Misery Bay. Ancient sea with stone bottom and unique alvar

The uniqueness of Misery Bay Provincial Park on Manitoulin Island lies in its geological foundation, which is an ancient flat rock bed. The entire ecosystem is called an alvar. These are found mostly in America’s Great Lakes region and in northern Europe.

Is an area of flat limestone plain where there is little soil. It tends to be flooded with lake water in spring and suffers from drought in summer. There are therefore only stunted trees and shrubs, a lot of mosses, lichen, grasses and others. In one sentence, extremely rare extreme habitats, of which there are about seven species. A paradise for systems biologists and ecologists.

Misery Bay Provincial Nature Reserve is a 860 hectare provincial park on the south shore of Manitoulin Island, a ten minute drive west of Evansville.
The land surrounding Misery Bay was privately owned, purchased by the Sifferd family in 1959. The visitor centre dates from 1982 and the land was donated to Ontario Parks in 1989.

It covers 1,079 hectares and offers 15 km of coastal and inland trails.
There is a trail network of eight trails totaling approximately 16 km (one way) and ranging in length from 0.2 km to 4.8 km (one way). The trails feature mixed woodland, old beach ridges, and rare alvars. There is a visitor centre/ interpretive centre to educate the public about this unique area.
There is an easy loop of 4.1 km from the visitor centre consisting of the Lakeshore and Wolf Den Trails.

Did you know?
Manitoulin Island is said to be the largest freshwater island in the world.