Wetlands at the Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary

Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary

The largest nature reserve in Ontario Nature’s reserve system, the Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve encompasses 470 hectares of central Ontario woodland and wetland. The reserve straddles the contact between the granitic rocks of the Canadian Shield and the limestone of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence forest.

Spotted salamander
Spotted Salamander; CREDIT: Ann Barber

The property exhibits a great diversity of community types due to its topographic variability, as well as its position on the edge of two major geologic formations. The granitic Shield areas have rolling topography, punctuated by pockets of open marsh, beaver meadow and cedar and alder swamp. These wetland areas are fed by Corben Creek, which runs through the southeastern areas of the reserve and eventually empties into Four Mile Lake.

In the north and western limestone sections, the level topography is blanketed with sugar maple and ironwood, with areas of old field regeneration and pine plantation. The northern areas of the reserve were once a refuge for Rudolf Altberg, the former landowner of the northern section of the Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve. On the side of a granite boulder overlooking the pond is a beautifully engraved metal plaque in commemoration of Mr. Altberg's generous donation of the 101-hectare northern portion of the property to Ontario Nature in 1983.

The Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve provides habitat for numerous species that depend on large tracts of contiguous natural cover. Red-shouldered hawks are frequently seen and have been known to nest on the property. In the summer, the forest and forest edges reverberate with the songs of breeding birds such as the hermit thrush, veery, least flycatcher, ovenbird, and a wealth of other warblers: black-and-white, yellow-rumped, black-throated green, black-throated blue, and chestnut-sided warbler. Golden-winged warblers, field sparrows and ruby-throated hummingbirds frequent more open habitats. Signs of deer, moose, beaver, and other mammals await the observant naturalist. Moccasin flower, showy lady's slipper, and northern beech fern are amongst the many interesting plants.

The Kawartha Field Naturalists are the stewards of the reserve. They are actively involved in monitoring amphibians, forest vegetation and birds on the property.

Click here for a PDF with information on the Altberg Wetland Nature Reserve.


From the south, take Highway 35/115 north from Highway 401 to Lindsay and continue north past Fenelon Falls and Coboconk to Norland. At Norland, turn east on City Road 45 and continue for approximately 10 kilometers. The property is on the south side of the road just past Woodcock Line and a cleared farm area, at civic address marker 4164. A gravel parking area marks the entrance to the property.

A marked trail system can be accessed from the parking area. Please stay on the marked trails and obey the signs posted at the reserve entrance.

View Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve in a larger map


Photos of the Nature Reserve


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