Champion for Wagg’s Wood park proposes trails with newfound funds

MINDEMOYA—They say that behind every cloud there lies a silver lining and Jan McQuay and the Manitoulin Nature Club are hoping the recent sale of a small portion of the park known as Waggs’ Wood will provide the impetus (and funds) to make improvements to the remaining 40 acres of the property.

“I am kind of hoping that the town can take the money that they got for the part of the property they sold to make some improvements,” said Ms. McQuay.

Both Ms. McQuay and the Manitoulin Nature Club were cited as among the people the municipality was interested in discussing ideas about what can be done with Wagg’s Wood going forward.

“It is really too early to say what part the Manitoulin Nature Club might play,” said club president Marcel Beneteau of Kagawong. “We don’t meet over the summer and our first meeting is after the end of September.”

The club intends to send a delegation to a meeting slated to take place with the municipality on September 13, and a group of club members are planning to get together on September 6 or 7 to discuss the meeting—the date was not yet set in stone. “We are just going to see what they are considering,” noted Mr. Beneteau, who had recently taken a tour of the property with Ms. McQuay.

“Jan is a member of the club, but she is taking on a lot of this on her own. We have to have a meeting of the club before we can see what kind of involvement we might have.”

All parties admit that the park has been flying largely under the radar in recent years.

“A lot of people aren’t really aware of it,” said Ms. McQuay. “The sign is kind of back from the road and it is pretty low, about three feet high.”

Mr. Beneteau noted that a lot of the best parts of the trail going through the woods seems to have been the part of the property that has been sold and is being developed.

Ms. McQuay stressed that she was not interested in becoming part of any controversy surrounding the sale or disposal of the land, but rather is focussed on what positive results could come of the property now that it is on the community radar.

“I have not been up there a lot myself,” she admitted, noting that she regularly goes out to the Misery Bay park site. “I think the reason it has not been as popular is that a lot of it is close to the highway and the developments. That’s not really what people want to see.”

But the property extends up beyond a cliff even though the current trails do not, so there may be possibilities to explore.

Trails have been a popular destination for both tourists and local residents across the province and Waggs’ Wood may yet prove to be a positive asset to the town—an undiscovered gem.