LOCHLIN ESKER / WETLANDS…. Historical Summary
In 1891, Mr. Robert Cook obtained this property from the Canada Land and Immigration Co. as a free grant; reserved to the Crown were all White Pine trees. Upon Robert’s death his widow continued to live here and a son, Frank Leaver Cook assumed title. After an interval of several other owners, in 1971 the property was purchased by the present owners, Donald and Mary Wright, who also farmed until 1977 when the property was focused upon lumber milling and retail under the title LOCHLIN LUMBER. Since 1997, the primary goal for the property has been out-doors education.
The present owners were always well aware of the aggregate potential resident in the esker formation; however, it was not until 1998 that hiking trails became fully usable, as an alternate application to the aggregate industry. The installation of planking (1998) which allowed circuit access and conveyance over wetlands was of major importance.
In 2004, when aggregate mining accelerated at both the north pit on Lochlin Road and a newer pit at the south limit of the esker, it was clear that efforts were necessary to counter the likelihood of further expansion. It was Environment Haliburton which led the charge to oppose. In particular, President Heather Ross and biologist Paul Heaven were central.
In 2006 biologists from NHIC (Natural Heritage Information Center), MNR, Peterborough identified some 242 species of flora. ..some of which were either endangered or rare. It was their work which identified the wetlands as PSW (Provincially Significant Wetlands). In addition, some months later, further investigation specific to the “esker and its outwash areas” determined that ANSI status (Area of Natural and Scientific Interest) applies as of 2015 with specific regard to the remaining esker. While such status certainly does not confer immunity to further destruction, at least the proponents are required to hire “expert” opinion prior to expansion development.
Present plans focus upon expansion of an increasing base for on-going educational efforts: Haliburton Wee Care, Geography (Brock University), Fleming College (several disciplines), Snowshoe club, cottagers and small groups who value out-of-doors experiences. As of 2016, over 300 students accessed and enjoyed this facility, the largest number of visitors for a single year.
Additional improvements are also ongoing for the up-grade and repair of wetlands walkways; climbing ropes, for safety and replacements as needed.
To arrange a tour/hike date, you may email me at feneskerwright at gmail.com.
HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU!