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 Ancient 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.
The core natural areas will be monitored to provide a baseline of information for both interpretive and research programs at rare. The long-term protection these natural areas within rare makes possible long-term 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.