Input sought on making Alfred Bog near Ottawa a non-operating provincial park

A view of the Alfred Bog from its 'bogwalk.' (South Nation Conservation Authority - image credit)
A view of the Alfred Bog from its 'bogwalk.' (South Nation Conservation Authority - image credit)

Four years after announcing that a rare type of bog about 75 kilometres east of downtown Ottawa would become a provincial park, Ontario says it's looking for input on a plan to turn it into a non-operating provincial park.

Most of Ontario's provincial parks are non-operating, which means they have little to no facilities or services and people aren't charged fees to visit them.

In a news release Thursday, the province said it's hoping to turn Alfred Bog, south of the community of Alfred, into such a park, and to give it a "natural environment" classification, which:

  • protects outstanding recreational landscapes and representative ecosystems,

  • protects provincially significant elements of Ontario's natural and cultural heritage,

  • and provides high quality recreational and educational experiences.

Other park classifications in Ontario include wilderness, nature reserve, cultural heritage, waterway and recreational.

Alfred Bog is home to turtles, the odd moose and carnivorous plants such as the pitcher plant and sundew.

South Nation Conservation Authority
South Nation Conservation Authority

It's the biggest of the three remaining domed peat bogs in southern Ontario, and about twice the size of Mer Bleue Bog in east Ottawa's Greenbelt.

"It's a very unique and rare feature in this area," said Michelle Cavanagh of the South Nation Conservation Area in an interview with CBC in 2018, when the province first announced the bog could become a park.

The conservation area maintains an approximately 300-metre boardwalk in the bog and owns about 81 hectares of the space.

These types of bogs, characterized by raised mounds of peat covering former lakes or dips in the landscape, are also found in places such as Ireland and New Zealand.

Cavanagh said many people in Ottawa don't know about the Alfred Bog because of its distance from the city, a relative lack of signage and the fact it doesn't have as many trails as Mer Bleue.

Public consultation period runs to November

People can review the new proposal and submit their comments over the next 45 days, from this Thursday, Sept. 22, to Nov. 6.

The province said hunting and the use of all-terrain vehicles would be allowed to continue.

In 2018 a spokesperson for the province's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said they were planning on holding public consultations on changing the park's status later that year, but didn't say when it could officially become a provincial park.