Van Niel Woodlands Nature Reserve
Working with the US Nature Conservancy, the Rideau Waterway Land Trust was able to accept the donation of this 23-acre property in 1999. The Van Niel family donated the property in memory of their parents who had vacationed in this area since the 1920’s. This property, known as Van Niel Woodlands, is situated on a rocky point on the western shore of Cranberry Lake just east of the entrance to Dog Lake, an area known as Fiddlers Elbow. This property has over 3,000 feet of shoreline on the Rideau and includes a small island that sits immediately adjacent.
The property is entirely treed and has remained untouched for generations. The northerly portion supports a mature deciduous forest while the southerly area has mixed forest with a significant amount of White Pine. The dominant trees include White Pine, Hemlock, Red Oak, Red Maple and White Birch. The entire property is considered upland forest with no significant wetland areas.
The property provides habitat to a variety of songbirds, Pileated Woodpeckers, Herons and White-tailed Deer. Although the volunteers of the Land Trust have not spotted them on the property, the area is a known habitat for the threatened Grey Rat Snake. Since this property shows very little disruption and currently supports a healthy ecosystem, the management plan allows the property to be maintained in its current state with very little remedial action planned.