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The Otonabee Gravel Pit Conservation Area Review
This is a rare treat for a trail reviewer. The Otonabee Gravel Pit CA appears to be unknown on the INet. Its not often a trail reviewer gets the chance to be the first to report on a Cons. Area. Admittedly, its not exactly a hiker’s paradise. Its more of a Wildlife Area really, as there are no facilities, no groomed trails, no picnic area, no nuthin’. Just an old abandoned gravel pit full of ponds, which in turn were full of waterfowl, and a wooded surrounding area.
You’ll note the area is quite a bit larger than was used for gravel extraction so there’s a great deal of wooded area to wander through to the North, East, and South of the pit. There are, of course, numerous ATV trails through the wooded areas which I found quite convenient for walking.
The entire South end runs along the Otonabee River, and the North end is cultivated fields. So, even though the network of ATV trails are neither labelled nor documented, you couldn’t get lost for too terribly long. To the credit of the site, I spotted only one spent shotgun shell and two beer cans in the entire area. Not bad for such a secluded location, rich in waterfowl.
Ranger and I met, and chatted with a retired MNR guy who was birding. I expressed my surprise at seeing anyone there, and he told us he’d never seen anyone there before either. Despite the obvious ATV tracks and trails, there was very little evidence of anyone having visited recently. As we walked amongst the numerous crystal clear ponds left by the extraction process, I unconsciously looked for fish lolling about. Of course, there weren’t any, but we have seen stranger things.
I can’t say as we spotted any fascinating or unusual plant life. But then, this Summer has been so hot and dry, the only interesting or unique plants I’ve seen are in my own wildflower garden at Home. However, the grasshopper population was as I haven’t seen since childhood.
The Final Take
This one is really “out of the way”. Take Hwy 28 North from Port Hope to Bailieboro. Turn right on Cty rd. 2 just past the bakery. Follow #2 East until you hit a stop sign, then continue to the left. Once you cross over Bensfort Bridge, start looking to your right for Crowley rd. Turn right (South) on Crowley and drive to the gates. There’s no signage of any kind designating it as a Cons Area.
Have a nice walk,