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Brant Tract County Forest

Posted: June 5, 2007

Located just south of Paisley, the Brant Tract County Forest consists of 781 acres of recreational potential.

The property is reclaimed agricultural land that was reforested in the 1950s to combat severe farmland erosion. Now an amazing and diverse forest stands on the acreage. The forest has been harvested commercially and the established logging roads and access trails now provide an opportunity for the development of a series of multi-use recreational trails.

Work on developing the extensive trail system began this fall, and a basic trail network should be in place for the summer of 2002.

Planners are excited about the trails, but are also taking their time to make sure they develop a practical, safe and enjoyable multi-use facility.

Presently existing trails within the forest, mainly logging and access roads, are being reopened and cleared for users. On our visit, we spotted lots of dog walkers and hikers, as well as signs that spoke of other users. Over the winter months, cross country skiers started to use the trails and an already active snowmobile club continued their use. Dog sleds are welcome on the trails, and a few teams made use of the property this winter.

While some people are skeptical about the idea of multi-use trail facilities, Brant Tract's 781 acres will be well organized into areas specified for each use. Trails will be designated for certain uses and the hope is that users will respect those decisions.

The land is managed by the Bruce County Agriculture Tourism and Planning Committee. Work at the Brant Tract is a pilot project that is hoped to form the basis of a recreational plan for other county forest properties.

The county is working with the Saugeen Shores Snowmobile Club and the Huron Shores ATV Club to plan future trail use. The snowmobile club has proposed building a warming hut while the ATV club hopes to build a network of ATV trails on some of the higher sections of the forest. In all cases, trail locations are being chosen with environmental impact in mind.

In addition to existing roadways and trails in the forest, some singletrack bike trails are being built. If all goes well, organizers hope to host a mountain bike race sometime this spring or summer.

One of the most amazing things about the Brant Tract is the diversity of the land. There are an incredible number of tree species in the forest. Ranging from hardwood to softwood, black cherry, poplar, cedar and everything in between. As a result, there is a diversity of wildlife on the property.

PorcupineA quiet visitor can hope to see deer, wild turkeys, fox, rabbits, partridge, coyotes, porcupines, raccoons and many bird species. There are beaver dams in the swampy areas and an increasingly large waterfowl population.

The property also fronts on the Saugeen River in some areas, making for more wildlife observing opportunities as well as a great view.

The Brant Tract trail development presents many exciting opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. However, the development needs the help of volunteers to make the trails a reality. Several workdays are planned for the spring. If you are interested in seeing the area and lending a hand with trail development, please contact Dave or Andrew at 519-353-1001 or 519-375-0831.

If you plan on visiting the Brant Tract, stop by the Paisley Chamber of Commerce and staff will point you in the right direction as well as provide you with an up-to-date map of the trails.

Uses: This developing trail emphasizes multi-use. Hikers, cyclists, skiers, dogsleds, snowshoers, ATVs and snowmobiles will be welcome on the trail in their designated areas.

Trail Length: Approximately 30 kilometres of trail.

Directions: The main parking lot is located 6 kilometres south of Paisley on Concession 12.

Groomed/ungroomed: The trails are not groomed for skiing but are groomed for snowmobiling during the winter months.

Trail Fee: No user fee.

Trail Highlight: Incredible diversity of tree species and terrain within the forest. Watch for wildlife throughout the area.

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