In December 2004, LPBLT secured its first reserve and one of the most spectacular old growth forests remaining in southern Ontario. Only 0.07 percent of southern Ontario’s original “old-growth forest” (i.e. stands of trees over 120 years old) still exist and there are few examples as spectacular as this. The Jackson-Gunn Old Growth Forest is an American Beech /Sugar Maple community comprised of many trees which are older than 280 years.

The site has never been cleared and, historically, only deadfall was removed. This amazing piece of history looks today much as it did 600 years ago. The towering maples and beeches are scarred and crooked, the veterans of numerous ice and wind storms. The trees, their lower limbs at 21 metres (70 feet), are widely spaced and give the site a very open feeling. The forest is recognized as one of the most significant old growth forests in the Carolinian Region. Today, the forest is home to numerous birds and a diverse flora. Woodpeckers search the lower branches of the canopy, Wood Ducks watch from their nest cavities and Bald Eagles regularly soar over the woodland. LPBLT will manage the site to protect the magnificent trees and associated species.

Peter Carson leads a group of woodlot owners through the Jackson-Gunn Old Growth Forest. Photo: David Agro

Getting There

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The Jackson-Gunn Old Growth Forest is located near Houghton Centre in the south-west part of Norfolk County. Access is gained from the Lower Sideroad between Regional Road 28 and the 4th Concession.