“Holy crap, look at all the trout !” I shouted to Ranger. He broke off his intrusion of the shack he’d found to walk over and look. “Oh yeah, and they’re huge too” he offered. There’s no way they were natural to the pond as they were too plentiful and too big. There wasn’t any incoming source of water either, just a fish-impassable stream draining off to the East. We struck out after the stream to investigate.
It was early December 2012 and Ranger and I had been cruising new back-road territory. We’d never been this far East and North. Our original intention was to walk a locally famous trail. Something about it being a pioneer path or some such thing. The trail proved to be interesting enough, but, not interesting enough. We hit the road in search of No Exits to explore when I caught these signs in my peripheral.
Suitably impressed, we ditched the truck and searched around on foot. There was an opening through the trees with an open gate, so we didn’t need an engraved invitation. The first sight was a pile of sawdust and some freshly cut lumber beside a toolshed sized shack. Then I saw a sizeable “T” shaped pond. There were benches surrounding the shoreline, and a small dock of sorts. It had a distinctly manufactured look to it though.
There were various kinds of apparently abandoned or antique earth equipment lying about. We circled the pond marvelling at the fish while checking the perimeter. Why would a site with half a dozen Gov’t agencies involved, concern an obviously stocked pond ? We still hadn’t seen any stay outa here signs, so we carried on down the pond drainage stream. There was no question this was a recently active restoration project. They had some great ideas and plans happening here. Ranger and I were thrilled we got to see it “under construction”. They’d even labelled the bushes they planted along the stream banks with coloured flags.
Fresh trails had been very recently cut through the bush. So fresh, I could smell the cuts as I walked along. It looked like someone had invested a great deal of work and expense in creating the beginnings of a stunningly beautiful park. I could tell that despite the season. We walked straight through to the next road where the stream vanished into a swamp on the other side. We then explored all the alternate return trails back to the pond, marvelling all the while.
I couldn’t help feeling a bit naughty, like an adoring intruder, but an intruder all the same. However, I figured it wasn’t posted, and much like Simon Templar, “Everyone in Southern Ontario knows the famous 2 Old Guys Walking” (you gotta be over 50 years old to get that one, so don’t worry about it). I did some I’Net research and found a few references to the pond. I got a name, and a possible one-time owner, but the sites I got the data from were a couple of years old, and there wasn’t anything about more recent activities.
I returned in the new year to show the wife our fascinating find. The signs were gone, and the rusted old gates were closed. I felt my heart fall into my stomach. There was a small sign on the gate stating something, but I don’t recall what, now. Ranger and I were in the area a few weeks ago so we followed up on it. There were 2 brand new shiney gates with a great big sign stating that the site was now a “Largest integrated producer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America” Managed Forest (Of course that wasn’t the name on the sign, but I’m not putting the company’s name on here, just in case). Well, that just pissed us right off, so we went around the road to the East to see if it was still accessible. It was, so we went in. It appeared not much had happened since our first visit. A lot less fish in the pond and the dock had all but collapsed. It appeared some rather large earth moving equipment had pushed through the forest, tearing up everything in its path. There were no advancements on what was left of the trails, and the bushes lining the stream were dead. The stream itself was silted and grubby. The whole place just looked neglected. Maybe they’ll forget it exists and it’ll return to a natural state. Better still, maybe they’ll sell it off, and the wife and I can do what we did during our years in business. Finish the job someone else started.