Introduction to Algonquin Park Habitats - Lakes and Rivers
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Lakes and Rivers
   
 

Lakes and Rivers  
Algonquin Park is covered with over 2000 named lakes, comprising about 10% of the total area of the Park. This number of lakes may not seem impressive but any Algonquin hiker or canoeist knows that you don't have to travel very far in Algonquin to find water. Lakes and rivers dot and crisscross the Park's 7,725 km2 with five major watersheds beginning inside the Park's boundaries.

Algonquin's lakes are typically cold, clear, and relatively nutrient poor compared to areas outside the Park's boundaries. The reason for this is the type of rocks that surround Algonquin's water bodies. These rocks are part of the vast Canadian Shield which is made up of very hard igneous and metamorphic rock. These very hard rocks erode extremely slow releasing only small amounts of nutrients into water bodies each year. This in turn provides few nutrients like phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen needed by many aquatic plants. With a limited amount of nutrients in the water, few green plants can survive, and in return restrict the amount of food and cover for aquatic animals. As a result, Algonquin's waters are less productive than areas off the Canadian Shield based on softer and more nutrient rich rock types.

Despite the low nutrient conditions of most Park lakes, Algonquin is noted to have one of the best cold water fisheries in the province. Anglers from across the country come to Algonquin in search of the Park's Lake Trout and Brook Trout. Anglers and canoeist can also be rewarded by catching a glimpse of other species that depend upon Algonquin's lakes and rivers. These include the Common Loon (Ontario's provincial bird), Common Merganser, American Black Duck, Belted Kingfisher, Muskrat, Beaver, and maybe even a Moose.

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:

Trees of Algonquin Provincial Park
Of all the living things that inhabit Algonquin Provincial Park, none are more important than the trees. Trees are by far the largest living things in the Park and they almost completely blanket the landscape. With a little practice you can quickly become adept at identifying all of Algonquin's trees, and this will open the door to understanding the fascinating world of Algonquin Provincial Park.


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Birds of Algonquin Provincial Park
Many visitors to Algonquin Park are unaware that it offers a unique opportunity for seeing and hearing the birds of Ontario. This book will introduce you to the main habitats of the Park and to many of the common species, 77 in all. Through colour photographs and short accounts we hope to encourage you to discover and enjoy them for yourself.


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Wildflowers of Algonquin Provincial Park
Anyone who visits Algonquin Park during the spring and summer will see wildflowers. The Park has many different habitats within its borders and each area has its own distinct wildflowers. This book has over 55 colour photographs of the most common wildflowers in the Park, and will give you an idea of the incredible richness and beauty of the plant world and how important plants are to the ecology of Algonquin Park.


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Lake Depth Maps of Algonquin Provincial Park
With the help of new technology, Park staff have surveyed 24 lakes to produce colour maps showing depth contours as well as describing other key lake characteristics such as fish species present, maximum depth, and other interesting lake features and historical facts.


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Fishes of Algonquin Provincial Park
Fishes of Algonquin Provincial Park introduces readers to the 53 currently occuring Park fish species with over 70 outstanding coloured photos of live fish. Written by Dr. Nick Mandrak who conducted the definitive study of Park fishes in the 1990's, and his mentor E.J. Crossman of the Royal Ontario Museum, this book breaks new ground in helping a wider audience get to know and appreciate the fish fauna of a major Canadian park.


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Mammals of Algonquin Provincial Park
Fifty-three species of mammals have been found in Algonquin Provincial Park. This book explains the life history of these mammals. The many illustrations help to make it easier to identify them, and the book also contains a useful reference chart for distinguishing tracks and scats.


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Peck Lake Trail Guide
Lake Ecology


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Whiskey Rapids Trail Guide
Algonquin River Ecology


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The Raven Talks About Fish and Lakes
This book contains seventeen articles about fish and lakes that originally appeared in Algonquin Park's newsletter, The Raven, between its inception in 1960 and 2003. Whether you are an angler, naturalist, teacher, or just interested in a good read, The Raven talks about Fish and Lakes will be a great resource.


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