at the end of 2019.

“Through sheer determination and genuine charm, Gary Bell has achieved tremendous conservation success in eastern Ontario,” says Wendy Cridland, NCC’s director of conservation in Ontario. “The legacy of protected forests, wetlands, lakes and rocky outcrops, which supports an amazing diversity of life where north meets south, will be treasured for many generations to come.”

This land conservation project was made possible by funding from the Government of Canada, through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program. These funds were matched by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and many generous donors.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast, with more than 84,000 hectares (207,000 acres) in Ontario.

To learn more, visit

Photo: Charles T. Low Photography
Release source: Nature