Frontenac Arch Biosphere Trails Fest runs this weekend

·3 min read

Throughout the Frontenac Arch Biosphere (FAB), from Sydenham to Brockville, participants will be able to explore the UNESCO biosphere.

The FAB Trails Fest 2021 will feature three days of guided tours, led by FABJulie and Entomologist Chris, who will take hikers through the trails and share their knowledge of the biosphere.

"It's an annual festival that we do every August," said Dana Stephenson, sustainability intern at the biosphere.

Typically, the three days of hiking in August are a fundraising event but this year the cost to hike the variety of trails is pay-what-you-can, although an entry fee to some parks may be required.

The FAB Trails Festival is sponsored by a few different organizations and businesses.

Donations help the FAB UNESCO biosphere with different programs and projects.

The hiking event kicked off at Gould Lake Conservation Area on Friday morning, led by FABJulie.

"The event encourages people to get outside and explore the biosphere," said Stephenson. "It really works to have all these amazing trails in the biosphere region."

The second hike of the day on Friday started at 1p.m., at the McGillivray Road and Cataraqui Trail intersection. Hikers hiked through the Cataraqui Trail to Frank's Culvert, a small railway culvert and a tunnel blasted out of the natural limestone.

On Saturday, hikers will be exploring Charleston Lake in one day at the Hemlock Ridge Trail parking lot. Hike three will start at 10 a.m., at the Hemlock Ridge Trail, a 1.7 moderate hiking trail that takes hikers through a forest of hemlock and pine trees.

Hike four, Beechwoods Trails, is an easy hike and is adjacent to Hemlock trail. Like the third hike, it will also be led by FABJulie, through a mature forest with diverse habitats at 10:30 a.m.

Following this hike, at 1:30 p.m., hikers can walk through a moderate two-kilometre hike along the shoreline of Charleston Lake.

To explore the Eastern Biosphere, Entomologist Chris will take the lead on Sunday with three hikes.

Hike six starts at Mallorytown Landing at 10 a.m., the Smokey Fire trail, which is 850 metres, and the Six Nations Trail, which is 1.1 kilometres. Entomologist Chris will take hikers through the relatively easy hike on the Six Nations Trail that will take them rough a rocky mixed forest.

Between the Thousand Islands Parkway and Highway 401, Jones Creek is the seventh hike during the trails fest. The hike will start at noon, and features diverse forest and wetland habitats.

Parking fees apply for both hikes six and seven.

"It's a great way to get outside, and the hikes are guided, so it's a good reason to check out a hike if someone hasn't done it already," said Stephenson.

The eighth and final hike takes place at 4 p.m., at Lyn Valley Conservation. The trail is short, and great for families with young children. The trail features a spring-fed pit and provides a swimming spot with a sandy beach.

Space is limited on each hike: 10 people per hike to ensure social distancing is followed, and people who want to take part in the hikes will have to reserve their spot on the trails they want to explore. Names and contact information will be collected in the event of a COVID case in one of the groups.

"The biosphere is beautiful, it's a good time to get out," added Stephenson.

Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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