W. Gibb–Leader staff,
IROQUOIS – The bronze plaque, inlaid on a boulder, which marks the start of the hiking trail in the Two Creeks Forest Conservation Area signals Don Graham’s contribution to his community.
Don Graham Trail Dedication
In recognition of Mr. Graham’s role in preserving the natural state of Two Creeks Forest for the use and enjoyment of all.
A large group of friends, committee members and officials gathered at the Two Creeks Forest Area on Saturday, November 3, to honour Don Graham, whose efforts to preserve this forest region guarantee that generations of area residents will be able to enjoy it for years to come.
“This Trail is a real jewel in South Dundas,” said Lawrence Levere, chair of the South Nation Conservation Authority. “You were right there with me, Don, when we took ownership of this former Domtar forest and began our dreams. We set up the trail, got the bridge built and groomed the route for everyone. Without you, Don, this trail would not be here.”
Several speakers echoed Levere’s words.
“Don is a passionate guy, especially about conservation,” said John Pollack, chair of the former Diamonds group, the organization (of which Don was a founding member) that determined to preserve and develop the Two Creeks Area. “We took our name, Diamonds, from the belief that there were a lot of ‘jewels’ along the St. Lawrence River that needed to be preserved and protected. We also wanted to do something for our community that was sustainable.
Don was always a strong advocate of hiking trails, and he is a very persistent guy. He got the support and the concessions he needed to get this project going. He remains a real force in this community.”
The Don Graham Hiking Trail, like the Two Creeks Forest, is jointly under the aegis of the South Nation Conservation and the Township of South Dundas.
Mayor Steven Byvelds stressed the township council’s indebtedness to Don Graham for ensuring that the councillors all saw the merit in the conservation project, and got behind it.
“People like Don offer councils like us imagination,” Byvelds said. “They help us to think outside the box. Don was instrumental in presenting us with a vision for our area, and his persistence meant that this Trail come to exist. It is really fitting that today it be named after him.”
For Don Graham, the dedication ceremony was “most satisfying and exciting. A trail like this is linked to conservation, to recreation and to education. I know that schools are planning to use this site in their studies,” he said to the audience.
“With this trail, we wanted to recognize the past history of our region, and to acknowledge that this forest is a valuable piece of property for the future.”
He thanked the many people and organizations who had made the Forest preserve and the Trail possible. “And my family,” he added, “has been right in the forefront with their support and ideas.”
The Trail is closed to any kind of motorized vehicles and to hunters.
Everyone is welcome to hike its four kilometres, taking in the region’s unique forestation and wild life. The parking lot will be kept plowed in the winter, and the South Nation Conservation Authority will ensure the maintenance of the property.
“We welcome people to get involved, to themselves undertake the stewardship of this area,” Don Graham said. “We have built this place: now we want to see people use it.”