Binney Corner Nature Preserve
Binney Corner Nature Preserve
This 30 acre site is located northwest of Manitou, two miles North on Highway #244, then two miles West, or two miles West on Highway #3, then two miles North. The site consists of two parcels of wooded and open grassland areas divided by a stream and marshland. A 100 foot floating boardwalk connects the two pieces of land.
There are about three kilometers of hiking trails (colour coded for trail distances) designed in loops so you can walk part or all of them. The site and trails have limited wheelchair accessibility. The site has a restroom, a lookout tower and a shelter picnic/rest area which is also used as an outdoor classroom.
Along the trails you can see over 35 wild flowers in session from spring to fall. There are also birds, waterfowl, and you might see a deer in the woods or a beaver in the water. We welcome schools, groups, seniors, and families, so come and Visit Binney Corner and . . . ."Go Take A Hike!"
Binney Corner History
Binney was the name of the first station master who worked at this railroad siding in the 1880's. The station was removed in 1910, with the growth of the Village of Manitou. This land was purchased in 1992 by the Pembina Valley Conservation District (now called Pembina Valley Watershed District), with assistance from Interprovincial Pipelines Inc. (now called Enbridge Pipelines Inc.), to preserve a small remnant of the prairies that once covered most of southern Manitoba. Three of the major prairie plant communities are represented in this small piece of land.
Grassland - The Original Prairie
Wheat grasses, blue grasses, spear grass, as well as introduced species such as smooth brome and timothy, bind the soil and create habitats for fox, coyote, savanna and song sparrows, crickets and other animals. The prairie blossoms all summer with native flowers such as smooth blue beard tongue, western wild bergamot (the flavor in Earl Grey tea), and hooded lady's tresses. All these plants and animals interact to form a complex and diverse ecosystem. Binney Corner Nature Preserve helps in preserving these plants and animals of the original prairies.
Home in the Aspen Forest
On this moist slope, trembling aspen trees have replaced the prairie and have created a home for a different array of plants and animals. Species that grow in their shelter include sumac, wild currants, alder, and the introduced burdock, while rose bushes appear along forest-grassland interface. Deer, hares, and songbirds look to the bluffs for protective cover; beavers thrive on aspen, eating the bark and using the branches to build their dams, Aspen forest is essential to many species that we recognize as part of the prairies ecosystem.
Marsh - Thanks to the Beaver
Along the water's edge is another distinct environment, hosting such moisture loving plants as spotted water hemlock, water calla, spike-like rushes, and cattails with their wide, flattened leaf blades and familiar dense heads of fluffy seeds. Red-osier dogwood and willows provide ample shelter for frogs, water beetles, yellow-headed and red-wing black birds, and muskrats venturing from their burrows. Without the work of beavers, there would be little or no standing water at this site; by creating a better home for themselves, the beavers have eliminated many drylands species, and created a place where another ecosystem can flourish.
Binney Water Festival
Every year, local elementary students have a chance to get out of the classroom and into nature to learn about environmental sustainability. With the help of our partnerships and local volunteers, the kids spend the day hiking the trails and participating in hands on activities. Students learn about the water cycle, and how we can change/effect the quality and quantity of water.