LEMOINE POINT CONSERVATION AREA
Picturesque Lemoine Point Conservation Area is the perfect place for a leisurely outing
Sailboats and windsurfers glide lazily by, seagulls bask on sun soaked rocks, and a surprisingly tame duck waddles past me. This is the life on the shores of Lake Ontario.
I’m here visiting my aunt and we chat as we stroll along, sharing a bag of my favorite trail mix. A Kingston native, she tells me that Lemoine Point is a favorite spot for moms to walk or jog with their little ones in strollers during the week, since the trails are quite smooth and handicapped accessible. Smiling, she also says it’s also a nice place to grab a quick lunchtime picnic with my uncle if they can both get away from work. As I look around, it’s easy to see why this property, owned by the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority and conveniently accessible from Hwy 33 or from Front Road in Kingston, is so popular. We’d passed through a lovely field of summer wildflowers as we wound our way down to the lake, and I caught sight of a beautiful monarch butterfly that obligingly paused to pose for a picture.
Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages are out in full force; kids run with their energetic golden retriever puppy, older couples smile and greet us pleasantly, young lovers walk hand in hand. But, with a full 11 kilometers of trails ready to be explored, there’s no need to feel crowded. The atmosphere is still quiet and relaxed, and as we pass through some hushed sections of the forest carpeted in lush ferns, we have the place all to ourselves.
It’s hard to believe that this little oasis is so close to the city. Away from the traffic and the bustle of people in a hurry, we explore one tranquil landscape after another. We take a meandering trail along the lake that is punctuated with benches to rest your legs and scenic lookout points to feast your eyes. The wooded shoreline protected here stretches over 2 500 meters along Lake Ontario, the large size and public accessibility of which make it a rarity in the region. The steady beat of the waves rushing up the shore then sighing back into themselves is a soothing sound, and I pause to listen, letting the tension drop from my shoulders.
We pass though some grand old forests, craning our necks to see how far up the trunks of the ancient grandfather trees stretch. Their green canopies cool the afternoon sun, and we hear birds calling from above. Another of my favorite spots along the trail is the red oak plantation, a project of the Friends of Lemoine Point. This volunteer organization is working to reestablish this once abundant tree species. Their project is well underway and they have plans to continue planting 300-500 species per year. Some other projects of the Friends of Lemoine Point include a heritage forest demonstration site and a native plant nursery. Their work is largely accomplished through public donations and volunteer labour. Donations can be made in appreciation or support of Lemoine Point, to remember someone, or to celebrate a special event.
Coming out of the forest, there’s also a stone beach at the north end of the conservation area. Here you can take a quick dip to cool off after exploring the trails, or come to spend a lazy afternoon lounging in the sun.
Drinking in all of the pretty and diverse scenery, I’ve hardly noticed how far we’ve walked and rather surprised to find myself almost back at the parking lot. As we pull out, on our way back to city life, I think about my friend the duck, the photogenic butterfly, and the deep green calm in the forest. I sit back, and wonder what new enchantments Lemoine Point will hold for me on my next visit.
Melissa Rodgers is a student at Carleton University. Her passions include history, cooking, reading, and the great outdoors.