Bowman Island Nature Reserve

In 2012, TBFN purchased a very special nature reserve on a remote island in Lake Superior. Bowman Island is "next door" to our Paradise Island Nature Reserve, which was acquired in 2007. The new reserve consists of two adjacent lots totalling forty acres of land. Except for a small lot owned by a local outfitter, the rest of the island is Crown Land, slated for inclusion in the new National Marine Conservation Area.
The island is important for its remarkable natural values, which are largely undisturbed. The MNR has declared Bowman an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest for both Earth Science features (extensive raised cobble beaches) and Life Sciences features (Arctic Alpine disjunct plants, extensive lichen heath vegetation). In addition, there are five "Pukaskwa pits" on the island which are of considerable archaeological interest. The island lies at the heart of the new National Marine Conservation Area and has some of the lake’s most scenic shoreline.
The Natural Areas Conservation Program (see below), the EJLB Foundation, and the McLean Foundation, key supporting partners in the purchase of several other TBFN Nature Reserves, were once again most generous. We could not have managed this acquisition without their assistance.

Encrusted Saxifrage found on Bowman

aerial view of Bowman Island
Pukaskwa Pit on Bowman (credit: Lake Superior Research Group)
Lichen heath and spruce on raised cobble beach (Credit: Lake Superior Research Group)

Bowman shoreline with raised beaches in background (Credit: Lake Superior Research Group)

Due to the fragility of the lichen heath and artic alpine vegetation, we ask that visitors do not camp or light campfires on this reserve, and that they limit their explorations to existing trails.


The Natural Areas Conservation Program, a Nature Conservancy of Canada - Government of Canada partnership, provided half the funding for the protection of these ecologically sensitive lands. Many individuals met the challenge to contribute the necessary matching funds.

The Natural Areas Conservation Program is an NCC-Government of Canada partnership.

"The NCC-Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program is a $225 million
investment to assist non-profit, non-government organizations secure ecologically sensitive lands. This ensures the conservation of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat. In order to use the funding available, these organizations will provide matching funds for each federal dollar received."