January 17, 2024 – Not everyone can say they received a new property for Christmas! Such was the case for the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) this holiday season.
In late November 2023, Kay Cartwright approached MMLT with a vision to protect her 256-acre property in Frontenac County from future development. Kay came to the right place; land trusts like MMLT work on behalf of the people and communities in the region to preserve ecologically valuable areas for the long term. Fueled by Kay’s determination and the dedicated efforts of MMLT staff and directors, the transition from initial inquiry to a sealed transfer was completed in less than a month!
MMLT is now the proud owner of Marl Lake Nature Reserve, an ecological gem located in North Frontenac Township, near the small village of Ompah. The property surrounds a shallow bay of Palmerston Lake (called Marl Lake), borders the Palmerston-Canonto Conservation Area (244 acres), and is near two Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSIs). Its wetlands contribute critical ecosystem services to the Mississippi River watershed.
On a chilly visit in December, members of the MMLT team explored the property’s bedrock ridges, vegetated wetlands, and upland forests. The forests boast a full range of tree species typical of the area, including Eastern Hemlock, Basswood, Sugar Maple, Large-toothed Aspen and more. While a more extensive biological survey is planned for the spring, initial records already highlight at least 10 species-at-risk in the vicinity, such as the Snapping Turtle, Evening Grosbeak, and Eastern Wood-pewee.
Looking ahead, MMLT plans to open Marl Lake Nature Reserve to the public for hiking and nature experiences. Future property stewardship plans may involve the development of trails, informative signage, and a designated parking area. If you’re feeling inspired and would like to contribute to the long-term stewardship of MMLT’s new acquisition, you can make a donation online here or by calling the office at 613-253-2722.
The MMLT team expresses immense gratitude to Kay Cartwright for her generous donation of lands for MMLT to protect in perpetuity. This donation expands MMLT’s portfolio to 12 protected properties, covering 3,384 acres across the Mississippi River watershed, extending north to the Madawaska River watershed.
Here’s to more conservation triumphs in 2024!
To learn more about Marl Lake Nature Reserve, and to see more photos, visit the new property page on our website here.