Peterborough County wetland preserved by KLT fundraising

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The Kawartha Land Trust has raised enough funds to purchase and protect a property just south of Burleigh Falls.

In just seven weeks, the KLT raised more $750,000 to acquire an “environmentally important parcel of land” on Stoney Lake, the organization announced Monday.

John Kintare, executive director of the KLT, said for years, the local community has been working to protect the property. When the opportunity ensued to purchase it, the community asked for the KLT’s help in organizing a campaign.

The KLT works to protect natural spaces that might otherwise be sold for development, usually through donation. This was the first time the organization has bought land.

“This was truly a community initiative that was supported by KLT,” Kintare said in a statement. “KLT has led very successful campaigns to support the stewardship needs of specific properties such as Big Island in Pigeon Lake in 2015, but never a campaign to support a purchase.”

Referred to as the Clear Lake North Wetland, the 137-acre property will officially be named after the late Christie Bentham in recognition of a financial gift she left to the KLT.

Bentham, who died in 2015, was very well known on Stoney Lake, the organization stated.

Her daughter, Margaret, a volunteer with the KLT who is also on the KLT’s development committee, said she’s sure her mother is watching from above and is tickled pink, humbled and so happy to be a part of preserving the piece of the lake.

Margaret said Bentham spent all of her summers on the Stoney Lake. Bentham’s grandfather, Richard Russell, had purchased a T-shaped island toward the north side of the lake in 1910. Bentham’s father, Keith, later inherited the property, called Spree Island.

While Bentham spent the remainder of the year in Toronto, Stoney Lake was her home, Margaret said.

Bentham spent her summers at the lake swimming, canoeing and sailing, with cousins and friends. When she grew up and married, a condition of the marriage was that her future husband Will must love Stoney Lake and Spree Island as much as she did, she said.

Fortunately, he did and the couple went on to marry, adopt six children and raised their children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren teaching them to swim, canoe, sail and bail on the lake, Margaret said.

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Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email:

Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner