Grey Matters, an Ontario charitable organization, is sponsoring a “Stop the Quarry” snowshoe fundraiser Mar. 11 just south of Collingwood, Ontario.
The quarry in question is a proposal to develop what’s being called a “mega-quarry” in the area, which is part of the Niagara Escarpment. The development plan is being fiercely resisted by local residents and visitors to the area.
“We wanted to involve people in the local community, and allow them to see and experience the wonderful natural beauty that Georgian Bay has been blessed with; and that would be destroyed if the quarry goes ahead,” said Grey Matters spokesperson Harvey Jones. “What better way to ‘get up close and personal’ than to have a snowshoe through the countryside that is very close to the proposed quarry? The more people can experience and enjoy nature, the more they can appreciate and understand what could be lost to developments such as this; and snowshoeing is the ideal, environmentally friendly, way for people to experience this.”
Jones said the proposed quarry site includes Provincially Significant Wetlands and lands that are home to nine documented Species At Risk. Those species include the endangered Butternut tree, the threatened Bobolink and Western Chorus Frog, as well as the Canada Warbler, Snapping Turtle, Milk Snake, Monarch, Red-headed Woodpecker and American Hart’s Tongue Fern
”Additionally, as this is a rural area, all local residents get their water from private wells. The quarry proposes to go 60 feet below the water table, thus posing a potential risk to the quantity and quality of the local water supply,” Jones added. “This is all complicated as the proposed quarry sits on what is called ‘Karstic’ rock; that is, rock that is very heavily fractured in all directions, and potentially contains underground rivers, thereby making it almost impossible to predict what will happen to the water if the quarry goes ahead. Furthermore, the proposed site is also the headwaters of three rivers (Beaver, Pretty, Batteaux), and their watersheds could disappear if the quarry is dug.”
The fundraiser is being held in partnership with the Highlands Nordic facility near the tiny hamlet of Duntroon.
”It offers great facilities, has a number of groomed trails for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, and is renowned locally as a centre of excellence for outdoor activities,” Jones said. It is only about 1 kilometre from the proposed quarry, and so it was the ideal choice for quality, facilities, and location. Some of our members are also members at Duntroon Highlands Nordic, and they approached the owner who was very enthusiastic to support our cause.”
”We are hoping for 250-300 people to attend. We’ve got hot chocolates on each of the three routes (easy, intermediate, and experienced), and we have hot lunches, and live music afterwards. It should be a great day out for the whole family. If anyone wants to participate, or even just donate, there is more information available at www.stopthequarrysnowshoe.ca.