The 92-acre property of land at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre has been protected through an easement agreement to help limit urban sprawl and provide a buffer for Wellington County farmlands and beyond. This property is located just north of Guelph and is adjacent to Guelph Lake Conservation Area, contributing to its 4,200 acres of permanently protected area that stretches much of the northern boundary of the City of Guelph. This is OFT’s first land protection project in the organization’s home community of Guelph-Wellington.
The 92-acres of land protected under the OFT easement is associated with the Ignatius Jesuit Centre’s 230-acre farm and 2700-acre home for the Centre’s spiritual retreat house and natural lands. The land has important natural conservation values and is also home to the Centre’s Old-Growth Forest project.
The Ignatius Jesuit Centre features over 15 kilometres of trail-places that draw from the geography and history of the Centre and allows visitors to traverse many different landscapes and ecosystems. The trails map can be viewed at the following link:
The OFT easement on this property is quite significant as it is the first easement of its kind in Canada that sees a Catholic Order partnering with a land trust to make a commitment to permanent land protection. In addition to this precedent-setting partnership, OFT reached a significant milestone as this easement is its 10th protected property and 1,000th acre of protected land.
It is hopeful that this easement opens the door to additional land conservation initiatives to take root in communities throughout Ontario where there are religious institutional land holdings and willing land trust partners.