Interim Management Statement

Ontario Parks
Central Zone, Huntsville
February, 1998

Approval statement

I am pleased to approve this Interim Management Statement for Gibson River Nature Reserve. This Nature Reserve contains provincially rare vascular plants as well as regionally significant species, one of which is at the northern limit of its range in Canada. The Park is underlain by Go Home domain gneissic rocks of the Central Gneiss Belt of the Grenville structural province. Bedrock barrens support health and scrub vegetation as well as early successional upland forests. Depressions in the bedrock support grammoid bog mats, bogs and marshes. Thicket swamp and coniferous swamp forest has developed in association with these wetlands and include Red Marsh at the south end of the Park.

This Interim Management Statement will provide direction for the custodial management of Gibson River Provincial Nature Reserve until a comprehensive Management Plan is prepared. The Park is operated under the jurisdiction of the Superintendent of Six Mile Lake Provincial Park.

Brian Pfrimmer,
Central Zone Manager
Ontario Parks

Management guidelines

Interim management statements identify: park values; guidelines to protect those values; and restrictions on use.

The policies in this interim management statement are consistent with provincial policies for park planning and management, and reaffirms the priority on the protection objective of Gibson River Provincial Nature Reserve while having regard for the other three park objectives: heritage appreciation, recreation and tourism.

Land uses

A metes and bounds description delineates the Park. A boundary plan will be prepared to replace this description. Figure 2 illustrates the approximate boundary of this 338 hectare Nature Reserve.

The Park’s boundary has been expanded from 168 hectares to 338 hectares, thus adding significant natural areas, such as the Red Marsh. A portion along the west side has been deleted to accommodate the use of motorized vehicles.

One hydro transmission corridors is situated within the park boundary and cuts diagonally across the centre of the Park. A small section of an adjacent hydro corridor extends into the southwest corner of the Nature Reserve. A hydro line maintenance road beneath the southwest transmission line appears to be used for all-terrain vehicle travel in summer and by snowmobilers in winter.

Disturbance to the forest system was considerable in the past as the entire area was logged. Natural regeneration and succession will be the preferred management strategy. Given the limited use of the Park, no interpretive facilities are planned.

Recreation activities

Recreation uses (e.g. walking, hiking, birding, etc.) are not managed. A snowmobile trail exists along the hydro corridor, situated along the west side, just outside the Nature Reserve boundary. There is also an unmanaged hiking trail starting at the access road into the Park and eventually exiting at the hydro line at a cairn. Use of this trail will be evaluated during management planning.

Hunting is not permitted in the Nature Reserve by regulation under the Game and Fish Act (R.R.O. 502, O.Reg. 49/95, s.1) and by provincial park policy.

Mechanized travel in the Park is not permitted.

Camping is not a permitted use.

Commercial activities

Commercial uses are not permitted (e.g. trapping, bait fishing, mineral resources exploration/development, forestry, commercial tourism services, hydro development, etc.) within the Nature Reserve.

Aboriginal interests

There are no land claims having a bearing on the Park.

Geological and biological features

Initial work for the natural heritage values of the Park was completed in the 1970’s. The earth science features of the site have not been evaluated in the field. Regional mapping indicates the Park is underlain by gneissic rocks of the Go Home domain within the Central Gneiss Belt. The Park includes the former Red Marsh Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (MacDonald 1986). Brunton (1991) reports the uncommon vascular plants Carex foliculata and Carex haydenii as well as the regionally significant Juniperus virginiana, Goodyera pubescens . Athyrium thelypteroids and White Oak.

Management in the area would ideally allow natural processes to continue to shape the ecology of the forest and non-forest communities. Further inventory is required to support management and to document the earth science values.

Cultural resources

There has been no assessment of cultural resources: archaeological sites, historical use or artifacts, historical landscapes, etc.

Visitor services

There are no visitor services planned for this small, isolated Park.


Research will deal with all aspects of scientific study, inventory or surveys, such as studies of vegetation and ecological processes, cultural resource inventories or special studies, and user surveys. It will be consistent with Ontario Parks Research and Information Strategy. An approved research application is required in order to conduct research in Provincial Parks.

As in the past, biological and geological research will be encouraged. Research will develop a data base on the geological and biological features within the Nature Reserve and on related properties. Comparative studies will be encouraged to understand the features and processes in the Nature Reserve with similar areas in Site District 5E-7.

An earth science Checksheet should be completed for the Park. Completion of an earth science theme study for the region and an updated earth science systems plan for Central Region would provide a more complete context to assess the significance of the Park’s features.


No marketing strategy is contemplated for the Park at this time.


Brunton, D.F. 1991. Gibson River Provincial Nature Reserve Park, Area of Natural and Scientific Interest – Life Science Checksheet, OMNR.

Brunton, D.F. 1991. Life Science Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest in Site District 5 -7, Parks and Recreation Section, OMNR, Huntsville, 112 p.

COSEWIC, Canadian Species at Risk , April 1997

Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, 1973. Penetanguishene: Topographic Map Series, 1:50,000, Sheet 31 D/13.

Easton, M.E. 1982. The Grenville Province and the Proterozoic history of Central and Southern Ontario, Geology of Ontario, Ontario Geological Survey, Special Volume 4, Part 2, p. 714-904.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1992. Ontario Provincial Parks: Planning and Management Policies , 1992 Update, 90 p.