Location: Kennisis Lake, Municipality of Dysart et al, County of Haliburton
Donor: Bruce Carruthers (to honor his late wife, Norah)
Property Size: 22 acres
Acquisition Date: 2007
Features: One of the last vestiges of intact representative wilderness on Kennisis Lake
Activities: water access - picnics, fires in designated fire pits only, plein air painting, photography, bird watching
Not Allowed: hunting, overnight camping, harvesting and/or disturbing flora and fauna
Property Safety & Etiquette: Please take only memories and leave only footprints! Dogs must be on a leash, so they don’t disturb sensitive flora and fauna habitats. Please clean up after them, do not leave anything on the trails, and take dog waste bags home for disposal.
Norah’s Island is a 22-acre island on beautiful Kennisis Lake. In 2007, Norah’s Island was donated to the HHLT through Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program by the late Bruce Carruthers to honour the memory of his late wife, Norah.
Norah and Bruce Carruthers used to visit the lake to see their friends, the Kerr Family. In the 1970s, they were visiting when they found out that a large island across from the Kerr cottage was for sale. They bought it planning to perhaps build on it one day, but content to leave it be until they made up their minds. In the meantime, Norah inherited her family cottage on Georgian Bay and it was at that lakeside retreat that the Carruthers family would gather. Apart from their visits to their friends at Kennisis Lake, they seldom saw their island. The Carruthers’ owned the island for 32 years before Bruce donated the island in 2007 to the Land Trust.
In the summer of 2017, the 10-year celebration of the donation of Norah’s Island took place. It was a fun-filled day of boat tours, visiting with friends and a dedication ceremony. This gave many people a chance to get out to see beautiful Norah’s Island.
If you are interested in donating land to the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, please click here for more information.
Norah’s Island is one of the last vestiges of intact representative wilderness on Kennisis Lake, one of Haliburton County’s major cottage lakes, and lies about 1,000 feet from the nearest mainland point. Picnickers have used the south shore of the island for years as a dense undergrowth of ground hemlock discourages visitors to the interior. A low wet area in the interior is the site of an historical record (1970s) of the large round-leafed orchid. Other plant species include bearberry, club moss, goldthread, honeysuckle, bracken fern, lady fern, lichens, painted trillium, pale corydalis, pipsissewa, red-berried elder, saskatoon berry, starflower and wintergreen.
Learn more about Norah’s Island by watching this video.
The Norah’s Island Management Committee (NIMC) was formed through a partnership with the Kennisis Lake Cottage Owners’ Association (KLCOA) and the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust.
The committee consists of representatives from both entities and together they oversee the management and protection of Norah’s Island. A group of dedicated volunteers keep watch over Norah’s Island throughout the year.
To find out more about volunteering, please click here.
HHLT has established has developed a long-term management plan for the property. Conservation goals include:
- protecting and maintaining biodiversity
- promoting water quality and riparian habitat through the protection of shorelines and wetlands
- maintaining Norah’s Island in a natural state thereby providing a natural wilderness for the public to enjoy, a refuge for the local flora and fauna and an aesthetically pleasing landscape for cottagers, residents and visitors of Kennisis Lake.
The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust wishes to thank the following people/organizations for their generosity and support:
- Bruce Carruthers for the donation of Norah’s Island through Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program
- The Ontario Land Trust Assistance Program (OLTAP), an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources initiative to conserve Ontario’s biodiversity, for assisting the Land Trust with the land acquisition expenses associated with the donation of the island
- The many generous donors to the Norah’s Island Endowment Fund. The Endowment Fund will provide the HHLT with the financial resources necessary to maintain and protect Norah’s Island in perpetuity
In 2013, an original commemorative plaque, created by Leo Sepa, was installed.