Barnum Creek Nature Reserve

Barnum Creek Nature Reserve

In 2018, Leopoldina and Margaret Dobrzensky, under Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, donated 500 acres to the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust (HHLT), and entered into a Conservation Easement Agreement with the Land Trust on an adjacent 100 acres.

The property, now known as Barnum Creek Nature Reserve, was opened to the public in October 2020. There are seven kilometers of trails to enjoy in all seasons. Trails range from easy to challenging.

HHLT has established a management committee that will provide stewardship and develop a long-term management plan for the property.

Over the years, the Dobrzensky family managed their property in a sustainable manner to ensure the ecological values would be maintained. Under terms of the Ecological Gifts Program, the HHLT will continue to manage the property, in perpetuity, to ensure the long-term health and diversity of the ecosystems are protected and maintained.


The property is a spectacular example of the diversity of ecosystems in the Haliburton Highlands. The Reserve includes habitats ranging from Tolerant Hardwood Forest, Mixedwood Forest, Marsh and Swamp as well as Open Upland Successional Forest habitat which is reclaiming former agricultural land.  Similar habitats are found immediately south of the property and onto a large tract of Crown Land that is known to provide habitat for Species at Risk such as Blanding’s Turtle, Whip-Poor-Will and Five Lined Skink. The Open Upland Successional Forest habitat is known to provide suitable habitat for numerous Species at Risk (SAR) known to occur in Haliburton County. The property is a component of a large, contiguous tract of natural landscape that provides habitat for local flora and fauna, including many Species at Risk.

A significant component of the property is comprised of mature maple forest with abundant ground cover including wild leek, blue cohosh, leatherwood and maidenhair fern. Calcareous soils, which are limited in the Haliburton Highlands, are derived from fingers of marble, dolostone and limestone extending into the granitic rock that dominates the landscape.

The property is bisected by Barnum Creek which drains from Barnum Pond, located approximately 2 km east of the property, and flows into Barnum Lake, located approximately 6 km west of the property. The creek changes in nature as it passes through the property from a wide marshland on the east, to a narrow flowing creek, and finally to a series of beaver ponds. The creek serves as important habitat for moose, deer fox, wolf, beaver, porcupine and muskrat. Blue Heron and a wide variety of bird species are abundant. In addition to providing important habitat, the wetlands also deliver important ecological functions such as flood attenuation, groundwater recharge/discharge, water filtration and carbon sequestration.


Old barn foundation on the former Dugan homestead

Wetland & Surrounding Forest, Barnum Creek Nature Reserve