Alan Gordon Acadian Forest

Large Hemlock

In a 145 acre triangle of land bounded by Highway 417, Anderson Road, and Leitrim Road lies a National Capital Commission (NCC) Greenbelt woodland that is one of the best preserved climax forests in eastern Ontario.  Distinguished  by its large, mature  Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)Red Spruce (Picea rubens), and White Pine (Pinus strobus), and by Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis) and Red Maple (Acer rubrum), this small forest shows many old growth characteristics:  pit and mound topography, healthy regeneration, canopy openings, standing snags, and downed trees returning their nutrients to the rich soil.

We named this forested triangle after the distinguished scientist and forester, Dr. Alan Gordon of Sault Ste. Marie, who recorded the first global record of Red Spruce in Ontario in 1950.  He also conducted research on Red Spruce in this southeastern area of Ottawa’s Greenbelt.

Hemlock dominates the forest. Tall, 100+ year old Red Spruce more typical of the Maritimes are scattered throughout. Found in the understory are Striped Maple (Acer pennsylvanica), Wild Raisin (Viburnum cassinoides), Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides), and Winterberry (Ilex verticillata).

Park on Leitrim Road on the wide shoulder by Farmer’s Way.  You can walk southwest and enter on the hydro cut to view many Red Spruce and Hemlocks lining the corridor.  Turn northeast into the woods about half way up the corridor and explore.  Look for moose tracks and droppings.  Wear waterproof boots.  There are no trails.

Red dawn on the Red Spruce cones (photo by O. Clarkin).
One of many mature Red Spruce.
A Hemlock-dominated forest.