Wagg’s Wood cleanup crew powered by volunteers and local business

Several generations of the Wagg descendants came out for the effort, including Ms. Meehan, her mother Gail, A.J. Wagg’s daughter Matti, granddaughters Patricia Gilchrist and Elizabeth Hodgins.

MINDEMOYA—A dedicated group of hardy volunteers rolled up their sleeves, donned work gloves and safety equipment and spent the Monday of the August holiday long weekend cleaning up the trail at the A.J. Wagg’s Wood Memorial Park and Trail in Mindemoya.

Those hard working volunteers included Patricia Meehan, Anna Barnett, Linda Lee, Marcel Beneteau, Suzanne Robson, Jan McQuay, Peter Barnett and Guy Nielen who came out to collect and pile the wood and debris, while Mike Laende and Maria Diebolt were hired to cut and chip the dead wood. Many of those volunteers are members of the Manitoulin Nature Club.

Safety equipment included a hard hat and steel-toed footwear (required) and volunteers were also advised to bring safety glasses and earmuffs or ear plugs.

All volunteers were also required to complete a four-module online safety certification course entitled ‘Basic Safety Awareness Training’ that could be found at the Ministry of Labour website.

The majority of the work at Wagg’s Wood involved hauling brush to the chipper.

While the work was underway, the volunteers got a good indication of why what they were doing was an important asset to the community. The Ajewole family of Cambridge met the workers as the family were exploring Manitoulin Island for the first time.

The Ajewole family happened by the work zone on their first trip to the Island. They proved the Wagg’s Wood trail is fit for the whole family.

“It was a complete coincidence that we stumbled upon them,” said Rebecca Ajewole. “We were exploring the area, staying in Tehkummah, when we were looking for a trail.” With a small child in tow, the Ajewoles were not up to challenging the Cup and Saucer, but the Wagg’s Wood trail suited them just about perfectly.

“It was great,” said Ms. Ajewole, who is a social worker when not enjoying her vacation on Manitoulin Island. Her husband works in the financial tech industry. “The only thing was it was hard to find. There were no signs directing us to where we could find the trail. But we when we stumbled upon the people working on the trail we were able find out all kinds of great information.”

The family were taking a well-needed break from extensive renovations being conducted on their Cambridge home, needed to accommodate their expanding family (currently four children).

The children were able to easily navigate the pathway, noted Ms. Ajewole. “Our children discovered a salamander on the walk,” she said. “It was coming out of the rocks. Of course we left the salamander be, but it was wonderful to see it in its natural habitat.”

“We were really pleased to see the number of volunteers who came out to help with the work to clean up Wagg’s Wood,” said Ms. Meehan, whose family provided the property for the green space. The park is named in memorium of Ms. Meehan’s great grandfather, A.J. Wagg. His daughter Matti was one of the volunteers who came out to help.

In addition to the brush and fallen timber that needed cleaning up, the volunteers found a significant amount of old car furniture and even an old stove damper from a sugar bush operation.

“It would be great to see a buffer zone of trees set up where the trail runs alongside local businesses,” said Ms. Meehan. “It might be a great public relations move for those businesses to put up trees to form that buffer.”