“The little lakes… are two small lakes in the bush. They have muskeg bog around them… One of these… is of great interest to naturalists in nearby cottages. Here are to be found orchids such as the Grass Pinks, Arethusa, White Fringed Orchid, and many other plants which grow in bogs…” – Miriam Burgess
In 1981, Miriam Burgess donated Bruce Pond to Ontario Nature in hopes of protecting the biodiverse wetland and the rare flora and fauna that inhabit it. The nature reserve was named in honour of her father, H.N. Crossley. Throughout her long life, Miriam enjoyed many summers at Bruce Pond, studying the uncommon, and often sensitive, flowers on the property.
Forty years after the H.N. Crossley Nature Reserve was established, nature lovers gathered to celebrate the opening of the reserve’s barrier-free trail. The 130-metre wheelchair-accessible trail offers visitors of all abilities an opportunity to explore the “eyed” bog, and to share the joy that Miriam had experienced seeing the variety of orchids surrounding the pond.
The upgrades focus on wheelchair accessibility – highlighted by a crushed-gravel trail that leads to a wheelchair-accessible viewing platform overlooking a Provincially Significant Wetland. These new features provide a unique, up-close and safe experience to explore the forest and bog habitats. New interpretive signage is also available to help visitors traverse the trail and identify plant and animal species found on the nature reserve.
During the trail opening event, Al Sinclair and Aaron Rusak from the Muskoka Field Naturalists (Nature Network member group and nature reserve volunteer stewards) led a hike along the accessible trail. Zane Davies, who built the accessible trail, also explained the trail design and construction process.
“It was wonderful to see so many Ontario Nature members and members of our Nature Network clubs come out to join us for the accessible trail opening celebration. We were fortunate to have Al and Aaron lead nature hikes, and to have Zane join us to share a bit about his approach to this project and the thought that went into the building process. The trail blends in beautifully with the surrounding forest and will be enjoyed by many residents and visitors from the area for years to come,” says Kate Douglas, Ontario Nature’s Annual Fund Manager.
Jennifer Ho is Ontario Nature’s Program Funding Coordinator. Growing up in Hong Kong, her love of nature originated from watching David Attenborough’s documentaries. The wonders of the natural world have led her to pursue a bachelor’s and later a master’s degree in environmental science with a focus on biodiversity conservation. In her spare time, Jen enjoys baking and exploring the world of food photography.