Nature enthusiasts asked to hold tight for Barnum Creek opening

By Darren Lum

The public will have to wait for the official opening of the Barnum Creek Nature Reserve previously planned for this spring due to COVID-19 precautions.

“We do not have a date for the opening of Barnum Creek” Haliburton Highlands Land Trust chairperson Mary-Lou Gerstl said in an email last week. “[It] has been difficult because of COVID as we want to make the opening an event. Work does continue on the property and we had hoped to have it opened a few weeks ago.”

At nearly 500 acres the reserve boasts a diverse ecosystem which includes hardwood forest mixed wood forest marsh and swamp and an open upland successional forest habitat the land trust website states. It is also a short drive from Haliburton.

The land was donated through the Federal Ecological Gifts Program by Margaret and Leopoldina Dobrzensky in June 2018. The land trust is responsible for the long-term management of the property.

“The land trust’s fabulous volunteers worked all last fall and winter to clear and sign the trails” chairperson of the Barnum Creek management committee Sheila Ziman wrote in an email a few weeks ago. “We’ve just about finished that but we are waiting for a few other things to get completed. We need to ensure a safe parking area for people print and erect the trailhead kiosk poster and publish a brochure that includes a trail map before we can open the reserve to the public. We are working on all that but the pandemic has slowed down our efforts in a variety of ways.”

The land trust also manages the Dahl Forest in Minden which has re-opened its walking trails to the public since closing for a short time due to COVID-19. Users are advised to adhere to public health recommendations such as physical distancing while parking and while on the trails not coming in a group unless it is a group you are living with keeping dogs on a leash to avoid contact with other people not touching your face and washing your hands upon returning home.

Gerstl remains optimistic the Barnum Creek Nature Reserve will be open later this summer.

“It is such a beautiful property and so close to the village of Haliburton. With people now able to get out and hike and enjoy nature Barnum Creek Nature Reserve offers so much for the outdoor enthusiast. But we have to make sure we are ready and safety is of the utmost importance. Stay posted as we put the finishing touches on the reserve and get ready for our opening day” she wrote.