New trail ready to welcome hikers to Pearson Township Wetland
Hiking loop the result of one person’s 20-year dream to showcase local nature
A new 5.7-kilometre hiking trail in northwestern Ontario will allow visitors to take in the sights and sounds of the Pearson Township Wetland. This moderate hike, located about 40 kilometres southwest of Thunder Bay, loops through Crown land that overlooks the wetland.
The hike starts at a trailhead off Highway 597, just south of the Moore’s Creek bridge. Here, the well-marked trail climbs through forest to reveal a loop on top of the mesa. From there, hikers can check out four viewpoints that overlook the wetland. The trail was conceived of by former Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) program director Gary Davies more than 20 years ago.
“My hope was to create a trail that would provide hikers with a birds-eye view of the spectacular Pearson Township Wetland,” says Gary. “This opportunity is meant to both provide a great hike with all the benefits that it entails and to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of wetlands to local environments, particularly in the context of climate change.”
Gary's hope remains to educate the public about the wetland. Interpretive signs along the trail explain the importance of wetlands like the Provincially Significant Pearson Township Wetland and highlight some species visitors may encounter along the trail, such as club moss and ruffed grouse.
The Pearson Township Wetland is part of the headwaters of the Pine River and contains three wetland types: fen, swamp and marsh. Wetlands provide many benefits to the environment, including preventing flood damage (by holding water and releasing it slowly like a sponge), improving water quality (by acting like a big filter) and providing important habitat for wildlife.
In collaboration with NCC, several volunteers, including Gary and Karen Davies and Dr. Edward Shields, contributed a staggering 150 volunteer hours to plan and construct the trail and install interpretive and wayfinding signage.
NCC protects more than 130 hectares of the Pearson Township Wetland, a provincially significant wetland that offers critical nesting habitat to species such as sandhill crane and Connecticut warbler. When walking the trail, visitors may spot species such as black bear, moose, North American river otter and American redstart.
NCC encourages hikers to wear bug repellant and to be tick-aware when they visit the Pearson Township Wetland. There are no washrooms, water or garbage amenities on-site, so visitors are asked to please pack out their garbage.
Thank you to the following individuals and organizations who have contributed generously to this project: Weston Family Foundation, Cameron and Janet Clark, Gary and Karen Davies, Dr. Edward Shields, Thunder Bay Community Foundation and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. We seek solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation.
As a trusted partner, we work with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our most important natural areas. Since 1962, we have brought Canadians together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares.
NCC is a registered charity. With nature, we build a thriving world.
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