Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 22

Signs of historical human activity are hidden in the centre of the bog

Along the hike, the trail crosses a “corduroy road” where Jack Pine logs were once laid down to cross the bog in the 1940s to reach the Iris Gold Mine — the geology of the Kirkland Lake area is one of the richest gold-mining regions in the world.

Loggers also cut timber to shore up mine shafts, and the stumps can be found further along where the trail returns to dry land. The logs that make up the corduroy road are like islands that have been colonized by many of the bog plants, and are slowly but surely becoming part of the bog.

Carnivorous plants!

Some plants have developed an amazing strategy to get more food – they are carnivorous! Don’t worry though… they only eat insects! These plants are able to survive the acidic conditions of the bog by getting nutrients (especially nitrogen) from the insects they trap.

Pitcher Plant

Pitcher Plants form a pitcher of water with some of their leaves. The pitcher has an enticing smell for insects, which land at the edge to get a better look.

Ultraviolet patterns also lead them to the edge, and once in the pitcher, downward-pointing hairs make sure they keep going. The leaf becomes slippery and into the water the insect goes. The “water” in the pitcher actually contains digestive enzymes which help the plant absorb the nutrients from the insect.