If you find yourself at Arrowhead Provincial Park or in the Huntsville area, make a short jaunt to the Dyer Memorial Nature Reserve. It was created in 1956 by Clifton Dyer in memory of his wife, Betsy. He joined her three years afterwards in 1959.
Dave’s family lived in Huntsville for a time when he was a child. Life in a small Ontario town in the 60s could present a challenge for parents trying to entertain five kids. Fred and Lorraine would pack the children and some picnic fixings into their Mini Minor and make the perilous dirt road trek to the Dyer Memorial, to enjoy the splendid grounds.
Back then it was impeccably kept, like a miniature Butchart Gardens, according to Dave. Decades later, the trust set up to manage the 155 acre site had run out of money. In 2010, the Muskoka Conservancy stepped in and the parcel was donated to continue public enjoyment of the naturally significant lands. They restored the Monument and now maintain several acres around it with native plants. The remaining area has been left to naturalize, providing excellent habitat along the Big East River.
Turning left out of Arrowhead Provincial Park, you can spot the small signs on Williamsport Road, directing you past the very interesting Williamsport Cemetery to Dyer Memorial Road, which is a minimally maintained dirt road. Four wheel drive is recommended after any rain. It’s not a path for fancy, low-slung cars, but that makes it all the better!
Do make an effort to visit this unexpected gem!
Check out another very short, but nifty drone shot of the Memorial in winter.