Area: 93,000 sq km (58,000 sq miles)
- 75,000 sq km in eastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec
- 18,000 sq km in northeastern New York State
Defined as the only intact north-south pathway for movement in eastern North America
The region extends from the southern boundary of Adirondack Park, in New York State, to the northern boundary of Algonquin Provincial Park, in Ontario, and encompasses the area between the two parks and a buffer zone.
At the region's centre is a geographical crossroads formed by the southwest-northeast axis of the St. Lawrence River, and the northwest-southeast axis of the Frontenac Arch. The Arch is characterized by rugged, forested granite and marble ridges alternating with deep valleys. These valleys contain lakes and a diverse system of wetland types, including swamps, marshes, beaver ponds and bogs. A2A is also the meeting point of five major forest systems. It contains species that have migrated southwest from the Atlantic coastal region, northeast from the southern Ontario Carolinian areas, southeast from the boreal forests, and northwest from the Appalachians. The area ranks second in Canada for biodiversity. (Only the small Carolinian patches in southwestern parts of Ontario have greater biodiversity.)
On the Canadian side, A2A includes the national capital city of Ottawa and the Ottawa-Gatineau Census Metropolitan Area, pop. 1,451,415, along with smaller cities, towns and hamlets.
On the U.S. side, A2A includes St. Lawrence County, pop. 111,944; Adirondack Park, pop. 130,000 (in 103 towns and villages); and many other small towns and villages.
The St. Lawrence River bisects A2A, running the length of the Canada-U.S. border and flowing 1,197 km (744 miles) from Lake Ontario into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The Ottawa River runs 1,271 km (790 miles) along the Quebec-Ontario border to the St. Lawrence River.
Other major rivers crossing the A2A region include the Bonnechere (175 km, 109 miles), Madawaska (225 km, 140 miles), Mississippi (100 km, 62 miles) and Moira (165 km, 103 miles), in Ontario, and the Indian River (75 km, 47 miles) in New York. Water flow in the majority of these large rivers has been restricted by dams installed for hydroelectric power generation.
Frontenac Arch Corridor, Parks Canada
Courtesy of St. Lawrence Islands NP plan
(click to enlarge)
A2A Geological Map
Thousand Islands, Ontario, Canada
Courtesy of Gananoque.com
(click to enlarge)