The Byrne Big Creek Nature Preserve Campaign

A property of exceptional ecological value close to McDonalds Corners has been bequeathed to the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust by Joel Byrne.  Those who had the privilege and joy of knowing Joel know what this means.  For those who never had the opportunity, Joel was an exceptional friend to many and particularly to the natural world.

The Byrne Big Creek Nature Preserve has diverse ecosystems including a Provincially Significant Wetland and an impressive fen. It also contains a beautiful hardwood forest and a large meadow.

Joel, the gentle giant, so in tune with the natural world, always carried a jar of peanuts and seed for the furry creatures.  Joel was a strong and valued supporter of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club, and of MMLT to whom he left his 100-acre Big Creek Nature Preserve to care for in perpetuity.  In this act, Joel fulfilled his dream of protecting forever this special wild place that he knew would continue to touch the deepest needs of future generations.

Joel Byrne, naturalist and poet, bequeathed his property to the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust.

It is a significant responsibility to take on the legal and financial obligations that ‘forever’ entails.  The Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust is a small and relatively young charity and cannot do this alone. It will take $48,500 to complete the acquisition and to pay for long term stewardship.

The MMLT is launching a campaign to raise the required funds starting on Nov 28, Giving Tuesday.  Then the next evening, on Wednesday, Nov 29, there will be a celebration of Joel’s wonderful gift at the Barley Mow starting at 7:00pm where there will be a cover charge of $10 that will go towards the fund.

Through the generosity of Irene’s Pub in Ottawa, every donation made by November 30 will be matched up to $5,000.

The MMLT hopes that all those who care about the preservation of wilderness in Eastern Ontario will consider helping to achieve this goal by visiting the MMLT website at and donating generously to the cause.