Close this search box.

Jeffrey Cowan Forest Preserve Celebration

Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve Celebration

On Saturday, July 21, 2018 approximately 75 guests gathered on the north shore of Stony Lake in celebration of several incredible gifts of the late Norman Cowan to Kawartha Land Trust including the Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve and East Syndicate Island.

The Jeffrey-Cowan site includes 146 acres of protected land with scenic views, world class trails, and 1,300 feet of significant shoreline. The property is at the eastern extent of KLT’s Stony Lake Trails, a 10-km trail network on the north shore of Stony Lake.

KLT volunteers: Alec Gowland (Trustee), Don Gillespie (Treasurer), John McWilliams (Vice Chair), along with Mike Hendren (Executive Director)
Participants of a guided walk

For over half a century, these properties were cared for by Mr. Cowan and prior owners, among them the Jeffrey and Northey families.  There is no question these lands were also frequented by Indigenous people since time immemorial.  The properties have now entered into a new chapter as part of a portfolio of protected conservation lands with KLT.

A fawn swam over from a neighbouring island to join the celebration!

In 2005, Mr. Cowan had placed a conservation easement agreement (CEA) on East Syndicate Island that has been held by KLT and was registered with the Environment Canada Ecological Gifts Program.  A CEA protects the natural conservation values while continuing to allow private ownership of the land.

Mr. Cowan left ownership of the Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve but also the remaining ‘title’ of East Syndicate Island, and a generous cash donation to KLT through his final estate. The cash donation will go toward KLT’s Land Stewardship Fund that ensures we can responsibly care for our protected properties in perpetuity.

This plaque can be found next to one remembering the late Agnes Jeffrey on the Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve.

A new dock had been installed just a few days before the event providing a safer and more accessible landing spot for people arriving to the trails by boat. Others parked in the parking lot at 105 Reids Road or at 81 Fire Route 10 and made their way to the water by way of the Stony Lake Trails ‘Red’ trail.

Thanks to our generous donors and volunteers, we have a new dock to provide easier access to the trails

Friends of Norman shared stories emphasizing his love and history of care for the property. He was someone who loved sharing his trails with others so they too could enjoy his little piece of paradise.

Joan & Arthur Huycke

“Norman caught onto the idea of protecting his property and he decided that he would leave it to KLT in his will. And that was an incredible generous act, a vision of the future and a recognition of the growth and maturity of Kawartha Land Trust and all that it is doing. It’s a real legacy for our future, for the future of nature and all our grandchildren and generations to come,” Ian Attridge.

“One of the most wonderful things about our life at Stony Lake was meeting Norman Cowan. We’ve walked this walk religiously and every time we walk it, we’ve seen something different. He was an environmentalist, people were developing all around and Norman said, “No, this is going to stay for the residents of Stony Lake to enjoy”. We should all say thank you to Norman for his foresight,” Arthur and Joan Huycke.

“Norman spent all day out on the trails, gravelling his trails or cutting wood. That’s what he did almost every day. He was probably the most content human being I’ve ever known. Just relished every day and you could feel his smile on the phone when he’d be out chopping wood. He was a very warm and kind man. He loved this place, this was home,” Carol Ingleton.

Following the remarks, guests were invited to participate in a guided walk to learn about the features that makes this property special and why it is an important piece in the puzzle to ensure that the Kawartha Region is characterized by natural spaces and connections that support healthy and representative ecosystems and landscapes.

You may be wondering, “What’s next for this property?”

You’re invited to respectfully use the Stony Lake Trails in a passive manner (walking, cross-country skiing, and/or snowshoeing) as many of you have already done in the past, while respecting the natural area and the wildlife who call this home.   We are not encouraging public access at this time on East Syndicate Island and if you have an interest in visiting the site, please contact us in advance.

Over the past few months volunteers have been and will continue to be on site, maintaining the trails and doing general cleanup of the property. Management plans for both properties are also being developed.

We will also be engaging in further fundraising activities to increase our stewardship fund as a result of these new properties and their management costs.  When protecting a new property, KLT brings together donors of land, money and time (volunteers) to ensure a bright future for each of these sites.

Our efforts to raise $250,000 toward our stewardship fund have received a kick start, thanks to the generosity of the Huycke Family, and an anonymous donor who has committed a ‘matching gift’ to match all donations following the celebration up to $3,500.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated team of volunteers! Their continued support helps to make events like this a success!

Thank you to our donors of land, money and time, without you this work would not be possible!

The KLT Team

Keegan McKitterick, KLT Land Conservation Technician, points out interesting trail vegetation
Thom Unrau, Land Stewardship Coordinator, leads guided walk through the forest
An awesome group of volunteers attending one of our many clean-up events leading up to the event.
KLT Staff and volunteers gather on the new dock for a group photo following the celebration.
A perfect rest spot on the Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve to enjoy the beautiful view of Stony Lake (Red Trail, Stony Lake Trails)

Download the Stony Lake Trails Map

Posted July 23, 2018.

Skip to content