McKim-Garsonnin (Ballyduff Trails)
Donor:Ralph McKim and Jean Garsonnin
Accessible to Public:Yes
Ballyduff Trails wind through the 260 acres of the McKim-Garsonnin property now protected through a conservation agreement with the Kawartha Land Trust. Although the property remains private we welcome groups and families to enjoy our trails for nature walks or, in the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. We simply ask that you:
- Make arrangements with us first (see contact below)
- Stay on the marked trails
- Avoid littering
- Assume full responsibility for your own safety and well-being
- Enjoy yourself
The property is on the Oak Ridges Moraine and contains many of the features of that glacially-formed terrain: rolling hills, sand deposits, a ridge of rocks (esker) left behind by an ancient river and, not least, a wetland which is the source of an ever-bearing stream feeding into the Kawartha lakes system.
In the mid-19th century the land was settled by Europeans and cleared for subsistence farming. Remnants of old root fences and rock piles can still be found and the foundation of the old homestead is located in a thick stand of black locusts and lilacs. In later years, after tilling of the soil was abandoned, the land was used for grazing cattle resulting in some woodlot deterioration and land erosion.
We purchased the property in 1986 and built our squared-log home on the high ridge to the west several years later. It has become our mission to restore, as far as we are able, the ecological integrity of this land and make it available for the enjoyment of others now and in the future. To that end we are:
- Managing our forests according to a registered plan
- Planting white pine and red oak annually ( over 12,000 seedlings to date)
- Protecting our wetland (la source)
- Establishing a native (tall grass) prairie
- Creating wildlife habitat
- Controlling invasive species
- Maintaining nature trails for our own enjoyment – and yours
In 2011 we signed a Conservation Easement Agreement with the Kawartha Land Trust to ensure the protection of this land we love – in perpetuity.
For now it’s ours and yours to care for and enjoy!
Ralph McKim & Jean Garsonnin
Visiting the Ballyduff Trails:
- Please see the map below.
- Park on property in fair weather months – park on road near gate in winter months.