The Deer Ridge Drive property is at the very southwest corner of TIWLT’s working area. The 106 acres on the east side of Deer Ridge Drive between County Road 2 and Highway 401 are in part a hay filed, a forested ridge and cliff-faces, and wetlands with a winding creek. When TIWLT investigated this property for a donation in 2018-2019, we were completely surprised by the biodiversity and the number of species at risk. The hayfield is a bobolink and eastern meadowlark haven – these two at-risk species nest there is numbers, and the numbers swell to clouds of birds in mid summer when those of other areas take refuge after their nest fields have been cut. Leakey’s Creek flows west across the north end of the property to shallow marsh pools, and then back onto the property again south of the ridge into the property’s Provincially Significant Wetland. Turtles and marsh birds feed and breed in and along the creek and marshes. The high, whaleback calcite ridge is fringed by massive stands of trembling aspen – actually a colony that literally stems from a few single trees. Many endangered butternut trees form a lofty canopy over the ridge’s flanks, and a grassy meadow ripples in the wind on the high ridge top.

Key in conservation strategies is connections to neighbour protected natural areas. The Deer Ridge Drive property does just that. On the north side of 401 here is a Provincial Wildlife Area, and at the northwest corner of the land trust property, Deer Ridge Drive ducks under 401 in an underpass. The road and underpass are lightly used by vehicles, but frequently then is a safe passage for deer, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, members of the weasel family, cottontail rabbits… and many other mammals. Well-worn trails and tracks on the land trust property to and from this passageway show how many animals have avoided the deadly traffic of 401. Deer Ridge Drive is a wildlife rich oasis in the Thousand Islands watershed.

Fund needed: $31,000

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