BARRY’S BAY – You have heard of the Jewel of the Nile. How about the Gem of the North? This year marks the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Algonquin Park. The first provincial park has become the destination not only for Canadian enthusiasts, but also international tourists and campers alike. Camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, backcountry peace and solitude – the mere thought of this sends most of us off into a zen-like state. Filled with the calming sounds of nature and indescribable beauty, Algonquin Park offers all this and more – and it’s just down the road. But how did this wondrous place come to be? Algonquin Park is situated in an area of land called the Algonquin Dome, an area between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa Valley. This area gives rise to 24 drainage systems, 18 of which are within Algonquin Park. Within this area are hundreds of tiny lakes as well as spring marshes, all of which contribute to the headwaters of several major rivers of pure water flowing off the Dome, including the Madawaska, the Bonnechere, the York, the Magnetawan, and the Petawawa. The area was formed thousands of years ago by the earth’s tectonic activity, which produced troughs of land that formed between two faults in the earth’s crust. The troughs provided drainage paths for the melting glaciers. As well as the pristine rivers, the land formations give rise to spectacular cliffs with many remote areas remaining to this day, for the most part, in the same state as they were when first formed. To read the full story, pick up a copy of the August 29, 2018 Valley Gazette.