In recognition of International Trails Day, Kawartha Land Trust celebrated a new partnership with Trent Severn Waterway – Parks Canada (TSW) and the Municipality of Trent Lakes with the grand opening of a 7.5 km trail network on the John Earle Chase Memorial Park, near Gannon Narrows.
The John Earle Chase Memorial Park is a 400 acre site that was farmed by successive members of the Chase family. Ralph and Evelyn Chase, the last two family members who lived on the property donated the land to TSW in 1995. Nephews John Chase and Geoff Chase travelled from Ottawa and Kingston to share in the celebration.
Although the property was donated nearly 20 years ago, managing a conservation site such as this is beyond the core mandate of TSW and as a result of not having the resources to manage this property, a number of challenges, running contrary to the intent of the donation have occurred. Some of the issues include illegal dumping, tree cutting, vandalism and abuse to the conservation features of the property. As well, the conservation and recreational values of the site are far from being maximized. Experts have identified 12 Species-at-Risk on this property.
“We are really excited about this partnership,” said Dwight Blythe, Manager, Finance and Administration, TSW. “It’s a beautiful property and it’s important that we honour the wishes of the Chase family. Having the right partners, Kawartha Land Trust and Municipality of Trent Lakes is key to ensuring the property can be enjoyed by the community and cared for in the way it should be,” continued Blythe.
The Buckhorn Trails Association (BTA) brought the Park to the attention of the community over two years ago and even hosted a community walk with Community Care. As time passed, interest in helping to upgrade the property and care for it spread to the Kawartha Land Trust.
The TSW, municipality, BTA and KLT have been meeting over the past year to discuss how to improve the conditions and care of the property long term. Among the questions discussed are what is the best management structure and resources required.
“Ultimately, a Stewardship Fund, as with KLT’s Big (Boyd/Chiminis) Island and other KLT properties will need to be established in order to ensure long term quality and permanence for the site,” said Tara King, Development Coordinator, KLT.
Based on the activities required long term and the fair market value of the property, it is estimated that an amount between $500K – $1M will need to be raised as a ‘Stewardship Fund’ and the strategy to raise these funds is to engage private individuals, Foundations and government sources.
Mike Boysen presented KLT with a donation in memory of his father to aid in the support of KLT’s conservation efforts throughout the Kawarthas, such as caring for the Chase Park.
Over the past few weeks volunteers have contributed over 500 hours to improve the trails, with new markers and signage; plant trees, remove garbage, debris and invasive species; mend fences and visit neighbouring residents.
With beautiful views overlooking Pigeon Lake, mature maple forests and wetlands bursting with life, this property is too beautiful not to share and open to the public to enjoy!
To make a donation to Kawartha Land Trust: Click: Donate Online to KLT or Call 705-743-5599.
We hope you enjoy this series of videos and photos from the celebration!
Posted June 4, 2018.