’50 in 50′: Building a Land Base of Our Natural Heritage (1969)

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50in50

Lower Trent Conservation is celebrating its 50th anniversary! To celebrate this milestone, we will be releasing a ’50 in 50′ historical blog series throughout the year – 50 articles highlighting some of the achievements, milestones and events of the past 50 years.

The conservation movement in Ontario began in the 1940’s in response to droughts, floods and erosion, and resulted in the passing of the Conservation Authorities Act in 1946. In 1954, Hurricane Hazel hit southern Ontario, resulting in 81 deaths and causing $100 million in damages. That same year, a Federal Commission reviewing the aftermath of the flood confirmed the merit of protecting floodplain lands from future development, while still permitting their use for recreational purposes. The revised Conservation Authorities Act of 1954 permitted any lands (floodplains, wetlands, headwaters, forests) to be purchased for conservation purposes. Public use of these lands for outdoor recreation was an integral part of the development and management directives in the legislation.

During the early years of Lower Trent Conservation, the founders moved quickly to purchase a number of environmentally significant properties. Land acquisition was a reason to exist; it demonstrated to the people of the watershed that the newly established Conservation Authority was serious about the business of conservation.

Glen Miller Conservation Area (sign)
First Conservation Area – 1969

In 1969, a long, narrow strip of shoreline along the Trent River in the hamlet of Glen Miller was leased from the Federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to create the first Conservation Area. Due to its small size, it was not considered that Glen Miller Conservation Area would attract people from great distances as would Provincial Parks in the area, but it would provide direct access to the Trent River.

Over the next 10 years, 11 additional properties were acquired to fulfill conservation objectives such as flood and erosion protection, natural resource protection, or cultural heritage preservation. Today, Lower Trent Conservation owns 17 properties totalling over 1,500 hectares (3,750 acres). These forests, valleys, shorelands, meadows, and wetlands are part of a regional system of protected landscapes that depict the natural diversity of the watershed region.

Glen Miller - picnic shelter
New Picnic Shelter for Glen Miller Conservation Area

Lower Trent Conservation’s properties also offer a wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities ranging from hiking, mountain biking, fishing, cross-country skiing, picnicking, canoeing, and more to residents and visitors to the area. Ranging in size from small parkettes like Glen Miller Conservation Area to over 650 hectares, all are open to the public from sunrise to sunset. There are no admission fees to any of the properties although donation boxes are located at several locations to assist us with ongoing maintenance requirements.

Below is a list of the Conservation Lands owned and managed by Lower Trent Conservation including initial acquisition dates as well as subsequent property additions:

  • Glen Miller Conservation Area – 1969, 1984
  • Proctor Park Conservation Area – 1970
  • King’s Mill Conservation Area – 1970, 2001
  • Warkworth Conservation Area – 1971, 1972, 1981
  • Sager Conservation Area – 1971
  • Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area – 1971, 1973, 1996
  • Keating- Hoards Natural Habitat Area – 1971, 1975, 1976
  • Trenton Greenbelt Conservation Area – 1972-1976, 1978-1982
  • Seymour Conservation Area – 1973
  • Haldimand Conservation Area – 1974, 1980
  • Trenton Escarpment Natural Habitat Area – 1977
  • Barnum House Creek Natural Habitat Area – 1978, 1980
  • Murray Marsh Natural Habitat Area – 1986, 1987, 1989
  • Alderville Woods Natural Habitat Area – 2001
  • Douglas Spring Natural Habitat Area – 2002
  • Bleasdell Boulder Conservation Area – 2005
  • Burnley Creek Natural Habitat Area – 2006

“I would argue that we do not need just the great public wildernesses, but millions of small private or semi-private ones. Every farm should have one; wildernesses can occupy corners of factory grounds and city lots – places where nature is given a free hand, where no human work is done, where people go only as guests. These places function, I think, whether we intend them to or not, as sacred groves – places we respect and leave alone, not because we understand what goes on there, but because we do not.“

Wendell Berry

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