Q) What is rare?
A) Founded in 2001, the rare Charitable Research Reserve exists to preserve, intact in perpetuity, a 900+ acre land reserve along the Grand and Speed Rivers. It is not only a beautiful cultural landscape in one of the fastest growing areas of the country but includes trees more than 240 years old and provides over 24 habitat types – including 6 of 8 pre-settlement landscapes – that are home to a diversity of organisms some of which are species at risk regionally, provincially, nationally and globally. Located within the designated Blair-Bechtel-Cruickston Environmentally Sensitive Landscape, rare’s lands provide a natural laboratory for scientific study, research-based education programs, archaeology and trails. Together we are stewards of this magnificent natural jewel, striving to protect it because of its role in our lives, economies, and even our survival. Our goal is to preserve the land for future generations by focusing on research, education, conservation, and ecological restoration.
Q) Is rare owned by or part of the Grand River Conservation Authority?
A) No. The rare Charitable Research Reserve is a registered a charity; a not for profit organization governed by an arms-length Board of Directors. The organization is very fortunate to have the guidance of a team of experts who form our Advisory Committees (Environmental, Research, Education, and Fundraising). Each committee is supported by a small dedicated staff team led by an Executive Director and include, but are not limited, to a Land Steward, Research Director, Education Director, Community Gardens Manager, Fundraising Manager, Bookkeeper and a Community Relations Manager. Other project managers are hired or contracted as needed.
Q) Are the trails open to the public?
A) Yes. The trails are open to the public free of charge from dawn to dusk. The Grand Trunk Trail (which is part of The Cambridge Riverbank Trail system yet crosses the rare property) is open all year and the Cliffs and Alvars Trails are open from mid March to mid November. Visit our trails section.
Q) Can anyone attend the Hikes, workshops or lectures?
A) Yes. All of the events listed in our Events Calendar are open to the public for a nominal fee.
Q) Can I use my bike or bring a stroller on the trails?
A) Due to the fragile eco-system we work so hard to preserve bikes and strollers are only permitted on the Grand Trunk Trail, Maple Lane, Grand Allee, and Deer Run trails. Thank you for cooperating.
Q) How is rare funded?
A) We are a charitable organization that relies on grants, individual donations, foundation and corporate support.
Q) Where is the best place to park if I want to hike at rare?
A) Trail Head parking is accessible off of George Street or at 768 Blair Rd. (at the rare ECO Centre)
Q) What is the old stone barn on Blair Road being used for?
A) The Slit Barn has recently been renovated to provide a three-season facility for rare events (including our education programs) and private rentals. Along with the adjacent Resource House, this area is known as the rare ECO Centre – the hub of our Every Child Outdoors environmental programming.
Q) What is happening at Springbank Farm?
A) Springbank Farm is the now the site of Here We Grow! Springbank Farms Community Gardens project. This project is seeing the radical transformation of the farm into educational demonstration gardens. These gardens offer a unique learning opportunity for people to develop an understanding of our environment, and are open to the public.