This year marks 60 years of land acquisitions in Ausable Bayfield watersheds to preserve and protect natural areas for the future. It was 1952 when the former Ausable River Conservation Authority first began to purchase important parcels of land to protect soil, water, and living things. That year, that local conservation organization purchased land with important ecological features from at least eight local families. The acquired land was located in Hay Swamp, west of Exeter, the Adams-Klopp Tract, northeast of Zurich; and in Parkhill, now the site of Parkhill Conservation Area.
Six decades later, those natural lands continue to provide environmental benefits such as habitat for birds and animals, protection of water quality and quantity, and limiting the loss of trees.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority has acquired many other significant areas of land over the years through purchases and donations. ABCA continues to look at the strategic acquisition of lands in important natural areas through a long-term land securement plan. A diverse community group that met between 2010 and 2011 to develop a new Conservation Strategy encouraged ABCA to “acquire conservation lands strategically in order to conserve healthy habitat, forest conditions, water quality and water quantity.”
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation has preserved and protected natural areas as well since its incorporation in 1974. The foundation has received gifts of land, applied for grants for the acquisition of land for future preservation, and donated towards the purchase of important natural areas.
The foundation also offered a new opportunity for people to donate land or gifts in a larger area through the creation of the Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy. The land trust was created in 2011 with a new volunteer board of directors from diverse areas and walks of life. The board oversees the land trust, which seeks to preserve some natural properties throughout the area of the historic Huron Tract, an area that stretches north from Arkona and includes Lucan, Goderich, Stratford, Exeter, Bayfield, Clinton, and Seaforth, among other communities.
“Local municipalities, landowners, and the conservation authority showed vision 60 years ago when land was acquired for the benefit of future generations,” said Roger Lewington, who is hair of the Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy’s board of directors.
“We encourage people to consider donations in order to leave a land legacy for the future,” he said.
For information on lands that have been preserved, please visit online.
For information on how you can leave a local land legacy for the future, in the area of the historic Huron Tract, visit online or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.