Fred & Pearl Barry Wetland Reserve

The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust has acquired its fourth nature reserve – a wetland complex near South Lake.

Photo by Paul Heaven

The Fred & Pearl Barry Wetland Reserve is a 100-acre property, which is home to many important species and habitats, strengthens a block of nearby protected areas, which include the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park, Snowdon Park and adjoining Crown land.

The property was given to the Land Trust by Dennis Barry through Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides tax incentives to people who wish to donate ecologically important land for future protection.

Dennis and his wife, Margaret Carney, are keen birdwatchers who run the local Christmas Bird Count. They are also heavily involved in the Thickson’s Woods Land Trust, which is dedicated to protecting an area of old growth White Pines on the edge of Lake Ontario near Whitby.

“Margaret and I feel it is critically important to ensure long-term protection for the wetland complex…” said Barry. “We feel that the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust is in the best position to bring this about.”

The Land Trust already protects three other nature reserves in Haliburton County: Norah’s Island, a much-loved island on Kennisis Lake; Dahl Forest, a 500-acre property straddling the Burnt River near Gelert; and Smith Forest, near Black Lake, north-east of Haliburton Village.

Pitcher Plant
Photo by Paul Heaven

“We are delighted that Dennis Barry has donated this land to us,” said Sheila Ziman, former Chair, Haliburton Highlands Land Trust. “Our major concern is that this important wetland habitat be protected in perpetuity. Part of this extensive wetland complex is on surrounding Crown land, so having the Land Trust own the heart of the wetland should help ensure that surrounding areas are protected as well.”

Beavers have occupied the wetland continuously since at least the 1940s, and probably since long before the first settlers arrived. Their presence increases the possibility that the nature reserve is home to a large and diverse number of species.

The wetland is confirmed habitat for Blanding’s Turtle, which is a threatened species in Ontario. Canada Warblers and Olive-sided Flycatchers, which are also Species at Risk, have been documented there. Two dragonflies – Incurvate Emerald and Brush-tipped Emerald, have also been seen in the nature reserve. Incurvate Emerald is extremely rare in Ontario.

The nature reserve is at the headwaters of Kendrick Creek, which eventually joins the Irondale River, a tributary of the Burnt River, which runs through two of the Land Trust’s other properties: Dahl Forest and Smith Forest.  “It’s interesting that everything is connected, as nature tends to be when it is not messed about by us!” says Ziman.

 

Listen to this radio interview about the Barry Wetland acquisition by Mike Jaycock of Canoe FM with Sheila Ziman, former Chair of the Land Trust, and Simon Payn, Board Director.