Conservation efforts can be done at any scale, but large protected areas offer great benefits. Large conservation projects allow for the simultaneous protection of multiple types of habitats, ensuring the survival of the wildlife they harbour. These projects also encourage habitat connectivity, which is directly in line with AFCN’s cross-border vision of conservation. Building extensive wildlife corridors requires the preservation of large stretches of intact land.
Large landscapes of nature also go hand-in-hand with a better quality of life for the surrounding communities by providing them with essential resources and services, including freshwater reserves and clean air.
Below are some of the large landscapes AFCN has helped preserve to date, thanks to your donations.
Next Creek – British Columbia
AFCN has contributed to the conservation of the Next Creek watershed, a 19,500-acre property acquired by NCC in 2019. The Next Creek watershed is located at the center of Darkwoods – the largest private land conservation project in Canada’s history. These conservation lands form a substantial part of a network of parks and wildlife management areas in BC’s South Selkirk Mountains, which spans more than 270,000 acres of inland temperate forests and encompasses entire watersheds.
The securement of Next Creek enhances an important upland buffer for the internationally renowned Creston Valley wetlands, which are adjacent to the southern limits of Darkwoods. The wetland plays an essential role in ensuring the safe southward migration of numerous species of migratory waterfowl, including snow goose, trumpeter swan, mallard, canvasback, harlequin duck and common goldeneye. The protection of Next Creek and Darkwoods is instrumental in providing an intact landscape for wildlife to roam around freely within Canada and beyond.
Birch River Wildland Park – Alberta
With its 819,976 acres of protected land, Birch River Wildland Park is a conservation achievement of global significance. When combined with neighbouring parks such as the Wood Buffalo National Park, this area forms the largest stretch of protected boreal forest in the world. The park provides habitat for 68 closely monitored species, three of which are listed under the Canadian federal Species at Risk Act (peregrine falcon, wood bison, woodland caribou).
The boreal forest also nurses billions of migratory birds. In addition to this, it plays an extremely significant role in regulating the global climate by providing us with the planet’s largest terrestrial carbon sink – this allows carbon to be stored in the ground, slowing climate change.
Big Trout Bay – Ontario
Big Trout Bay is one of the last undeveloped stretches of shoreline between Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Duluth, Minnesota on the north shore of Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake. It is just minutes from the Canada-U.S. border. This 2,500-acre property is a refuge for species at risk like Canada warbler. Its rugged shoreline and towering cliffs support several Arctic-alpine disjunct plants adapted to the local harsh conditions. Coastal boreal forest spans across Big Trout Bay, providing essential habitat for boreal songbirds. Cliffs, stretches of open bedrock and cobblestone beaches, as well as Big Trout Bay’s densely forested land allow peregrine falcon, lynx and moose to thrive.
The bi-national effort to safeguard the Great Lakes’ biodiversity is one of the most critical conservation undertakings of our time and is necessary in ensuring the wellbeing of generations to come.
Kenauk – Quebec
Located halfway between Montreal and Ottawa, the Kenauk territory is a uniquely diverse landscape. Its deep forests are home to large, sometimes vulnerable, mammals such as eastern wolf and American black bear. In addition, part of this impressive territory is covered by wetlands and aquatic environments – think lakes, streams and ponds – hosting numerous species of waterfowl including American black duck, wood duck, and common goldeneye for breeding, nesting and staging. Papineau Lake, located at the head of the Kinonge River, is rich in lake trout and other fish species.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada protects 15,000 acres of land within the Kenauk landscape. This property represents a 12.4-mile long forest corridor and plays a central role in maintaining extensive interconnected expanses of forests in the Southern Laurentians. As climate change intensifies, the wellbeing of many species will depend on their ability to move northwards, making the conservation of this area a priority.
Musquash Estuary Nature Reserve – New Brunswick
To date, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved over 5,600 acres in the Musquash Estuary Nature Reserve. Located just 15 minutes from Saint John, the reserve surrounds one of the last fully-functioning river estuaries of the Bay of Fundy and the first federally designated Marine Protected Area in New Brunswick.
The nature reserve is also located on the Atlantic flyway, the most important route for migratory birds in Eastern Canada. Musquash estuary’s expansive coastal marshes, mudflats and rocky shores support migratory birds such as waterfowl and shorebird species, including common eider, scoter, black guillemot, common loon, purple sandpiper, and semipalmated sandpiper. In addition to this, its coastal forests are a heaven for wildlife – deer, moose, bobcat and black bear roam around the forests surrounding the estuary. The nature reserve is now a popular outdoor recreation destination with numerous hiking trails on-site.
For more information about how you can take part in the ongoing effort towards large-scale conservation, click here.