Generous donation protects significant creek and creates lasting local legacy

A 67-acre farm between Bayfield and Goderich on the shores of Lake Huron will be protected for future generations thanks to the altruistic donation to the Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy (HTLTC) by Ilse Elliott and her late husband William Elliott.

In late February, Ilse donated Woodburne Farm to the Land Trust and included a stewardship endowment fund to help conserve the property. “We have had a good living in Canada and this is an opportunity for us to contribute to the people of Canada,” Ilse said.

The farm means a lot to the family and when it became surplus to her needs, she started to think about what she would like to have happen with the property. Ilse  connected with the Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy to see how the work of protecting the land and water could continue.

“We did our best to protect Naftel’s Creek by planting trees and I wanted to make sure the land would be well looked after for many years to come,” she said.

Ilse met with representatives from the Land Trust several times to discuss her goals for the farm and how her vision fit with the Land Trust’s conservation mandate. A staff advisor prepared a draft management plan that outlined actions that would protect soil and water health as well as natural heritage.

The name Woodburne comes from the Scottish words for trees and creek. Naftel’s Creek is one of hundreds of streams that flow directly into Lake Huron. It has coldwater fish species including several species of trout.

The Elliotts’ legacy of tree planting continues this springtime when the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority will plant nearly 12,000 seedling trees on the agricultural land. Although not a requirement of receiving the land from Elliott, the Land Trust is pleased that this can be started this year.

Tree cover is low in the county and planting trees on Woodburne Farm is significant for soil and water conservation as well as wildlife habitat and clean air.

“We are thrilled to receive this generous donation and will work to continue the legacy of caring for the land and water,” said Roger Lewington, Chairman of the HTLTC.

The Land Trust Conservancy already owns two smaller properties – Mayhew Tract near Holmesville and Bayfield River Flats at Bayfield. Woodburne Farm is the largest parcel and has key environmental benefits, particularly to the health of Lake Huron.

The HTLTC was formed in 2011, by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, a registered Canadian charity, and the land trust serves the area of the historic Huron Tract from the early days of settlement. The HTLTC is a volunteer organization with a separate board of directors and is a member of the Ontario Land Trust Alliance.

The Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy accepts donations and bequests of land and gives people in the Huron Tract area a way to make a positive difference by helping protect and restore land, water, and nature.

For more information on the Land Trust Conservancy, please call 1-888-286-2610 or visit