Interpretive trail for wetlands

Naturalist donates $600,000 to the project

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Just off the highway to Grand Beach is one of the province's biggest natural wonders and one the province wants to share so it stays that way.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/10/2011 (4120 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Just off the highway to Grand Beach is one of the province’s biggest natural wonders and one the province wants to share so it stays that way.

The Manitoba government will build a $1-million interpretive trail and boardwalk along the eastern edge of the Brokenhead Wetland Ecological Reserve, a 563-hectare site between Beaconia on Lake Winnipeg and Brokenhead Ojibway First Nation just to the south.

The project was announced Monday by Premier Greg Selinger and will be supported by a $600,000 donation from local naturalist and photographer Eugene Reimer to be administered by the Winnipeg Foundation.

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“For me, it’s one of those things that when you dig into it and learn more about it, you realize we’re doing totally the right thing here,” Selinger said.

Reimer, who’s battling cancer, was unable to attend the announcement, but said in a statement he’s happy the area will be protected.

“It gives me great pleasure to make a contribution toward the protection of the wetlands where I have enjoyed exploring, photographing and learning about nature,” he said.

The reserve, about three times the size of Assiniboine Park, features 23 species of rare and uncommon plants, 28 of 36 native orchid species including the ram’s head lady’s slipper and eight of 10 species of carnivorous plants.

The area was designated an ecological reserve in 2004, and the boardwalk will be built to preserve that by keeping people to a designated trail rather than tromping wherever they please. Work on the trail is to start next year and take two years to finish.

Doris Ames, of the Brokenhead Wetlands Debwendon Inc., said the trail is needed because the area is seeing more frequent visitors.

Ames said her hope is to see the ecological preserve expanded to three times its size to further protect the wetland.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS From right: Doris Ames, Rick Frost, CEO of the Winnipeg Foundation, Premier Greg Selinger and Greg Dewar, MLA for Selkirk.

“There’s so much cottage development and drainage and all kinds of other things going on that you need a buffer around the thing,” she said.

The planned twinning of Highway 59 to Grand Beach will also not impact the wetlands or the interpretive trail as planners worked with the province to account for it.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

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