Guelph Lake Rotary Trail connects people to nature
Fifteen years ago, a 100-acre parcel of land was chosen near Guelph Lake Conservation Area, destined to become the home of the Guelph Lake Rotary Forest. Through annual Earth Day community planting events, this parcel of land has grown into a forest inspired by the vision of the late Dr. Clare Rennie, Rotary Club of Guelph President in 2005-2006, who first proposed the idea to the Grand River Conservation Authority in 2007.
Since that time, the Guelph Lake Rotary Forest has become a fifteen-year partnership project between the Rotary Club of Guelph, the Rotary Club of Guelph Charitable Foundation, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) and the Grand River Conservation Foundation (GRCF). From 2008 to 2019 the Rotary Club of Guelph hosted annual Earth Day events, inviting the community to play a role in creating the forest. Thousands of people have planted about 60,000 trees and created a vibrant, new natural space.
“Rotary has a long and proud history of service to the community and an appreciation for our natural environment. The Guelph Lake Rotary Forest is such an incredible space at Guelph Lake and we’re proud to showcase it as part of our centennial commitment to the community” says Jim Mackenzie, Centennial Committee Co-Chair, Rotary Club of Guelph.
In addition to the Forest, the partnership expanded to support other projects in the Guelph Lake area, including funding to develop the Guelph Lake Rotary Trail. The trail was completed in late summer 2020. It winds on a 1.6 kilometre loop through the Rotary Forest, and allows the community to explore and connect to nature in a forest they helped create.
“We are very grateful to the Rotary Club of Guelph and the Rotary Club of Guelph Charitable Foundation,” says Chris White, Chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority. “This nature trail could not have been completed without their support and outstanding commitment to conservation at Guelph Lake.”
The Guelph Lake Rotary Forest is open for passive recreational activities, like hiking, between dawn and dusk. Limited trailhead parking is available off of Conservation Road when the area is open. The trail and parking lot are not maintained for winter use.
Below: Members of the Rotary Club of Guelph join Chris White, Chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority, to unveil a new trailhead kiosk at the Guelph Lake Rotary Forest.