There was a great turnout for Kimiwan Lake Naturalists Community Hike at the O’Mahony Conservation Area, 9 kilometers south of McLennan on Highway 2.
The early fall weather was perfect: fresh enough to make a brisk walk comfortable and warm enough to loiter and pay closer attention to the environment.
Approximately 40 people showed up at 1pm on Sunday, September 25, from parents with kids in strollers on up, covering a broad spectrum of ages.
The hike took the Owl trail, a 2.2 km loop that gives a representative feel of what the conservation area has to offer.
There are also longer trails offering a more energetic hike for those who wish.
Apart from getting out into the natural environment, walking on wide, well-groomed trails that are almost as effortless to navigate as the sidewalk, there is also a remarkable variety of natural plant and animal life to observe and enjoy.
Along the trails there are periodic signs providing information on specific animals, plants, trees and even varieties of fungi found in the area.
Some of the larger animals are the black bear, moose and white-tailed deer.
There are also the boreal chorus frog, snowshoe hare and the red backed vole.
Among the wide variety of birds that make their habitat in the area is the wood warbler, pileated woodpecker, bald eagle, northern saw-whet owl and the great grey owl.
A number of young kids on the hike, those ages 7 and up in particular, showed a natural, keen interest in the enviroment, an eagerness to see birds and other wildlife and to learn the names of trees and plants they encountered along the trail.
Of course, to keep the O’Mahony Conservation area in ideal condition for visitors, including school field trips, birdwatchers and interest groups, the Kimiwan Lake Naturalists and a committed group of volunteers maintain the easily navigated, self-guided, interpretive trails while at the same time ensuring that animal habitats and natural plant life are not encroached upon.