“I always notice that when I walk into the woods it’s immediately cooler and the air smells very fresh and earthy.”
From Tanya Clark’s office window, the woods are very close. In fact, Clark, who is the development coordinator at The Couchiching Conservancy, feels fortunate to work surrounded by the silence of the Grant’s Woods forest – save for the chatter of chipmunks and scurrying of squirrels through the underbrush.
Grant’s Woods is one of 14 properties open to the public for hiking and exploring. Located on Division Road West in Severn Township, it is the most popular of the properties. It could be the fact that the many trails and bridges that make it easy to trek through the 52-acre site. It’s also home to countless animals and birds.
Bill Grant donated the property to The Couchiching Conservancy in 2002 because he wanted the public to enjoy it as much as he and his family had. Since then, tens of thousands of people have explored the forest and there have been many more repeat visits.
Having just celebrated its 25th year, The Couchiching Conservancy is involved with a total of 48 properties through either direct ownership or conservation easements. It also manages and protects lands through partnerships with organizations such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ontario Parks.
Of its 14 properties with trails, seven are right here in Lake Country. While Grant’s Woods is popular, the Alexander Hope Smith property, located just outside of Washago, is a mixed-forest nirvana with wetlands and Boyd’s Creek. You can walk the property or launch your canoe into the nearby Green River and paddle to Boyd’s Creek where turtles, beavers and waterfowl are common sights. Binoculars and cameras are a must!
“It’s a good opportunity for people to get to know the properties we protect and learn about some species that are in our region and some of the environmental challenges that we are all facing together,” says Clark.
For those who are interested in exploring as many of The Couchiching Conservancy properties as they can, to access trail maps digitally, visit www.couchichingconserv.ca. Click here for Trail Guidelines during COVID-19.
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