Businesses are slowly starting to open again here in Canada, but we will probably need to continue avoid traveling far from home for a while. So I decided that in the upcoming months, I will focus on exploring conservation areas near my home. And I started doing so with the Reveler Conservation Area in Crysler, Ontario.
The Reveler Conservation Area, like Warwick Forest and Oschmann Forest close-by, is managed by South Nation Conservation (SNC), the conservation authority responsible for protecting and restoring lands in the South Nation River watershed in Eastern Ontario. The land belonged to individuals for a long time (in the 19th century, there was even an attempt to exploit it for agriculture, but without any success), before Ray Reveler, who was the owner of it for the last 40 years, donated it to the South Nation Conservation in 2012.
Even though Crysler is located very close to where I live, I had never visited the Reveler Conservation Area before. And after almost two months of staying at home, I was rather impatient to get some fresh air and sun!
The property has 3.5 kilometres of trails, mostly in natural grasslands. In fact, this was what rather surprised as soon as I entered the conservation area: the tall grass, the shrubs of small sizes and the rocky soil reminded me more of the landscapes of Texas than those more typical of Eastern Ontario.
The conservation area also features a pond as well as a small hardwood forest section. Because of the diversity of its landscapes, the area is particularly popular with bird watchers. No less than 100 species of birds have been recorded there, some of which are rare locally.
All around the conservation area, it is also possible to see the large silhouette of several wind turbines. These wind turbines were built before the current Ontario government decided to put a stop to the project. They stand silent today, a curious sight in the landscape.
The Reveler Conservation Area trails are well-groomed, but not marked, and there is no signage. Without realizing it, I found myself walking in circles on the trails and having to retrace my steps, looking for the way out (I made it out eventually, don’t worry).
Still, I really enjoyed my hike and I plan to come back this summer or this fall, when the trees have some leaves and the landscape looks a bit less barren. In the meantime, I will pursue my goal of visiting all the conservation areas in the region!