Core Areas of Conservation
The Confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers has been described by walkers along the Linear Trail in Preston-Cambridge as an un-paralleled vista of the Grand River Valley. The Cliffs and Alvars are a unique geologic formation in Waterloo Region both in size and in the biodiversity that this limestone substrate supports. Viewed from a distance, wind swept white pines tower above the dense canopy of lowland forest rooted in cold-water seeps that feed Cruickston Creek as it trickles then flows between sand ridges of upland woods in the Hogsback. A stroll along the Grand Alleé trail separating Indian Woods from neighbouring forests reveals a cathedral grove of oak, maple, beech and ash that sprouted as seedlings in pre-settlement times of the latter half of the 1700s.
Not surprisingly, the recommendations of The Environmental Management Plan for these core natural areas are to limit access to public viewing from specified walking trails rather than indiscriminate intrusion. The core natural areas will be monitored to provide a baseline of information for both interpretive and research programs at rare Charitable Research Reserve. The long-term protection these natural areas within rare makes possible long-term scientific research to build an understanding of how ecological systems function within the natural landscapes of southern Ontario. Understanding how these natural systems function will provide both a knowledge base and confidence for our efforts in ecological restoration.