LAKEHURST, Ontario — Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) is proud to announce the purchase of its largest conservation property in the charitable organization’s 22-year history, which was secured with financial support received from the Province of Ontario’s Greenlands Conservation Partnership.
KLT’s Hammer Family Nature Preserve comprises 1,400 acres of forests, wetlands, fields, and natural shoreline along Pigeon Lake. The preservation of this property ensures the protection of its important ecological values, maintains vital natural connectivity in the region, and provides future opportunities for public access and nature connection.
“Kawartha Land Trust is extremely grateful for the government funding partners and private donors who made this ambitious project possible,” said John Kintare, Executive Director, Kawartha Land Trust. “The protection of this natural gem of the Kawarthas is an important investment in nature, in the Kawarthas, and Ontario at large. It was only through our strong partnerships that we were able to achieve such a positive conservation outcome.”
The protection of KLT’s Hammer Family Nature Preserve was made possible in part through the support of a $2.9-million investment from the Province of Ontario’s Greenlands Conservation Partnership. The $38-million program helps conserve ecologically important natural areas and protect wetlands, grasslands, and forests that help mitigate the effects of climate change.
“Today’s announcement marks one of the largest non-profit conservation projects in the Kawarthas and I am very proud of Ontario’s contribution through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership program,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “By working alongside strong conservation leaders, we have been able to leverage public and private funds to protect ecologically important natural areas for generations to come.”
“Today’s investment of $2.9 million demonstrates the Ontario Government’s commitment to preserving our ecosystems across all of Peterborough-Kawartha,” said Dave Smith, MPP for Peterborough-Kawartha. “I want to thank Kawartha Land Trust for stepping forward and all the advocacy work and experience that they have in ensuring that our natural heritage and ecosystems are preserved for future generations. Kudos to Kawartha Land Trust for all they do and thank you for continuing to advocate for our environment this way,” added MPP Smith.
“Our government is proud to support the Kawartha Land Trust in their monumental conservation efforts,” said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. “Keeping this land safe helps protect its important natural features, safeguard crucial habitats, and will allow for people to connect with nature now and in the future.”
“The Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) congratulates Kawartha Land Trust on protecting the amazing Hammer Family Nature Preserve,” said Alison Howson, Executive Director, OLTA. “Since 2020, OLTA has been supporting Greenlands partners like Kawartha Land Trust to secure new properties that conserve sensitive ecosystems. The Greenlands Conservation Partnership protects habitats for many species at risk and has made significant increases in the availability of green spaces for the people of Ontario to enjoy.”
Vital funding for this project was also received from the Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF) and private donors. The fund helps conserve, restore, and enhance the management of ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, and grasslands, in order to help tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Three-quarters of KLT’s Hammer Family Nature Preserve is home to tracts of forests and wetlands. The preservation of this unique property will ensure the vital ecological services it provides — clean air, clean water, and mitigating the effects of climate change — will be protected for current and future generations.
“The support and financial investments from the Province of Ontario, Government of Canada, and private donors, has resulted in the creation of a regional and provincial community asset,” said Kintare. “This conservation outcome would also not have been possible without the countless contributions of KLT’s dedicated community of volunteers, donors, partners, and supporters throughout our 22-year history. For that, I thank each and every one of you.”
Kawartha Land Trust is currently developing a comprehensive community consultation plan to consult local stakeholders, Williams Treaties First Nations, and community partners to inform future stewardship plans, partnerships, and public access to the property, all while maintaining and strengthening the ecological values of KLT’s newest and largest nature reserve.
The organization is also working on a public fundraising campaign to allow for the ongoing stewardship of the property, including habitat enhancement and restoration, species at risk surveys, property maintenance and monitoring, future trail maintenance, and other actions as determined through the community consultation process.
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Main photo: From February 12, 2024, announcement at Kawartha Land Trust’s new Hammer Family Nature Preserve in Lakehurst, Ontario: (L-R) Chief Keith Knott, Curve Lake First Nation; Dave Smith, MPP, Peterborough-Kawartha; Hon. Andrea Khanjin, Minister of Environment, Conservation, and Parks; Mike Hendren, Senior Advisor to the Ontario Conservation Community, The Schad Foundation; John Kintare, Executive Director, Kawartha Land Trust; Paul Downs, Chair of the Board, Kawartha Land Trust; Laurie Scott, MPP, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock; Mayor Terry Lambshead, Municipality of Trent Lakes. (Photo: Stephanie Lake for Kawartha Land Trust)