November 8, 2018 – A partnership between Fleming College and Kawartha Conservation has resulted in the reopening and creation of new trails at Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area.
“This is a great project that has allowed us to re-open southern portions of the trail system while expanding and creating new trails for people to enjoy,” explained Conservation Areas Technician Ben Teskey.
Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area is a valuable natural resource and a beautiful place to explore. The 125 hectare (308 acre) property is situated on the Pigeon River partially within the Oak Ridges Moraine and is important for the many cold water seeps and springs that exist here. Water from the seeps and springs comes from the high grounds of the Moraine and forms the headwaters of the Pigeon River.
For two days in early November, staff from Kawartha Conservation were joined by 43 students in the Fleming College Outdoor Adventure Skills program, as well as two Fleming technicians and an instructor to reopen and reroute a section of the Pigeon River trail system.
“The section we worked on is the south portion of the Pigeon River Trail,” said Teskey. “The reopened and enhanced trail system is approximately 700 meters long, with 200 meters of existing trail reopened and 500 meters of new trail developed.”
As part of their course and partnership, students helped to choose the new route, taking into consideration slope, drainage, scenery and hazards, as well as clearing tripping hazards such as rocks, routes, and logs, pruning trees and shrubs from the side of the trail, and finally scraping the trail with trail rakes.
“This is a great example of how partnerships with our post-secondary institutions work to strengthen and benefit not only the students but also the entire community,” said Teskey. “The public and park users will enjoy and benefit from the newly re-opened and expanded trail network.
“This would not have been possible without the great work of the students from Fleming College and the partnership that helped make this a reality,” he added.
The cold, clean waters of the river within the Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area support sensitive brook trout, as well minnows and creek chub also inhabit the waters, and white tailed deer, mink, muskrat, and beaver share the land.
Birders visiting the conservation area will enjoy woodcock, hermit thrush and warbler sightings, and the ruffed grouse can be heard drumming through the dense forests.
The marsh boardwalk is a highlight of the park. Water milfoil, turtlehead, asters, cattails, and arrowhead all thrive along the length of the walkway, while frogs, salamanders, turtles, and other water loving creatures also enjoy the marsh.
“Pigeon River Headwaters is really a special place to enjoy and explore and a great example of the diversity we have through the Kawartha watershed and in our conservation areas,” said Teskey.