Another week, another local conservation area! After visiting W.E. Burton’s Conservation Area last week, I went back to Russell to visit the other conservation area there, that of J. Henry Tweed.
The J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area is a 16-acre green space, nestled in the heart of a residential neighborhood in Russell. It has a trail of about 1.5 km, tall mature trees and a small stream. Like the conservation areas I have visited in the past few weeks, this one is also protected and managed by the South Nation Conservation.
I have to admit it, I didn’t have high expectations before visiting this conservation area. I knew the place was in a rather urban setting, which is quite the opposite of the kind of hikes I usually enjoy. And with a 1.5-kilometre trail, I knew that my outing would compare more to a casual walk than a real hike. Anyway, I made it my goal to visit all of the conservation areas in my area, and since I am rather stubborn when I have something in mind, I knew I had to visit the J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area.
And in the end, this “hike” was not that bad. Yes, the trail is rather short, and yes, it is difficult to completely forget the surrounding neighborhood. The sounds of traffic, lawn mowers and children playing in the back yards mingled with the chirping of birds and the squeals of squirrels. Still, the forest is pretty, there is a nice variety of trees and the weather was beautiful and pleasing under the leafy cover.
As Russell’s urban sprawl has accelerated in recent years, the J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area is particularly important. It continues to protect a small piece of green space from residential development. And it offers local residents the opportunity to enjoy a pretty forest, which is accessible in summer and in winter.
The conservation area is also linked to the New York Central Fitness Trail, a 12-kilometre path that links the communities of Russell and Embrun. The name of the trail may seem a little incongruous (New York City is, after all, located more than 700 kilometres from here), but it is because it was established on an old rail corridor that linked New York City to Ottawa from 1898 to 1957. I have never walked the entire trail, but who knows, maybe it will be one of the future projects!