cliffLAND, previously referred to as the Alba Wilderness Property and once home to the Alba Wilderness School is composed of 1250 acres of beautiful wilderness located high in the hills of the Lanark Highlands. At the end of the Hills of Peace Road sits this special piece of the Canadian Shield that meets the limestone of the east and south, made especially unique by significant underlay of marble that produces an incredible richness of biodiversity. It is also part of that wonderful narrow ribbon or biological corridor known as the Frontenac Axis, stretching from Algonquin to the Adirondacks.
Now under a conservation easement with the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT), it is a place set aside for the preservation of nature and is the second largest, fully legally protected area of Lanark County, second only to Murphy’s Point Provincial Park. It is a place where the forest will be allowed to develop and mature into old growth, never to be liquidated or marred by industry; and where logging, hunting, trapping, and the recreational use of motorized vehicles is banned.
Now, and in years, to come this property can be enjoyed by those seeking tracts of wilderness left to its own wild and mysterious agenda. A place where the primordial spirit in us may be stirred into rediscovering ancient rhythms; and a place where writers, artists, and wilderness seers may develop and share their insights as they have in the past.
This special place has been voted one of the Seven Wonders of Lanark County and declared by Environment Canada to be a significant ecologically sensitive property.
Besides being forever protected, the property has many unique and attractive features. As one walks past the residence, a quiet meadow is encountered at the edge of a steep waterfall-filled cascading creek that invites one to stop and stay awhile. The trails are all uphill from there, but so is the beauty. If you know where to look you can find an oasis of 150-year-old pine and hemlock that somehow escaped the logger’s axe. Even more special is a cedar grove hidden away from sight, where a grandfather cedar tree over 300 years of age resides and almost demands that one stand in silence and respect.
Many threatened and rare species call this place home and these treasures will likely grow in number as the forest ecosystem matures. Beavers have helped shape the ponds and meadows on the way to a small wilderness lake. A favored hike takes one to the heights of a high rocky peaked ridge book-ended by Pike’s Peak and Blueberry Mountain. The latter was voted as one of the Seven Wonders of Lanark County and constitutes the highest scenic lookout in the County. From this vantage point one can see miles and miles of rolling hills and unsettled forests stretching into the distance. Sitting quietly one is often treated to soaring Turkey Vultures and occasionally to the Bald Eagle. Here you may be treated to the hauntingly beautiful cry of loons from distant lakes, as well as the wild chorus of wolves. Bears and occasionally moose are also seen here.
A unique aspect of the Conservation Easement held by MMLT is that the property will always be open to the public regardless of ownership. The Clifford family is delighted that the public today or a thousand years from now will be able to visit and discover the healing restorative powers of nature.
The Clifford’s believe that humans, wildlife, and pure wilderness can co-exist together. Hikers are welcome to take a self-guided walk to Blueberry Mountain only. There are other trails on the property that are available by guided hike, please arrange in advance. All visitors are required to sign a waiver of liability.