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The Nonquon Crown Lands Educational Centre on Old Simcoe Road (Port Perry) Trails Review
This is another one of the Nonquon Crown Lands Outdoor Educational Centres with an accessible trail system much like the Nonquon OEC on Scugog line 10 to the South of this one. It’s not as well appointed with classroom facilities as the Scugog Line 10 OEC, but it’s trail system is much longer, more complex, and more diverse.
There are two entrances. One is directly across from Cragg Rd. on Old Simcoe rd. but it was always flooded every time we tried to use it. We finally gave up and went to the OEC gates. From Port Perry take Simcoe St. to Scugog Line #8, turn left, drive 130 meters to Old Simcoe Rd. Turn right and continue for 4 kms to either set of gates. This link will open Google Maps at the location : https://goo.gl/maps/ZQ3f7yTkDKqe4T4C8
There are so many trails and offshoot trails at this site that I couldn’t even imagine tracing them all, and making a map of them. Unfortunately, the display board I expectantly walked around (with camera in hand) was empty ! So, no help with maps there. I did notice some markers and/or numbers on certain trees here and there, but couldn’t make any sense of them.
So, I suppose all I can do for you is describe the trail systems by compass direction, and estimate distances. So, if you head South-east from the Centre, (keeping the small pond to your right) and just make some right turns on the crosstrails, you’ll make a loop back to the Centre of up to one kilometer in length. It could be more if you want to wander around on a few offshoot trails (which you likely will).
By heading North-east from the Centre, you’ll have up to 4 kms of trail coming. There are numerous offshoot trails but eventually, you’ll come to what appears to be a bushroad just after a boardwalk. To your left will be a fairly large body of open water with what was once Cragg road behind it. To your right will be the continuation of what was once Cragg road which used to cross this Crown Land and the Nonquon river. It’s permanently flooded out now, and abandoned at Old Simcoe Road.
If you want to continue heading East and follow Cragg road, you won’t make it to the river before the road is flooded out again, but you will find a trail off to your right (South). This one will take you back to the Centre about one kilometer long. It skirts the wetland you saw from Cragg road and meanders (single file width) through lowland forest and past another small pond with serious beaver activity for it’s size.
If you keep going straight ahead, crossing Cragg road, you’ll come to a small pond with a beaver lodge on it. The Wife and I discussed how we were standing right beside that lodge three months earlier … on literally thin ice. The trail looks like it continues on from here, but it runs out before very long. We tried to search further, but there was no way to go on. At least we got to see this porcupine on the way.
Finally, if you take the trail directly North from the Centre, you’ll be treated to a short loop (at most, one kilometer long) around a coupla ponds (if you’re lucky enough to find the trail un-flooded).
The Final Take
Though an Environmental Education Centre, there are no facilities for visitors here, not even parking. But, roadside parking is fine. I saw nothing about dog walking so I assume it’s OK. There are lots of trails all over the place, and alot of water too. I wondered if there were so many side and offshoot trails because of the flooding potential. Seriously, we were here three times throughout the year, and different trails were flooded for two of them, and the remaining time, everything was frozen or I assume something else would’ve been flooded. The trails are a blend of single file, and wide enough for two to walk side by side. The trails are a good mix of open sky and wooded canopy for pleasant sky and sunshine, but some welcome shade as well.
Have a nice walk,