Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: July 2021
Alexander Stewart Provincial Nature Reserve protects an early successional hardwood forest of maple, American beech, basswood and some less common species such as blue beech and bur oak. It is also located on a plain of clay silt deposits which were left behind when the Champlain Sea retreated from the region. Alexander Stewart is a non-operating park. It features a single hike trail and offers no other facilities or activities.
We spent the morning hiking and swimming in Bonnechere Provincial Park. On the drive to Fitzroy Provincial Park we decided to stop at Alexander Stewart Provincial Nature Reserve to knock another park off our Ontario Parks Challenge. But first we decided to stop for groceries since it was raining. It turns out everyone had the same idea. It was the Friday of the Canada Day long weekend after all. We had no complaints as we had time to kill to wait out the rain. But the weather gods had other ideas …
Entrance into the nature reserve is located along Mill Ridge Road. There’s a sign near the entrance with the name of the park, map of the trails, and a description of how the park was created. The land was donated by Garfield and Ethel Stewart to the province of Ontario in 1966 and is named after their father, Alexander Stewart, who purchased the property in 1860. The park was regulated as a provincial nature reserve in 2003.
The park contains a couple of trails which total less than 2km in length. The first stretch of the trail seemed promising as the path was wide and seemed in good shape. There were even a couple of small boardwalks. There are also a few blue markers, but these were too few and far in between.
It was still lightly raining outside, which only excited the mosquitoes. The further we hiked, the more uncertain we became. The trail starts to narrow and turns into a bit of a muddy mess. It looked like the trail branches off, but at that point we had had enough of exploring (and being bitten by mosquitoes), so we gladly turned around and walked back the way that we came.
Despite my grumblings, I still managed to take a few pictures (while walking as fast as I could).
Onto the next park!
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here