McGeachie conservation area grand opening Sat., Oct. 1 near Steenburg Lake

September 28, 2011
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A map of the McGeachie Trails conservation area along Steenburg Lake.

COE HILL – A ribbon cutting is planned for the grand opening of the McGeachie Conservation Area near Steenburg Lake on Sat., Oct 1. at 10 a.m.

To get there, follow Highway 62 to North Steenburg Lake Road (Trudy’s Store), then drive west 1.4 kilometres, passing 911 number 302 (the century old “Drinkwater” cabin) and continuing a total of 1.9 Kilometres to the sign “McGeachie Conservation Area – Hiking Trails.

Turn right into the parking area. (If you get to the bridge, you have gone too far.)

The McGeachie property was donated to Crowe Valley Conservation Authority by the McGeachie family. It comprises just about 500 acres of forest and swamp land, and includes two creeks, with beaver dams and other ponds.

Wollaston Township Coun. Brent Goodwin passes along the following information about the new public nature area:

Records suggest that the property has not been logged since the original logging of pine in the 1870s, and recent checks have indicated many trees that are at least 100 years old. Because of the local relief on the property there are uplands with stands of oak, maple and basswood, intermixed with some birch, beech and ash. In the lower lands there are old stands of cedar and hemlock with the usual mix of tamarack and balsam. Along the creeks there are many varieties of shrubs and herbs, with wild flowers almost everywhere.

Birds and animals are in evidence throughout the property. Among the many animals are deer and moose, coyote, otter, with the occasional visit by North Hastings Elk.

The trail system is laid out in loops which allow hikers and skiers to choose the length and difficulty that suits their individual preferences. At present there is approximately 8 kilometres of marked trails.

Please note that all Motorized Vehicles are prohibited, but cyclists are welcome. There are two parking areas both of which are accessible off North Steenburg Lake Road about one kilometre west of Trudy’s store and gas on Highway 62 South.

The first parking area allows access to the century old cabin which is rented to the public by Crowe Valley Conservation, and is the start of the original trail system established by Jack McGeachie many years ago. This is a short and fairly level loop that is a good starter for a family outing. The second parking area is marked with a sign “McGeachie Conservation Area Hiking Trails” at the road.

This is the entrance to the much larger and more challenging portion of the trail system. We suggest good quality footwear for hikers, especially during the winter and spring, when you will probably encounter some deep snow and wet or muddy spots in the trail. During the winter, snow shoes are an excellent way to get around.

 

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