Beaver River Wetland Conservation Area
Located between Uxbridge and Cannington, the Beaver River Wetland Conservation Area is Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority's largest landholding, at more than 500 hectares. The area consists of two parts – a historic abandoned CN rail line which provides for a recreational trail through the conservation area, and an extensive provincially significant wetland.
The Beaver River Wetland is one of the most ecologically significant natural areas in the Lake Simcoe watershed
. Because of its role in replenishing and storing water, filtering pollution, mitigating the effects of climate change and providing critical habitat to animals, the area has been evaluated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as both a Provincially Significant Wetland and an Environmentally Sensitive Area. A conservative dollar estimate of the ecological goods and services this area provides, (in other words the work of nature to control and filter water and air, regulate climate, pollinate crops and more), is in excess of 5.5 million dollars a year.
Beaver River Wetland Trail
The Beaver River Wetland Trail is one of the best ways to access and savor the smells, sights and sounds of the pristine and largely undeveloped Beaver River wetland. The all season trails built upon the flat, wide bed of the historic Toronto and Nipissing Railway (T&NR) dating back to the late 1800's when it supplied the Toronto Distillery District with wood and wheat. The line was abandoned in the early 1990's and is now nearly 40km in length, connecting Uxbridge, Cannington and Manilla in a Y-like configuration. Blackwater is home to the hub at the centre of the trail enjoyed by hikers and cycling enthusiasts in the summer and snowmobilers in the winter enjoying this unique Conservation Area.
A 21km section of the rail-trail from Uxbridge to Manilla is also designated as a section of The Great Trail, stretching across Canada. What makes this trail great is the abundant wildlife you can see as you travel along the trail - in the summer you might see a great blue heron, red-winged blackbirds, muskrats and beavers in the wetland. In the winter, the quiet calm soothes the spirit and mind as you watch the snow drift through the wetland.