J.P. McVittie Nature Reserve
Size: 253.52 acres
Location: Eilean Gown Island, Lake Muskoka
Year Acquired: 1990
Public Access: Available
The J.P. McVittie Nature Reserve is 253 acres of woodland located in the centre of Eilean Gowan Island on Lake Muskoka. This property was the first land donation to Muskoka Conservancy in 1990 (then the Muskoka Heritage Foundation). The donation was made directly by Mr. John Phillip McVittie for the purposes of nature conservation.
This nature reserve was historically logged, as was much of Muskoka, but has remained relatively untouched for the last 70-80 years, making it a unique forest to explore and home to some very old forest stands. The forest is dominated by eastern hemlock, american beech, sugar maple, basswood and yellow birch trees. It is also home to an abundance of wildlife including black bear, moose, red fox, porcupine, and fisher.
The property is available for public access via the Town of Bracebridge’s Johnston Park at the southern end of Eilean Gowan Island. There is a 5 km hiking trail that travels the perimeter of the nature reserve for visitors to enjoy.