We continued our efforts of closing unwanted side trails and reducing the fragmentation of the forest. Two split rail fences were added to the trail network at the Ausable River Cut Conservation Area. Thanks to Lee T, Lee M, William, Dean, Jack, Ed and Ross for building the fences.
Railroad crossing signs have been installed along the Grand Trunk Trail where farm equipment crosses the trail. These signs were created by the 1999-2000 Grade 11 & 12 Construction & Technology students at North Lambton Secondary School and sponsored by the Forest BIA. They were previously located behind the Forest Library and were removed in 2020 for refurbishment. Special thanks to Brian Richardson for painting the lettering.
From concept to reality, 8 volunteers came together and replaced the tire stairs at the Ausable River Cut Conservation Area. 44 tires were removed by hand and then replaced with a hand built staircase filled with chip dust. This will allow canoe & kayak enthusiasts, fisherman and others to safely traverse the embankment. Thanks to Randy, Lee M, Ed, Mike, Phil, Lee T, Walter and Ross for their dedication and workmanship putting this together. Your willingness to donate your time to make our community better is truly appreciated!
The latest addition to the carvings at the Heart of the Trails in Port Franks is a great horned owl. Created by local artist Garrett Nahdee, the owl is dedicated to the memory of Bill Niessen. Thanks to Ed, Walter and Ross for installing this beautiful piece of art.
The split rail fence along Hwy 21 next to the Ausable River Cut Conservation Area Has been rebuilt. We added almost 70 new rails as well as picked up the garbage, branches and trimmed a 12 ft wide swath next to the fence.
Our volunteers have installed 3 turtle nest protective cages in the Ipperwash Dunes & Swales after observing turtles laying eggs. We ask that you please watch your footing when hiking around them. Turtle nest sites of Threatened and Endangered species are protected under this legislation as Critical Species At Risk Habitats.
Volunteers with Lambton Shores Nature Trails teamed up with Jessie and Glenn from the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority to install 13 signs in the Lambton County Heritage Forest to officially close off unauthorized side trails. The extensive trail network has severely fragmented the forest.
A Port Franks Waterway map has been installed in the Ausable River Cut Conservation Area. This will help canoe/kayak enthusiasts to familiarize themselves with the great local waterway system. Thanks to Lee M, Ed and Ross for their efforts in promoting our “Gems of Nature”.
A new turtle carving has been added to the Heart of the Trails in Port Franks. Thanks to artist Mike Newton for his wonderful work.
A huge island sat in the middle of the water and that island today is known to us as North America. Many First Nations Peoples hold special respect for the turtle who sacrificed his life so that the Earths people could have a second chance.
Two additional pollinator boxes have been added to the Grand Trunk Trail. There are now 6 boxes to attract butterflies and bees - 5 of them have benches on the opposite side of the trail to allow walkers to enjoy the view.
Four benches have been added to the Grand Trunk Trail. They are located opposite of the pollinator boxes for your viewing pleasure. We would like to thank the municipal staff for installing these “walker rest stops” and to the Forest Community Foundation for their ongoing financial support towards the beautification and improvements of the trail!
Two benches have been installed at the back of the Forest Dunes property. This will give hikers a place to rest at the halfway point without having to sit on the ground with all the ticks!
Because the site was 3 km from the parking area on Outer Drive, we choseto float the lumber across Mud Creek, a successful first time experience!
A small crew of volunteers installed a fence and signs in the Ipperwash Dunes & Swales to officially close a side trail and reduce the fragmentation of the forest. Hikers wishing to access the trail network from Ipperwash Rd can either use Clemens Line or the entrance just west of the Carolinian Campground.
In the Forested Dunes, we added a new galvanized steel cable, replaced 3 posts and added a fresh coat of paint! Although this is the least used hiking trail of all the properties we work on, it is one of the most peaceful, secluded trails you can hike - protected by the massive “forested” dunes on the north side. Thanks to our volunteers - Phil, Ed, Walter, Lee T, Lee M, Ross, William, Trixie and Willemina for all their hard work!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Wilma, Marja, Martin, Kelsey and Maitland for cleaning up the old dump off Clemens Line in Ipperwash. 12 bags of trash were collected and will be disposed of properly. Their dedication to making our community a better place is very much appreciated!
Special thanks to the volunteers who came out to build a retainer wall at the back of the Ausable River Cut Conservation Area. This work will help slow the erosion around the bench at the top of the dune. Hikers will continue to have the opportunity to access one of the highest vantage points in Lambton County.
Kate Monk, Stewardship, Land and Education Manager with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, was the guest speaker at an interactive seminar on a cool but comfortable day at the pavilion behind the community centre in Port Franks. Kate enjoyed the opportunity to speak about their experience with land management to 16 attendees, including many facts about the properties where LSNT maintains the trails (L-Lake, Ausable River Cut and Mystery Falls).
Thank to Ed, Lee M, Lee T, William, Dean, Ross and Walter for resurfacing the Grand Trunk Trail in Forest. The community will be very appreciative of everything you have done to make the trail better and accessible for mobility devices. Thank you for giving back to the community and special thanks to the Forest Community Foundation whose generous grant made this project possiblle.
A young and spirited work crew finished the installation of the native plant identifiers at The Heart of the Trails in Port Franks.
The Seven Grandfathers (Love, Respect, Courage, Wisdom, Truth, Humility, and Honesty) carvings have been installed around the Circle of Life at the Heart of the Trails (Port Franks Community Centre). Thanks to artist Garrett Nahdee and everyone involved in making this community beautification project a reality.
Volunteers spent over 30 combined hours completing the wheelchair accessible path in the Ausable River Cut Conservation Area in Port Franks. Thank you Walter, Darren, Lee M, Lee T, Ed and Ross!
We now have a physical location to provide our nature enthusiasts with information and services to help connect them to nature! Trailhead Central is located at 10048 Greenway Road, at the corner of Greenway Road and Highway 21. Beginning Monday, June 1, the self-serve facility will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during spring, summer and fall. You will be able to pick up information and maps of local trails, and also drop off your badge questionnaires. We are hoping to develop volunteer staffing during busier times.
Signs have been added to the Port Franks Trailhead structure. ”The Heart Of The Trails” and “Connecting People To Nature” were attached to the cross beams along with the year it was completed.
Signs have been installed along Bog Line to recognize LSNT’s participation in the County of Lambton Adopt A Road program. The bottom of the signs can be conveniently flipped down on work days to notify vehicles to watch for workers.
A group of 17 volunteers worked together to cut down 150+ dead trees in the Ausable River Valley, north of Mystery Falls. It was a beautiful day to be out in nature and to work on making the trail better. There are still more trees to cut next year but we made great strides towards reopening this trail. The volunteers who weren’t cutting trees helped to carry equipment, trim branches, lift logs and watched for hikers. Thanks to everyone who came out to help!
LSNT presented North Lambton Secondary School with a framed picture of the trail signs made by the woodworking class. Crafted under the direction of teacher Adam Willemse, these directional signs are placed on trails throughout Lambton Shores & Vicinity. We truly appreciate the efforts of the NLSS students!
It is with sad hearts that we announce that our leader and visionary Klaus Keunecke has completed his journey on earth. His dedication to our ‘Hidden Gems of Nature’ and to protecting our environmentally sensitive lands is truly inspirational. Klaus was passionate about the trails and volunteered countless hours to make them safe and enjoyable for everyone. His spirit will live on in our trails forever.
We invite you to admire this impressive trailhead and the craftsmanship it took to build. Stand under its sturdy roof and read about the local & natural history. Appreciate the donors, the volunteers and the visionaries who made this project a reality. Study the map and plan your next hiking adventure. Stand outside and admire the artwork and the beauty it brings to our community. Stroll along the path and take notice of the native plants. Take a selfie with one of the owls. Make your way to the Circle of Life, sit down on one of the handcrafted benches. Contemplate, meditate, heal. Learn about the Four Directions.
Lorie & Derek Scott, Doug Bonesteel, Kristy Lyon & Marilyn Smith at the Forest Farmers Market sharing information about Lambton Shores Nature Trails and cooking up some tasty hamburgers! Connecting people of all ages to Nature!
The panels have now been installed at the “Heart of the Trails” trailhead in Port Franks. Historical information, a donor recognition tree and a trail map of the area are on display along with artwork by Jeffrey “Red” George. Thanks to all those who supported this community project.
A fabulous Canada Day 'Dance for Mother Earth' hosted by Lambton Shores Nature Trails at the new Port Franks trailhead 'Circle of Life'. Special thanks to Jenny (Mother Earth), Lindsey (Grandmother 1), Faye (Grandmother 2), Trinity (Dancer 3), Marilyn (Dance 4) Maeve (Super Hero 1), Colton (Super Hero 2), Gerda (Assisting Super Heroes).
International Trails Day was held at the Lambton Heritage Forest in Port Franks. Hikers had a hoot of a time! They enjoyed the new trailhead and surrounding landscaping - the "Heart of the Trails" spearheaded by LSNT.
Another piece of the Heart of the Trails in Port Franks is now complete. Handcrafted benches have been installed in the Four Directions of the Circle of Life. Miigwetch Nmishoomis (thank you Grandfather), Miigwetch Nookmis (thank you Grandmother). These beautiful benches were handcrafted by Shawn Core from Port Franks.
Students from the grade 9 Geography class at the North Lambton Secondary School planted 24 trees in the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Ipperwash Dunes & Swales. This much needed effort was to help eliminate fragmentation along the trail network.. This project was made possible by a generous donation from the Lambton Wildlife Inc. Habitat Fund.
A work crew installed a property fence at the corner of Whatman and Nipigon Streets in Port Franks. The fence, extra brush and boulders at this entrance should better protect the NCC and the Lambton County Heritage Forest properties from further destruction by ATV's. It will also make it safe for hikers on the trails!
In the Ausable River Cut Conservation Area, a natural "sand bridge" at the bottom of the sand dune got washed out due to heavy rainfall. A 14 foot wooden footbridge was installed over the wet area.
A "Story Walk" has been installed in the Ausable River Cut Conservation Area thanks to funding though Public Health Ontario's Healthy Kids Community Challenge along with the support of the Municipality of Lambton Shores, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority and Lambton County Library. The Story Walk is meant to promote healthy physical activity, healthy lifestyle choices and literacy for children from 0 to 12.
A pedestal with a display case was installed at the falls in Mystery Falls. The "roots" fossil was discovered after the major rain storm this spring caused a flash flood on Mystery Creek; some spots down the creek from the falls had more than a meter of water depth!
A trailhead post has been installed at Mystery Falls to mark the trail to the falls as well as the parking lot. Thanks to Darren, Wendy, Walter and Ross for their hard efforts!
Lambton Shores Nature Trails participated in the 2018 Ausable Port Franks Optimist Art/Nature Camp. The kids had an opportunity to climb the big sandhill, pitch tents, identify trees and learned about trail maps. We also visited the Ska-Nah-Doht Village and Museum at the Lower Thames Conservation Authority, Longwoods Road Conservation Area, learning about the Haudenosaunee - People of the Longhouse.
Lambton Shores Nature Trails recently hosted a day long hike with geography/travel & tourism students from North Lambton Secondary School. We hiked 13 kilometers on three trails: Nature Conservancy of Canada's Ipperwash Dunes & Swales, Lambton County's Heritage Forest and the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority's Mystery Falls. We would like to thank Darren Tichenoff for coordinating the class trip and our volunteer chaperones John, Marilyn, Ed, David and Ross.
On a beautiful spring day, a small group of enthusiastic hikers made their way to Mystery Falls where local artist Jeffrey "Red Dog" George performed the traditional Pipe Ceremony. Thanks to Red for such an enlightening experience and “Building Bridges in our Communities”.
LSNT hosted its 2nd Annual Hiking Movie at the Kineto Theatre in Forest. The film was made on the beautiful Appalachian Trail, sharing the day after day thru-hiking experience on the trail. The film speaks deeply to the people who are closest to the trail and who know it best: the volunteers, hikers, and members of the Appalachian Trail community who have made the trail a part of their lives. The film also explores the rich history of the trail.
Lambton Shores Nature Trails initiated a three year experiment in the Port Frank's Forested Dunes under authority of the property owner, Nature Conservancy of Canada. The basis of the research project is to see if a natural substance found in walnuts (juglone) has any effect in controlling the growth of phragmites.
Phase 1 & 2 of the trailhead structure at the Port Franks Community Centre is now complete. The structure will serve as the focal point of approximately 20 km of hiking trails in the Port Franks-Northville area.
Phase III will also commence this fall - included are: landscaping with large boulders & native plants, a wheelchair-access path, overhead signage, large side-panels featuring native art, a trail map, the local history & natural heritage, as well as a 'Donor Recognition Tree'. Leaves will be added to the tree upon receipt of public and/or private donations.
We launched our badge program to reward those who hike all 7 Nature Trails in Lambton Shores & Vicinity and correctly answer each question to receive your FREE badge!
On a brisk but beautiful day,, 22 hikers attended the annual Nature Appreciation Hike in the Ipperwash Dunes & Swales. With the trees changing colors and the sun peaking through, everyone was treated to a unique 'Forest Bathing' hiking experience with guest hike leader Mary Ann McLaughlin - a World-Wide Hiker & Spiritual Leader. The day concluded with a lunch at the Port Franks Community Centre.
We believe in being socially responsible and being part of the larger community "Beyond the Trails". In 2018, we became a proud member of the County of Lambton Adopt-A-Road Program; cleaning Bog Line from Northville Rd. to the county boundary.
We are proud to have spearheaded the restoration of the "whistle post” along the Grand Trunk Trail in Forest. Whistle posts along the railways reminded steam locomotive engineers on the Grand Trunk Railway to sound the whistle at upcoming road crossings and other mileposts. This style of marker was first used in the mid-to-late 1800s. A historical plaque and landscaping will be added in the future.
LSNT celebrated Earth Day by planting 80 native trees to form a "Green Tunnel" around the Port Franks Community Centre. This event would not have been a success without the volunteers for planting, watering and applying mulch, co-sponsor Eco-Network for their generous donation, the Ausable Port Franks Optimists for providing drinks & snacks, Lambton Shores for transporting the trees & mulch, and;Walter Michelsens for augering the 80 holes!
The first ever moonlight hike was a great success. 35 hikers traversed the Lambton Heritage Forest behind the community centre in Port Franks on a calm night. The group tried to find owls and listened to the complete silence of the woods. The hike had an international flare with hikers representing Holland, Germany, Philippines, Japan and Canada; many of whom were experiencing their first ever moonlight hike. The evening culminated with some hot apple cider and camaraderie of the evening hike.
LSNT is pleased to announce that two benches have been installed at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Mystery Falls. Donated by Ross Atkinson, the benches are dedicated in the memory of his parents, both of whom were WWII veterans.
LSNT hosted a special movie event at the Kineto Theatre in Forest! Producer Andy Laub (As It Happens Creative) generously gave us the permission to play his Pacific Crest Trail movie but also the unique opportunity to show the World Premiere of his upcoming movie on Hayduke.
LSNT coordinated the construction and installation of a trailhead structure in Forest that compliments the existing trail network to the west of town. The three-phase project began in 2017 to celebrate Canada's 150 birthday and will complete in 2018 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
LSNT hosted a hike with the North Lambton Secondary School Travel & Tourism class. After spending time in the classroom informing about who we are and what we do, we escorted the class through the Ipperwash Dunes & Swales. 9 enthusiastic young men and women attended and learned about woodpecker holes, phragmites, trail head signs, blazes, etc. We hiked a total of 6.5 km on a beautiful day!
Thanks to a generous grant from the Grand Bend Community Foundation, LSNT's partnership with the Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority, Exiplast of Huron Park and a group of dedicated LSNT volunteers, a floating dock is now available in the Ausable River Cut Conservation Area in Northville. Canoeists and kayakers can now launch their crafts in the 'Cut' to connect with hiking trails in Pinery Provincial Park, several nature trails in Port Franks and when water levels permit, the nature trails in the Ausable River Valley between Sylvan and Arkona.
LSNT hosted a Hike Leader Certification Course at the Port Franks Community Centre Optimist Hall. The instructor was Tom Frieson, President of Hike Ontario. Participants learned how to properly prepare and host hikes.
LSNT volunteered at the Ausable Port Franks Optimist Arts and Nature Camp on August 8/9, 2016. The kids learned about being good stewards of the environment and about the trails. They spent time in the Ausable Cut CA doing interactive games and then a hike - a great day for all!
LSNT launched a new website to help promote trails and hiking. Geared towards youth, this website makes learning about Nature, Wildlife and Trails fun! Visit it today: www.DiscoverTheTrails.ca
The installation of a thick gravel surface on the new parking lot at Mystery Falls is now complete. We would like to thank the Municipality of North Middlesex for making this happen. There are now plenty of parking spots for hikers to get off the road - only a short distance west of the Mystery Falls Trail Head!!
The annual Nature Appreciation Hiker was held on a beautiful, sunny October day. The hike was held at the Ipperwash Dunes & Swales, a Nature Conservancy of Canada property. This was also a celebration of our 5 year anniversary as an organisation. A special thanks to Lambton Wildlife and its members who came out and participated in this year's event!
The 2015 Nature Appreciation Hike was held at 'L' Lake in Port Franks on September 12 on a beautiful, sunny, warm day. Hikers enjoyed walking the trails and seeing some fall colours.
The wheelchair accessible platform in the Ausable Cut Conservation Area (Port Franks) is now complete with the installation of handrails. Special thanks to Ralph McEachern from Art by 3. This project also included the building of the platform & ramp as well as a hard packed gravel walkway.
Congratulations to all of our supporters! Lambton Shores Nature Trails has been awarded the 2015 Carolinian Canada Group Conservation Award in recognition of an outstanding contribution towards the protection of the natural diversity and habitats of Ontario's Carolinian Life Zone
This bench was installed at 'L' Lake in Port Franks in memory of Jean Biehl who recently passed away at age of 104! Jean was an avid environmentalist who loved to walk and Port Franks was a very special place to her.