Introduction to Algonquin's Wildlife Research Facilities
Introduction to Algonquin's Wildlife Research Facilities

When the Government of Ontario established Algonquin Park in 1893, only a few adventurous visitors made the long trip by canoe and portage to get to this newly created Park. However, with the development of the railway, lodges, cottages, and eventually Highway 60, more and more people flocked to this 'wilderness' park.

In an effort to better understand what the human induced pressures of increasing tourism was having on the Park's fish population, a field laboratory was set up by Dr. W.J.K. Harkness at Cache Lake in 1935. The following year Dr. Harkness established a permanent fisheries laboratory at Lake Opeongo and the Harkness Laboratory of Fisheries Research contiues to operate to this day. Since that time, several other research facilities have been established within the Park's boundaries.

Today Algonquin Park covers 7,725 km2, making it relatively free of human development, compared to areas outside the Park's boundaries. This wildness, the diversity of the environment, and the presence of large mammal species (many of which are not found farther south) make Algonquin Park an outstanding wildlife research laboratory for scientists from around the world.

For more than 70 years, countless numbers of wildlife biologists from a variety of institutions within Canada, and from around the world, have spent time in Algonquin Park studying the animals that live in its forests and lakes. At last count over 1,800 references had been published on Algonquin Park and its resources, making it one of the best studied areas in Canada, and a leader worldwide. This section describes Algonquin's research facilities, the researchers using them, and a limited number of projects they have undertaken to better understand Algonquin's wildlife.

Within Algonquin Park there are four research facilities that deal with wildlife research activities. These are:

Harkness Laboratory of Fisheries Research
Wildlife Research Station (WRS)
Algonquin Fisheries Assessment Unit (AFAU)
Algonquin Park Visitor Centre

For more information concerning scientific publications about Algonquin Park and its resources consult the Algonquin Provincial Park Bibliography.

Suggested Reading
Educators: Learn more about Algonquin’s habitats, download readings and worksheets from the Educator Resources section of the Web Site, or you may also learn more through the following publications:

Algonquin Provincial Park Bibliography
This bibliography is a compilation of over 1800 references dealing with Algonquin Park and its resources. Books, scientific papers, internal reports and magazine articles are listed and could be of benefit to anyone studying Algonquin Park. Organized by category (eg. Amphibians and Reptiles, Archeology, Birds).

more info

back to top