St. Raphael Signature Site

This blog is written by Eric Davidson.

In the late 1990s, the Ontario government designated the St. Raphael Signature Site located near Sioux Lookout in northern Ontario under Ontario’s Living Legacy. The Signature Site includes both the 89,000 ha St. Raphael Provincial Park and the 63,000 ha Miniss Enhanced Management Area, where logging continues to be authorized.

caribou bull Wayne Sawchuck

Photo of a Woodland Caribou

The Signature Site is home to many wildlife species, including:

  • Woodland Caribou, Moose, Wolf, Wolverine, Black Bear, Pine Marten and Lynx.
  • Bald Eagle, Osprey and a variety of waterfowl.
  • Yellow Pickerel (Walleye), Northern Pike, Yellow Perch, Whitefish and Lake Trout.

Several varieties of pine, spruce, birch and aspen occur in upland areas; wetter areas include black spruce swamps, fens and marshes.

A strand of red pine near the shores of Hooker Lake include trees of provincial significance on account of their age and location. They are further north than what is usual for this species.

The park contains routes for canoeing, swimming, and snowmobiling, as well as six tourist outpost camps. There is also a resort operating near De Lesseps Lake, with an abutting airstrip.

The Miniss Enhanced Management Area (EMA) is divided into three parcels that are separated by portions of St. Raphael Provincial Park. Surveys from 2000 to 2004 show that caribou uses the EMA in winter. However, the caribou also makes use of lands outside the Signature Site, indicating that further measures may be needed to protect these additional habitats.

The Woodland Caribou

Woodland Caribou occurs in Canada’s boreal region from Newfoundland to Yukon. Woodland Caribou need space—the median area taken up by a herd of Woodland Caribou is around 9,000 km2. The thin distribution of caribou is an important factor in helping them to avoid predators.

Caribou are the only large mammal that survives by eating lichens, which can make up between 60 and 70 percent of their diet. To learn more about the Woodland Caribou, be sure to check out our Species Spotlight here.

You can learn about the other areas in Canada that we propose to be protected here! 

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