Hike In Huron - Huron County Forests
By Deb Sholdice
Huron County’s hiking guide bills the Moreland Tract as “Farmland to Forest in Sixty Years” and much of the charm in walking this trail is watching for remnants of the homestead that remain visible through the tangled overgrowth.
The homestead was settled by Irish sea captain Hugh Moreland in 1848 and operated as homestead and farm until purchased by the County in 1963. Over 60,000 trees were planted as part of a province-wide reforestation project. The hiking trails are primarily logging trails and can be rough. The most interesting path is a newly marked side trail that takes you past the foundations of the old homestead and barn. While the blue markers are fairly clear, the trail itself is not worn down yet and requires sturdy footwear.
The main loop is a well-traveled farm lane but descends into a low-lying area that after rain may not be passable due to pooling water. The difficulty of the trail is marked at 2 & 3, especially as a fairly new trail is probably more enjoyable for hikers who enjoy a challenge. Hawkins Line east of St. Augustine Line.
The Rodgers Tract on the other hand has more well-travelled paths and while it can be uneven the trail is not difficult to navigate.
The 13 Huron County forest tracts are a legacy of the massive reforestation effort across southern Ontario that was undertaken by municipalities in partnership with the province starting in the early 1900s.
Huron County residents and visitors are now reaping the benefits of that vision with over 1,500 acres of managed forests to provide educational and recreational opportunities.
On Hoover Line just south of Westfield Road lies Rodgers Tract. The trail consists of one loop around a pond and a one long rolling straight path along a ridge ending with a view over a large gravel pit.
The ponds and lowland marsh areas sing with the sound of frogs in the spring, and you will see a variety of nesting ducks early in the year.
Portions of the trail reach heights where you feel like you are on a treetop walk.