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Shore Ridges Conservation Area

shore ridge

The Shore Ridges Conservation Area is 443 hectares (1100acres) of land including 366 metres (1200feet) of shoreline some of which has been designated as provincially significant. Found within the city limits at the junction of Sunnyside Beach Road and Shatruck Drive, the area is easily accessible to residents and visitors alike. The Conservation Area has two trails for year round use by hikers or cross-country skiers. The upper Indian Ridge Trail offers a view from the escarpment and winds its way through hardwood forest. The lower Beaver trail is on a beach terrace surrounded by marsh. There are also lesser used trails such as the Deer and Grouse Trails.

Geology

Portions of the property follow the escarpment, giving visitors a striking view of Lake Superior and the surrounding forest. Below the ridge, you may want to investigate the freshwater spring, clay beds, natural erosion and fine sand deposits.

Vegetation

Along the trails you will notice a multitude of wildflowers, ferns, plants and trees. Due to the varied environment, the area contains a wide variety of plant life. Some areas are swampy, providing rich, wet soil other areas are much drier. When you look at the forest, you will notice Birch trees, red oak, red maple, large tooth aspen, cedar, pine and striped maple, a unique tree identified by it slender green trunk marked with vertical white stripes. There are also trembling aspen, sumac, will and white birch. The trillium Ontario's floral emblem also flourishes throughout this area. 

Wildlife

The plant life in this conservation area attracts a number of mammals. Deer and moose visit the open areas to feed on vegetation in the swamps. Black bears have also been seen on occasion, feeding on summer berries. Birdwatchers who visit will enjoy the varied species. You may catch sight of the broad winged hawk, sandhill crane and the great blue heron. More common are the cedar waxing, white throated sparrow, downy woodpecker and the red eyed vireo.

As you progress along the trails, you’ll hear the chatter of squirrels and chipmunks in the forest. Other common animals are deer, skunks and hares which inhabit the thick undergrowth. Although less likely to be seen fox and Canadian lynx are predators native to this area.

 

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Shore Ridges