65-acre farm donation a gift to Big Rideau Lake

RIDEAU LAKES, Dec. 13, 2023 – Butternuts and blue herons rejoice: a 65-acre heritage farm containing wetlands, forests and farm fields has been donated to the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation (RVCF) for perpetual protection along the shores of Big Rideau Lake. 

The picturesque property includes two acres of provincially significant wetland, 34 acres of mixed forest and 23 acres of rolling farm fields, some of which will be planted with endangered butternut trees. The donation also includes two small islands on Big Rideau Lake and 200 metres of waterfront.  

“We’re thrilled to accept this generous gift to the watershed, which will further protect the area’s natural corridors and ensure a brighter future for all who call the watershed home,” said RVCF executive director Diane Downey. “Every protected property is an important piece of the puzzle to support a healthy, functioning watershed.”

Downey said the property offers many opportunities for conservation and stewardship work. It even contains a confirmed colony of black ash trees, which are endangered due to the combined impacts of wetland loss and emerald ash borer damage.

“We’re excited to help this black ash population thrive in the face of an uncertain future,” Downey said.

The property was donated to the Foundation through the federal Ecological Gifts program this fall. It joins dozens of other properties protected by the Foundation and its partners at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), totalling more than 8,200 acres. Most of these lands have been donated by private landowners who wished to contribute to a more sustainable future while unlocking the value of their land. 

The anonymous donor received a fair-market charitable tax receipt for the value of the land, while sparing her beloved farm from the ongoing spread of residential development into the countryside. 

She said she’s thrilled the farm will continue to support the abundant wildlife and plants she’s relished since moving to the property in 1995. Wildlife sightings including bears, coyotes, beaver, porcupines, deer and swans, while native plants like Jack in the Pulpit and fiddleheads bring joy and delight each spring. In the end, she hopes her gift will create a natural refuge for animals and people alike. 

“It’s nice land for walking, so I hope people can enjoy it,” she said. “I want people to enjoy the property and not damage it.”

To learn more about land donation and how to get involved, visit


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