Barnum Creek Nature Reserve

Barnum Creek Nature Reserve

Through the Federal Ecological Gifts Program, Leopoldina and Margaret Dobrzensky have donated approximately 500 acres to the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust. In addition to the 500 acre donation, the Dobrzenskys have established a Conservation Easement on an additional 100 acres adjacent to the donation property. The HHLT will be responsible for the long term sustainable management of this property. Public access will be restricted on parts of the property as the Dobrzenskys will continue to live on the property.

 The donation was announced at the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Land Trust on June 2, 2018. The property will be known as the Barnum Creek Nature Reserve.

At this time, June 2018, there is no public access to the property.  The HHLT will now strike a Management Committee whose responsibility will be to provide stewardship for this property, develop a property map, properly sign trails which will be eventually opened to the public, and develop a long term management plan for the property.  Until then, public access will only be through guided walks and other events.

The Dobrzenskys are long-time and well known residents of Haliburton County. Over the years, they have managed their properties in a sustainable manner to ensure the ecological values associated with their properties would be maintained. Under terms of the Ecological Gifts Program, the HHLT will continue to manage the properties, 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 and water filtration.

Old barn foundation on the former Dugan homestead

Wetland & Surrounding Forest, Barnum Creek Nature Reserve