5. Location and Geology
Spanning an area of 156 square kilometers in Ontario, Canada, the Bruce Peninsula National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the Canadian province. The Bruce Peninsula is part of the Niagara Escarpment region and is one of the most geologically significant areas in the country. The rocks forming the escarpment is over 400 million years old, dating back to the time when the region was submerged under the waters of a shallow, tropical sea. These rocks of the escarpment have been eroded over a long period of time by the elements of nature generating spectacular overhanging cliffs, caves, and other sculptured rock formations all of which serve as a major tourist attraction.
4. Historical Role
Evidence suggests that the Bruce Peninsula National Park region was inhabited as early as 2,500 years back, but oral tradition suggests that the human habitation of the region started even earlier, about 7,500 years ago. The indigenous inhabitants of the area have often treated the region as a spiritual destination. The Saugeen Ojibway Nations have traditionally inhabited the lands in and around the Bruce Peninsula National Park. With the arrival of the Europeans, new settlements grew up in the region in the late 18th Century, gradually displacing the indigenous inhabitants of the area. Numerous treaties were signed between the Europeans and the people of the Saugeen Ojibway Nations, which often put the latter in disadvantageous situations. With the development of commercial logging activities marked by the constructions of the first sawmill in 1881, the natural landscape of the region changed drastically. To protect the flora and fauna of this unique habitat, the Bruce Peninsula National Park was established in 1987 by the Canadian government.
3. Tourism and Education
Today, the Bruce Peninsula National Park serves an important role as a major tourism and recreation center in Ontario. Thousands of tourists flock to the park in summer each year. Favorite tourist activities include exploring the fascinating caves of the park, swimming, sailing, and fishing in the waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Well-preserved shipwrecks in the Lake Huron, easily observed through the clear waters of the lake, are another major attraction in the region. The unique geology and biodiversity of the Bruce Peninsula National Park also attract researchers to the park attempting to gain knowledge about the park’s natural wealth.
2. Habitat and Biodiversity
Unique vegetation of the Bruce Peninsula National Park includes about 43 species of orchids, dwarf lake iris, Indian plantain, 20 types of ferns, lichens, mosses, and cedar trees that are hundreds of years old. Small mammals including squirrels, raccoons, porcupines, and snowshoes hares are also found here. Black bears, foxes, and while-tailed deer are also to be seen. Several species of reptiles, such as the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, and numerous amphibians also inhabit the peninsula.
1. Environmental Threats and Conservation
Before its protected status, the natural habitat of the Bruce Peninsula National Park suffered massive losses from extensive logging activities at the park. Wildfires and clearance of land for cultivation also degraded large sections of the park’s forests. Overfishing in the lakes of the region led to a loss of fish species in the lakes. The introduction of invasive species such as the lamprey eel also further threatened the native aquatic species of the region. Currently, however, efforts are being made to enhance the natural wealth of the Bruce Peninsula National Park and build the area as a popular tourist attraction in the country.