Environmentally Protected Area
When Lighthouse Point was being developed, this natural area (part of the Collingwood Shores Wetland Complex) was designated as a provincially significant wetland by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Due to loss of much of the province's wetland habitat at the time, it was agreed to retain this amazing 10 acre area in its natural state. These lands are crossed by a wooden foot bridge and a walkway around its perimeter, and are home to a number of species of birds and flora and fauna for residents to respectfully enjoy.
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This natural area provides enjoyment to residents of Lighthouse Point, however, certain activities are not allowed.
Activities not allowed:
1. Soil removal or filling
2. Operation of motorized vehicles
3. Removal or damage to existing vegetation
4. Planting of vegetation
5. Removal of wildlife by such means as hunting or trapping
6. Active sporting events for example: golf, football, baseball and soccer
7. Feeding of wildlife
Biological studies were recognizing the many ecological attributes of this wetland as well as many other wetlands throughout the province. Owing to the continuing loss of much of the province’s wetland habitat, the Ministry of Natural Resources developed a “Wetland Policy” in the interest of protecting this diminishing resource. In support of this policy, the LHP development team, in consultation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Town of Collingwood, agreed to retain this area in its natural state. The successful integration of a significant wetland and a condiminum development had never been done before in Ontario—Lighthouse Point was a first!
What is it?
The Lighthouse Point Natural Area encompasses a variety of habitat types ranging from wetlands to drier areas, which occupy the shallow soils and gently sloping limestone bedrock which extends into Georgian Bay. This transition of successively drier habitats, from marsh near the shore of Georgian Bay through to dry meadow in the interior of the area, supports as many as 26 rare, or otherwise significant plant species - one species occurs only in certain shoreline areas of the Great Lakes and nowhere else in the world!
Why Is It Here?
There are many factors which contribute to the presence of this natural area. The physical characteristics of the gradually sloping near shore area, combined with regular fluctuations in the water level of Georgian Bay appear to be the most important. Periodic inundation of the meadows during storms and periods of high water help to maintain its wetland character and prevent trees and shrubs from becoming firmly established. The combination of environmental factors required to support this special shoreline ecosystem only occurs in a few areas along the southern Georgian Bay shoreline.
Why Protect It?
The LHP Natural area is important for more than just the plants that inhabit it. The shallow, sheltered waters also provide a feeding area for fish-eating birds such as herons, egrets and terns, which nest just offshore on Nottawasaga Island. In years when the water level in Georgian Bay is high, the shallow nearshore waters provide important spawning and nursery habitat for the Smallmouth Bass.
How Does This Natural Area Benefit Me?
The residents of LHP not only share in the enjoyment of a unique natural resource, they are also partners in the collective stewardship of a provincially significant wetland area.
This shoreline ecosystem has existed for thousands of years. It does not require any management or maintenance. Left in its natural state it will continue to support unusual and attractive plants, produce food for birds and provide important habitat for fish.