Improving Accessibility At The H.N. Crossley Nature Reserve

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The accessible trail at HN Crossley Nature Reserve officially opened on Oct. 16. Photo by John Hassell (CNW Group/Ontario Nature)

Earlier this month, Ontario Nature welcomed members of the public to the H.N. Crossley Nature Reserve for the official opening of its barrier-free trail. Thanks to a $46,500 Capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation in 2019 and TD Friends for the Environment Foundation, the organization was able to create a 130-metre wheelchair-accessible trail, giving visitors of all abilities the chance to explore a typical “eyed” bog – a landscape featuring the open-water “pupil” of Bruce Pond surrounded by a sphagnum mat “iris”.

“I am pleased that the Ontario Trillium Foundation has invested in improving the accessibility of the H.N. Crossley Nature Reserve, to help those living with disabilities to enjoy more active lifestyles and our beautiful surroundings,” said Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norman Miller. “This funding will help people connect with nature, regardless of their level of mobility, while protecting the plants and animals in this wetland.”

The upgrades focus on wheelchair and visual accessibility – highlighted by a crushed-gravel trail that leads to a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk and a viewing platform overlooking the Provincially Significant Wetland. These new features provide a unique, up-close and safe experience in the bog habitat. New interpretive signage is also available to help visitors traverse the trail and identify plant and animal species found on the nature reserve. The reserve is stewarded by the Muskoka Field Naturalists.

“The trail allows nature lovers of all abilities to be immersed in a truly unique wilderness experience,” said Smera Sukumar, Nature Reserves Manager, Ontario Nature.

Located in the heart of cottage country in Rosseau, this 19-hectare nature reserve is frequented by local naturalists and other visitors wishing to see the bog and the rare plants it hosts, such as the eastern prairie white-fringed orchid, Virginia meadow-beauty and northern pitcher plant. This is the third accessible trail at an Ontario Nature property, the others being at the Petrel Point and Cawthra Mulock nature reserves.

More information about the nature reserve is available at ontarionature.org/h-n-crossley.

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