On a cool, damp morning in mid-October, members of the Saugeen Field Naturalists and representatives from Ontario Nature met at the Kinghurst Forest Reserve for dedication ceremonies. Ontario Nature had recently commissioned a new kiosk for the west entrance to the property, one of their 24 Nature Reserves in southern Ontario. The kiosk is a gem of a timber-frame structure, made of red cedar from BC and local wood, including the shingles which were produced at the Welbeck Sawmill.
The kiosk was built to carry interpretive signs that describe some of the natural history of the Kinghurst Tract and the role of Ontario Nature in protecting wildlife through their Nature Reserve system. A map of the trails makes it easy for visitors to find their way around and explore the beauties of old-growth forest, open meadows and wetlands found here. A notice board will soon be added so that Ontario Nature, and the Saugeen Field Naturalists, who manage the property, can add current information that will be of interest to visitors. In addition, a separate historical plaque will be placed at the site to commemorate the Krug family; Howard Krug who donated the 241 ha tract to Ontario Nature in 1998 and his brother, Bruce who passed away last year and left Ontario Nature and the Saugeen Field Naturalists (SFN) a substantial sum of money to help with the conservation and restoration of the property.
During the ceremony, Megan Anevich, Nature Reserves Coordinator and John Urqhart, Conservation Science Manager, from Ontario Nature (ON) talked about the work that ON and the Saugeen Field Naturalists have done at the Kinghurst Forest property through the years. Trail clean-up and maintenance, and removal of non-native invasive species are some of the on-going chores undertaken by volunteers from the Saugeen Field Naturalists. Activities such as the monitoring of rare species and native plant restoration are carried out by both groups, often as a joint effort. Both groups also frequently hold nature outings at the site. Check websites; www.ontarionature.org and www.saugeenfieldnaturalists.com for dates and times.
After finishing up with pictures of the group in front of the kiosk, everyone hopped in their cars to drive around to the other end of the property for a dedication in memory of Bruce and Howard Krug. Throughout their lives, both brothers had upheld a strong stewardship ethic toward the forests that they owned and managed for their furniture business. They took care to harvest wood sustainably. The Kinghurst Tract was a particular favourite, and both brothers loved to walk the trails and watch the wildlife.
Near the east end of the main trail lies a marsh where birds and other animals are plentiful, and busy with their daily activities in the spring and summer. This marsh was a favourite place for Howard Krug to sit on an old log and watch the action. The log rotted away several years ago, but recently, members of the SFN conceived the idea of bringing another old log to the site, and dedicating it in memory of Bruce and Howard Krug. A fallen maple was located along one of the trails, and cut to the appropriate length. The 7-foot long, 2.3-foot diameter log, was then transported to the farm of a Jon Radojkovic, a carpenter who loves to work with old wood. He cut a slab from one side of the log and constructed a bench with the slab for a back. The 2200 pounds-plus structure was then transported back to the Kinghurst Tract and installed at the side of the marsh so beloved of the Krugs. It was this bench that was the focus of the second dedication ceremony on October 18th. Members of the group spoke of the generosity of the Krug brothers, and their love of the forest. Those who were involved in the finding of the log and the making and transport of the bench told of their difficulties and successes. The tree, from which the bench was made, was calculated from the rings to be about 200 years old when it fell. The log bench will probably last for another 40 to 50 years, welcoming visitors to sit and watch the wildlife who find a home in this lovely place.