Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Among the Tall Pines

Early rhododendrons

In Milton, Nova Scotia, just outside the town of Liverpool, there's a riverside park that is one of the area's natural treasures. Pine Grove Park was established by the Bowater Mersey Paper Company in 1987 to celebrate Queen's County being named as the Forestry Capital of Canada for that year. In the winter of 2012 it was turned over to the residents of the county.

Tall pines along the trail

With 1.6 km (one mile) of looping trails, a swimming beach, toilet facilities and a picnic area, it's a pleasant recreational park. In spring and early summer, though, the park is ablaze with blossoms: rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and other flowers are abundant and several woodland glade are perfect habitat for pink lady slipper orchids. Many of the flowering trees and shrubs were selected and donated by retired naval captain Richard Steele, an Order of Canada recipient known as "Captain Rhododendron".

Soft pink rhododendron blossoms

The Mersey River flows past Pine Grove Park, and provides nesting areas for teal and black duck. The winding trails make a marvelous place to break up a long drive with a peaceful walk through the tall pines. The park is just minutes from Nova Scotia Route 103 at Exit 19 and is well worth a stop if you're in the area.

Mersey River

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