Trail leads hikers past some of the park's loveliest scenery providing a close-up view of water in Killarney and allowing us to observe the subtle and intriguing differences between some of the park's different wet and dry environments. The presence or absence of water, and the chemistry of that water, greatly influences how Killarney's ecosystems function. The trail begins at the Proulx Marsh. This marsh is the last in a chain of wetlands which empties into George Lake. In 1997, Proulx Marsh was almost covered in water, but today most of the water is gone. Technically Proulx Marsh isn't a marsh at all but what is commonly called a beaver meadow. It is possible that in 100 years Proulx Marsh will have to be called Proulx Forest.
The trail continues through a Cattail Marsh to the Cranberry Bog. A bog is a wetland in which floating mats of sedges and sphagnum moss form, the water is fairly acidic, nutrient poor, and there is an absence of inflowing water. But the Cranberry Bog does have a stream link to a higher wetland near Little Sheguiandah Lake and a pH of 6.1 indicating less acidic conditions. So the Cranberry Bog isn't a bog at all but is actually a fen. A fen, fed by an external slow moving water source has higher nutrient concentrations and hosts plants found in bogs plus some orchids, water lilies, and sedges. The Cranberry Bog hosts a variety of plants, aquatic insects, and waterfowl species. As you continue further along the trail you will reach A.Y. Jackson Lake. This lake is a headwater lake, located at the top of a water system. There is a stream on the far shore that provides an outlet draining into George Lake. As with many other lakes within the park, A.Y. Jackson was damaged by acidic precipitation but is slowly recovering.
This picturesque lake was named after A.Y. Jackson the renowned Group of Seven artist. In the 1930's A.Y. Jackson was instrumental in gaining protection for Killarney's first tiny forest reserve which has grown into the park that we enjoy today. Like the wetland environments along this trail, everything you see as you look around is linked together. By understanding one tiny corner of the world a little bit better, we develop an appreciation for the interconnectedness of life, and the importance of simple things like water.
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