Best Educational Features at Ontario's Conservation Areas
Conservation Area: Baxter ConservationArea #2
Owned and Operated by: Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
Where: Between Manotick and Kemptville
Access: Dilworth Road
More Information: www.rvca.ca/careas/baxter/index.html
Baxter Conservation Areas offers 68 hectares of outdoor fun! Follow over five kilometres of trails through wetlands, conifer plantations, mixed forest, alder thickets, nut groves and a solar energy display. Enjoy a peaceful view of the scenic Rideau River from the trail or splash and play at the sandy beach. In addition, Baxter Conservation Area host many interpretive signs along the trails to inform visitors about the features of Baxter like the wetland environments and wildlife that are found within.
Conservation Area: Bannockburn Conservation Area
Owned and Operated by: Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority
Where: Bayfield or Brucefield
Access: 76249 Bannockburn Line
More Information: www.abca.on.ca/conservationlands.php?page=bannockburn
Early morning walks will reward you with sightings of deer, grouse and numerous songbirds. Bannockburn Conservation Area is home to six different natural communities: wet meadow, eastern white cedar, deciduous forest, old field and mixed scrub and marsh. Hunting and motorized vehicles are not permitted. Experience Bannockburn Conservation Area, near beautiful Bayfield, where you can not only see beautiful interpretive signs, but you can also download a professionally-narrated audio tour file for your MP3 player or iPod. GPS and pedometers are also available to experience nature in a new way. This is all thanks to the Friends of the Bayfield River and their funding partners who have created the Walk a Mile Trail Information Project.
Conservation Area: HR Frink Centre
Owned and Operated by: Quinte Conservation
Access: Thrasher Road
More Information: http://quinteconservation.ca/web/images/stories/camping_and_conservation_lands/conservation_lands/
The HR Frink Centre is home to 14 km of trails, the highlight of which is the 500 m Wetland Ecology Boardwalk. Interpretive signs along boardwalk outline the ecology and life of the wetland. You can see many wetland creatures and birds from the boardwalk. You may even be lucky enough to spot a Blanding’s Turtle!
Conservation Area: Eramosa Karst Conservation Area
Owned and Operated by: Hamilton Conservation Area
Where: Stoney Creek
Access: Upper Mount Albion Road
More Information: www.conservationhamilton.ca/area-information/conservation-areas/area-information/eramosa-karst
The Eramosa Karst is the Hamilton Conservation Authority's newest conservation area. It is located in the southwestern section of the Stoney Creek area of Hamilton. It extends from Highland Road to south of Rymal Road, and from Upper Mount Albion Road to Second Road West. The diversity of geological features and its central location in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, makes the Eramosa Karst one of the best sites in Ontario for education and research opportunities. Protecting the Eramosa Karst’s unique network of features will ensure that scientists, students and naturalists can continue to enjoy this natural resource. More than four kilometers of trails, boardwalks and bridges take you through escarpment forests, and meadows, unique geological formations and a beautiful natural amphitheatre. Interpretive panels throughout display facts about the area’s natural inventory and history.
Conservation Area: Mountsberg Conservation Area
Owned and Operated by: Conservation Halton
Where: 2259 Millburough Line, Campbellville
More Information: www.conservationhalton.on.ca/ShowCategory.cfm?subCatID=1416
At Mountsberg Conservation Area you will find Wildlife Walkway. This is a 1.6 km
trail that begins at the Raptor Centre where birds of prey are featured. Compare the size, hunting habits, habitats and other features of birds of prey found in Ontario. The trail passes several specially designed enclosures with hawks, falcons, eagles and owls that are non-releasable due to permanent injuries.
Conservation Area: South Huron Trail
Owned and Operated by: Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority in conjunction with Friends of The South Huron Trail
Access: MacNaughton Park in Exeter (east of Main Street at the east end of Hill Street) or Morrison Dam Conservation Area ( 71108 Morrison Line)
More Information: www.abca.on.ca/downloads/MacNaughtonMorrisonTrail.pdffor information
The MacNaughton - Morrison Trail links with Morrison Dam Conservation Area to create the 8-kilometre South Huron Trail. This trail winds through the picturesque Ausable River valley between MacNaughton Park in Exeter and Morrison Dam Conservation Area on Morrison Line. The river, trees, birds and wildlife make this an ideal setting for a nature trail. The trail passes through towering hardwood and pine forests, skirts the Ausable River and gives a bird’s-eye view of the river valley at several lookouts. It’s also one of the best places to see the area’s unique white squirrels. The trail was designed with the entire community in mind and has features for all ages. The main trail’s granular surface is easy for hikers, runners, bicycles, strollers and wheelchairs.
Friends of the South Huron Trail lead volunteer guided hikes. In addition, this trail has amazing trail markers, allowing hikers to find the location of flora and fauna based on the trail markers along the trail (e.g., 2.4 km, 2.6 km, etc.).
Conservation Area: Ganaraska Millennium Conservation Area
Owned and Operated by: Ganaraska Conservation Authority
Where: Port Hope
Access: at County Road 28 and Highway 41
More Information: www.grca.on.ca/conservation-areas-millennium.html
Ganaraska Millennium Conservation Area offers two great trails with educational features. First, there is a scenic walk along the Ganaraska River with interpretive signage highlighting everything from animals that habitat in the area, to the role of fungi; this trail also has a beautiful wetland lookout. Second, is a demonstration area trail with areas highlighting conifer thinning, small wetland, bioengineering, hardwood, an early succession naturalized area, tall grass prairie, a Carolinian planting area, backyard wildlife, a weather station, conifer plot, and a managed mixed forest area.