Landform Survey of Ferris Provincial Park *

Ferris Provincial park is located in an area which has been glaciated at least four times during the last million years, known to geologists as the Pleistocene Period. The Park, although situated within the Peterborough Drumlin Field, a region of some 1,750 square miles and containing about 3,000 oval-shaped hills called drumlins, is also on the Trent River, and embayment of post-glacial Iroquois which formed in the present Lake Ontario basin. The back flooding of the Trent by Lake Iroquois produced distinct features of wave action, such as bluffs and beaches north of Campbellford, and the Napanee Clay Plain. If one considers other glacial features, such as the Oak Ridges moraine, nearby eskers, and the exposed Trenton limestone beds of Palaeozoic origin, the resultant topography can certainty be considered, "…an example of the youthful, deranged type of drainage resulting from Pleistocene accidents".

South of the Precambrian Shield is a zone of sedimentary rocks which are the foundation strata for all of southern Ontario, south of a line running from Kingston to Georgian Bay, which includes the Ferris Park area.

Ferris Provincial Park is situated on the Trent River which locally separates the Peterborough Drumlin Field from a related feature, the Iroquois Plain. The dominant features in the former are the drumlin, esker and moraine complexes, and in the latter the sand and clay plain and shorecliff features. Along the Trent River, the Palaeozoic limestone plain is exposed.

During late Pleistocene times, circa 65,000 years B.P., to about 11,000 years ago, huge masses of ice up to a mile in thickness formed in the Labrador-Ungava, Central Baffin Island and Hudson Bay areas, spread southward, and merged to conquer almost all of Canada. Such a mass exerted a tremendous force on the earth over which it passed. Glaciers thus depressed the earth's surface and scoured sill, rock and vegetation, transporting it from one area to another where it was deposited. Material may either be deposited in an unintegrated fashion, as with drumlins and moraines, or washed and sorted by glacial meltwater into well-defined layers or strata, as with eskers, kames, beaches, shorecliffs and out-wash formations. Both varieties of formation may be seen in the vicinity of Ferris Provincial Park.

The topography of the area around Ferris Provincial park contains a variety of landforms of glacial origin, plus several outcrops of Trenton limestone. The first and foremost feature is uncontestedly the drumlin.

Ferris Park is situated on the Trent River, directly south of the town limits of Campbellford. Though it's topography is typical of much of the Peterborough Drumlin Field, the land just across the river is a part of the Iroquois plain.

Most Drumlins in the region are oriented in a north-east to south-west. alignment representing the direction of ice flow. The four drumlins which are mostly within the park boundary are oriented about 10 degrees west of south.

Glacial cover in the park varies from being absent where Trenton limestone outcrops along the Trent River, to about 150 feet at the highest drumlin in the north-west part of the park. The drumlins contain highly calcareous till, with quantities of angular limestone and some glacial "erratics" of Precambrian origin.

The topographic interval of the park is about 150 feet rising from about 500 feet at exposed bedrock, to about 650 feet atop the highest drumlin. The highest elevations are found in the north-west to south-east. Slopes run steeply westward to the Trent River. A limestone plain borders the east flank of the Trent; wide in the south-west, but becoming progressively narrower toward the north-west corner. Along the Trent River, the limestone cliff rises from only 4 feet in the south-west corner to a steep drop of 40 feet in the north-west.

Between and beyond the four drumlins are slopes and low hills of glacial till. Relatively flat land along the river merges with these hills to produce a rolling topography which is sometimes quite steep. The four drumlins in the park are well formed, being one-half mile or more in length, one-fifth to one-third mile wide and 50 to 150 feet in height.  

* Excerpts from Landform Survey of Ferris Provincial Park submitted by David Bean. District Researcher, Lindsay Forest District. December 6,1972

Thank you to John Knox for supplying this information.