Farmers find themselves between a rock and a hard place…literally
Murphys Point Provincial Park is on the edge of the Frontenac Arch and the St. Lawrence Lowlands. When settlers first arrived in the area, they weren’t expecting the type of ground they encountered. Instead of finding deep topsoil they found bedrock just under the surface. Quality farming plots were difficult to find and many farmers were unable to produce enough crops to clothe and feed their families. Other sources of income had to be sought. Side ventures included logging, trapping and maple syrup production, but late in the 1800’s what the ground kept from them in the form of crops it gave to them in the form of minerals. But why here?…
The region is part of the Canadian Shield. It is a vast region of ancient rock, which once consisted of the tallest mountain range in earth’s history. Through time, those mountains eroded exposing the metamorphic rock formed by the great heat and pressure of the earth. Some areas consist of these metamorphic minerals in small pockets where the existing shale was heated. In other places magma was able to inject it’s way into fractures and fill vast areas. The slow cooling magma had room to grow extensive veins of crystals leaving a gift for the struggling homesteaders. It was discovered that the region was rich in Apatite, Mica and Feldspar. Apatite, rich in phosphorous, was mined and ground for fertilizer. Mica, with its thin, transparent mineral sheets, was used for woodstove windows and as insulators. As the economic value of these minerals was recognized, farmers began scouring their lands for accessible veins. Thus a mining economy was born.
The Silver Queen Mine Trail takes you in the footsteps of the men and women who worked these lands. The trail is a step back in time with amazing natural beauty and a history of hard working Canadians determined to work their land.
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Plan Your Visit
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How to get to Silver Queen Mine Trail
Driving: To park a day-pass must be purchased from the Murphys Point Provincial Park registration office. Once you have your pass, exit the park, turn left on the Lally Rd (Rt 21) and continue approximately 2.5 km to the trail head parking lot.
Cycling: Only the main gravel trails are accessible for cycling.
How to explore Silver Queen Mine Trail
Pick up a trail guide at the trail head then make your way along this 2 km interpretative loop. Numbered informational signposts correspond to entries in the trail guide to tell the history of the mine and highlight the many sites along the way. The best way to fully experience this trail is during one of the parks open houses or guided tours (check here for tour schedule). The mine and recreated bunkhouse are open to visitors only during open houses and guided tours. On your way back around the loop, take the Beaver Pond Trail as an alternate return trip and pass through a flooded section of forest, where you might get a chance to see beavers hard at work. While you are at this end of the park, you can also check out the remains of the Lally Homestead and if you’re up for it, hike the .8 km Lally Homestead trail.
Click Here for a trail map of Murphys Point Provincial Park
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