The Keddy Nature Sanctuary consists of approximately one square mile (600+ acres) of forest and wetland on the very edge of the Canadian shield, just an hour west of Ottawa on the east side of Lanark County, in Ontario, Canada. It is mostly second growth temperate deciduous forest, interspersed with wetlands and beaver ponds, as well as sedge-dominated rock-ridges. A central ridge has more than forty acres of hemlock forest that is more than a century old. There are also some fields that remain from pastures created in the previous century. An old shoreline of the Champlain Sea crosses the property.
The long term objective for the property is to protect the natural landscape, and allow the re-establishment of forest cover typical of Lanark County before European settlement. At that time, the forest was dominated by trees such as hemlock, white pine, sugar maple and red oak. These original forest of eastern Ontario are described in a report prepared by Cathy Keddy.
Parts of this property, as well as adjoining lands, are also designated within the Scotch Corners Provincially Significant Wetland.
Restoring the forests. The forests are being lightly managed to restore the original composition of forest trees that would have occurred before settlement and logging.
A checklist of the trees of KNS. There are 30 species of trees on the property, and this checklist includes short notes about each species.
Ground nesting birds. These birds are particularly sensitive to human activities, and are one reason why some natural areas need to have limited human use.
Breeding frogs: Eight species of frog and one species of toad breed in the ponds at KNS. This chart shows when each species can be heard calling, starting in April with Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers. In mid summer one can sometimes see large numbers of very small young frogs crossing the trails. (The Chorus Frog is known from Lanark County, but does not appear to breed within KNS. However, it may be heard at other locations in the county.)
Arrow Arum. A nationally rare wetland plant has been found in one of the largest ponds. This article describes the significance of this species.
This property is one of a set of wild places protected by the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, a conservation charity that has the primary purposed of protecting a network of wild places in the Mississippi and lower Madawaska River watersheds. This project will take generations to complete, but is beginning with key properties including Blueberry Mountain, High Lonesome, Keddy Nature Sanctuary, Rose Hill and Byrne Big Creek Nature Preserve. MMLT is run almost entirely by volunteers who live within the Mississippi-Madawaska watershed.
Visits to this protected area are currently by appointment only. The easiest way to experience the forests and wetlands at KNS is to enjoy the walking trail provided by MMLT on the adjoining Poole Family Nature Sanctuary. This trail has descriptive trail signs and a brochure. The forests and wetlands of the Poole Family Nature Sanctuary are very similar to those at KNS — with the added convenience of access from a paved road.