The Rotary Club of Haliburton presented Haliburton Highlands Land Trust with a $7,000 donation on May 2 for benches to be placed in both Barnum Creek Nature Reserve and Dahl Forest. From left, Heather Phillips, Mike Landry, Irv Handler, Cynthia Handler, Sheila Ziman, David Zilstra, Michelle Coneybeare, and Christel Furniss. /VIVIAN COLLINGS Staff

Rotary gift gives support to Land Trust effort to enhance

Rotary Club of Haliburton covers $7,000 cost for benches
By Darren Lum

The Rotary Club of Haliburton is giving the gift of support with its $7,000 donation to cover the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust’s purchase of eight benches to be installed at the Barnum Creek Nature Reserve and the Dahl Forest later this year.
The project includes four granite benches, which are to be created and installed by McBain Quarries, and four log benches created and installed by Outram Tree Services, with a pair of each being installed at the Dahl Forest and Barnum Creek Nature Reserve. The stone benches are expected to enable two to three adults to sit, measuring close to two metres long (or seven feet long) with a pair of stone bases, with the log benches expected to be slightly smaller. An example of the stone bench is currently on the Haliburton County Rail Trail several kilometres from Haliburton.
The initial ask by the Land Trust was for $6,200 to purchase and install the benches, but the Rotary Club agreed with adding $800 to cover the expense of plaques, which will be secured to the benches recognizing land donors Leopoldina Dobrzensky for the Barnum Creek Nature Reserve and Peggy Dahl for the Dahl Forest.

The Rotary club of Haliburton president Heather Phillips said this donation is consistent with the long-standing relationship between the club and the Land Trust, and with how many of the club’s members have enjoyed the properties under the stewardship of the Land Trust.
“Rotary has been a proud supporter of the Land Trust over the years and many of our members use their properties on a regular basis,” Phillips said.“The Land Trust plays such an important role in both the conservation of Haliburton County and education for the protection of our lands for future generations. Our club felt that this project was worth supporting. The benches will provide rest spots along the trails making the trails more user friendly for our seniors and families.”
She said credit for this idea is owed to club member Mike Landry, who “was the driving force behind making this project happen.”

The Land Trust was invited to the Rotary Club’s regular meeting by Landry where they made a presentation for the benches on April 7, she said.
As stewards of the two nature reserves, the Land Trust is responsible for the maintenance and promotion of these places where the public can embrace nature thanks to the donation of the land for public use by generous residents, Dahl and Dobrzensky.

Sheila Ziman, who was the lead on this project as co-chair of the Barnum Creek Management Committee with Michele Coneybeare, was “super happy” about the donation.
“We wanted to keep the benches as natural and simple as possible. We really liked the idea of providing a beautiful location to rest from hiking, have a snack or just sit in quiet contemplation,” Ziman said.
The Land Trust’s presentation included the design, cost and related logistics to the project, which included the collaboration of Dahl Forest Management’s chairperson, Joan Duhaime.
Ziman said the hope is to repurpose downed cedar trees from the Barnum Creek property to create the log benches, but this will be determined by Outram Tree Services.

Land Trust chair Shelley Hunt said this donation from Rotary is another example of their community contributions.
“I would just like to applaud Rotary for the amazing work they do to support the community. Having benches available at Barnum Creek and Dahl Forest will make the trails that much more welcoming and enjoyable by giving hikers the opportunity to rest and really soak up the sights, smells and sounds of the nature around them,” she said.