Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 2012 - Our visit to the Conservation Authority Headquarters


Yesterday, we had the opportunity to learn about the local conservation authority: the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority. John Cotrill, CAO provided us with information about the responsibility of the authority and its history.

In 1985, the North Grey Region and the Sauble Valley Conservation Authorities joined together making the area managed by the Authority quite large (11,000 Hectares or 27,181.591961 acres or 42.471 square miles.



In 1959, the Authorities published their conservation reports. These large volumes provide useful information on the history of the area and are worthwhile checking if you are doing genealogical and historical research in the areas covered by the previous authorities.  Copies are available at the Conservation headquarters and at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library.

Kirsta McKee, Community Relations Co-ordinator, talked about the history of two of their managed properties. Spirit Rock Conservation area near Wiarton, Ontario is also known as the Corran Estate or MacNeil Estate. Alexander McNeill purchased the property but his wife never lived to see the completion of the home. The house had seventeen rooms after an addition was added. The property once had wonderful gardens and orchards and farmland. McNeill was a Member of Parliament from 1880-1901. After his death in 1932, the property went to his son, Malcolm. When he died the property went to the housekeeper. She was unable to maintain it and sold it in 1960 to someone from Toronto. The property was vandalized. A fire damaged most of the building shortly after the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority purchased the property in in 1976. The ruins are a reminder of this once majectic home.


photo at Spirit Rock Conservation Area - August 2011

She also talked about Bruce's Caves Conservation Area, once winter home of Robert Bruce who fled Scotland. He died in 1908. This property is in the former Keppel Township.

The Authority headquarters' property has trails and an arboretum and visitors are welcome to explore. The linked map shows the areas under the Authorities' jurisdiction. Visitor's are welcome at the recreation areas.

The July meeting will be in Leith.

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