Bark Lake is a uniquely beautiful lake with a shoreline full of maple, beech, birch and pine trees, as well as spectacular cliffs.
It has deep, clear, cold water, making it home to a great variety of fish, such as lake trout, small-mouth bass, pickerel and yellow perch. Lake trout are the most popular with anglers and it’s not uncommon to hear boasts about catching a 25-pound “laker.”
An ancient lake, Bark Lake was formed in the Precambrian Era, more than 500 million years ago. It is part of the headwaters of the Madawaska River system, which spans from Source Lake in Algonquin Park to the town of Arnprior where it joins up with the Ottawa River.
History of the area
Although little is known about the history of the Madawaska River prior to 1800, it would have been an ideal transportation route for Aboriginal people and Europeans working in the fur trade.
By the early 1800s, however, the British navy regarded Canada as a new source of lumber for its ships – and the white pine that grew along the Madawaska could easily be floated down stream to the Ottawa River and then on to the St. Lawrence to be transported by boat to England.
As a result, logging companies started to appear in the area and dams were built on the main reservoirs – such as Bark Lake – to control water levels and speed to transport logs.
When logging gradually declined on the Madawaska in the 1920s, hydroelectricity took over as the main industry.
The Birth of Little Bark Bay
You could say World War II was responsible for the birth of Little Bark Bay. According to Ontario Power Generation, which was then known as Ontario Hydro, the demand for energy spiked as a result of the war. To meet the demand, in 1942 the dam at Bark Lake was re-modeled to moderate flows in the river and to raise the level of the lake by some 25 feet to create a larger storage reservoir.
As a result, the controlled flooding expanded Bark Lake and Little Bark Bay was created. To this day, the dam lowers the levels of Bark Lake in the winter to provide room for water run-off in the spring.
You can see the difference between the size of the new Bark Lake Dam that was constructed in 1942 and the old one. We are grateful for this new dam and the birth of Bark Lake waterfront lots.