An open letter to Central council on the fate of Wagg’s Wood

It was worth preserving

Dear Mayor Stephens and members of council,

I am adding my voice to those concerned about the decision to sell some of Mindemoya’s forest parkland.

I have been to Wagg’s Woods many times since returning to live in Mindemoya in 2003. The trail lacks the professionalism we see in many trails these days, but I was glad the forest had been set aside for conservation and recreation. I thought someday it would be fixed up, but at least it was there, it was worth preserving, it had potential.

It still does. An old yellow birch, the biggest tree I’ve ever seen on Manitoulin, is still there. The creekbed is littered with fascinating fossils. And in this hardwood forest, there are always pleasant surprises, like the jack in the pulpits I found in the spring or the partridge I spotted a few days ago.

The public hasn’t been informed as to the amount of proceeds of the sale, but whatever the amount, it would be some comfort if the money was dedicated to making improvements to the remaining 42 acres of Wagg’s Woods. A more prominent entrance with perhaps a picnic spot would help. I’ve spoken to many local people who don’t seem to know it’s there. I can imagine better trails, with a few benches, signage identifying the 20 species of trees in the woods and stone stairs leading up a bluff to another trail at the south end, perhaps even a lookout…and so on. Perhaps shrubs on the periphery would help esthetically. The Municipality could start by taking up the Manitoulin Nature Club’s offer to help develop a plan and improve the trails, as they said in a recent letter (published in The Expositor July 13) and hire professionals too. Misery Bay Provincial Park and Bebamikawe Memorial Trail in Wikwemikong are two lovely Island trails that could inspire ideas.

I urge council to dedicate the proceeds of the sale to improvements and expansion of the trails in Wagg’s Woods, and to make it clear that the park will be preserved: the 42 acres remaining are not for sale.

Yours sincerely,

Jan McQuay