Carden Alvar, new Provincial Park in the making!

Carden Alvar birding area

Sometimes you discover gems like the Carden Alvar lurking in your own back yard!
Been traveling past this area often (turns out it is only a few minutes north of my location) on my way north.
To such destinations as Algonquin, Killarney, Superior, Thunder Bay, Temagami, and many other places one might imagine one has to go to find “great” images.
Little did I realize what a gem was just a short trip away!

Old barn along a road in Carden Alvar

Old barn along a road in Carden Alvar (© Peter Pauer)

So I took a quick run around the Carden Alvar.
It was not a bad trip, maybe should not have used the wife’s small car though.
It bottomed out in a few places and a few rather loud thumps occurred.
But there were lots of other people also trying to drive and bird around portions of it in small cars too.
Would not recommend trying that trail in a small car if it rains though!

I did not see the fabled Loggerhead Shrike, but you could hear it singing (rather laughing at all the people) in the trees.
The Loggerhead shrike is the only member of the shrike family endemic to North America making it a rather unique bird to spot.
There were lots of other birds to be seen flapping around the area too, (no rubber chickens though).

It has a very nicely set up birding trail area by the “Ontario Field Ornithologists

A portion of the area has become the Carden Alvar Provincial Park . The Land use amendment to create the new Provincial Park was approved and the new Park is underway. There are hiking trails in the new park that now exist! Brochures, maps and more information can be found on the The Couchiching Conservancy web site.

Oh, the purple loosestrife invasion is doing very well, there were huge fields full of it everywhere!

Purple loosestrife in a field at Carden Alvar

The invasive species Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) is seen in abundance (© Peter Pauer)

 

Algonquin Provincial Park – Canada’s amazing park system

Algonquin Park

Algonquin park lake in morning fog

Algonquin park lake in morning fog

Established in 1893,  Algonquin Park is the oldest provincial park in Canada.
Located only a 3 hour drive north of Toronto, Ontario the park provides a wilderness experience that is easily accessed from Southern Ontario.
Encompassing about 7,653 square kilometers (2,955 sq mi), it contains over 2,000 kilometers of back country canoe routes connecting  thousands of its pristine lakes.

Providing for any level of outdoors actives.
From the “civilized city” camper. With eight campgrounds and fourteen hiking trails. That provide easy access for the car camper arriving with tent or trailer. Some even providing electrical hookup along the Highway 60 corridor.

To the skilled outdoors person. With 29 different entry points allowing access to the thousands of kilometers of back-country canoeing and hiking. For overnight and multi day use a back-country permit is required. And you will need to show your approved camp stove to the warden before entering.  There is also a complete bottle and can ban in effect in the back-country.

The park is home to an active and healthy black bear population. As well as wolf packs and fox requiring good back-country skills for those traversing its rugged landscape.
Algonquin with 272 recorded bird species, some residents some migrants, is also a haven for the ornithologist!
Not to forget mentioning spotting the occasional elusive moose!

Located in an area of transition between northern coniferous forest and southern deciduous forest the park is along the “border” between Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario. For the landscape enthusiast the park provides excellent diverse scenery in all seasons, especially in the fall when the trees along the highway 60 corridor turn to an amazing riot of colors.

The park boasts a large visitors center located at Km 43 containing a shop, restaurant, museum and a viewing platform overlooking several lakes. As well as a Logging museum at Km 54.5.
WiFi is available only at the visitors center,  and fortunately in most places cell phones still do not have a signal allowing for a quiet peaceful time while visiting.

Whether you are car camping or going back-country I highly rate the park and can only recommend it.
It is well worth the visit!

You can find out more about the park and make your camp reservation at Ontario Parks

For updates and news about the park visit the Friends of Algonquin Park FOAP

There is also an excellent Art Gallery at Km 20 on Highway 60 inside the park boundaries, it is well worth a visit. Entrance to the gallery is by donation, which helps fund it operations.

Enjoy your stay!