by James Morgan
on September 3rd, 2016
South Otter Lake is located at the entrance of Frontenac Provincial Park. Photo by James Morgan
Choose your structural metaphor to describe the land between the Adirondack Mountains and the expanse of rugged Canadian Shield terrain across northern Ontario. It’s commonly called the Frontenac Arch, but it is also a sort of bridge of wilderness and glacial rock. The arch sweeps across the North Country between Gouverneur and Watertown, through the Thousand Islands and north through places like Perth and Westport. The arch is actually a designated United Nations World Biosphere Reserve because of its unique ecosystems. Most of the land and water is privately owned of course, but there are protected places too. One of them–a sort of keystone in the arch–is Frontenac Provincial Park north of Kingston, near the quaint village of Sydenham.
The nearly 13,000 acre (over 5,300 hectare) park includes 22 lakes. It’s a rarity among parks in the southern half of Ontario because it only offers campsites accessible by trail or canoe. There are over 60 miles (100 kilometres) of trails. I recently took a short hike on the Arab Lake Gorge Trail and took some photos to get a small look at just how unique the park and its land are.
The short Arab Lake Gorge Trail gives park visitors a good introduction to Frontenac Provincial Park. Photo by James Morgan
It’s easy being green in the wetland through the Arab Lake Gorge. Photo by James Morgan
Although the Frontenac Arch has a rugged, northern wilderness landscape, its more southern climate gives it unique tree species like this Shagbark Hickory. Photo by James Morgan
Drought has not been easy on trees in the park this summer. The oaks at the left are managing to stay green, but the leaves have turned brown and died on the ironwoods to the right. Photo by James Morgan
The hardwood forests of the Frontenac Arch often have a grassy glade for ground cover. Photo by James Morgan
Most of the facilities in Frontenac that are accessible by road are limited to South Otter Lake. There’s a picnic area under tall pines and oaks. These folks were enjoying a swim on a hot Sunday afternoon. Photo by James Morgan
In addition to the many park trails, the 240 mile/387 kilometer Rideau Trail goes through Frontenac Provincial Park on its route from Kingston to Ottawa. The orange triangle marker shows the way past the park office and visitor center. Photo by James Morgan