The Schneider/Musselman section of the Avon Trail is often called “The Jewel”.
In 1997-98, Jim Fischer approached Fred and Jane Schneider to see if the Trail could be pass through their property. His request was enthusiastically granted. Reuben Musselman also graciously made his woods available – with kilometres of pathways – to complete the trail running from Wilmot Line to Carmel Koch Road. The Musselman trail was established before it became part of the Avon Trail, except for minor reroutes to deal with path erosion.
The Schneiders purchased four farms and added acreage over time, beginning in 1967. They immediately began tree planting with the assistance of Ministry of Natural Resources. Tree stock came from St. Williams, at one cent per tree. Their property includes woods and fields on the south side of Carmel Koch Road. The family keeps the trails cut where long grass is a problem.
In Jim Fischer’s words: “The new section offers an interesting combination of hardwood and softwood forest, and open meadows. Splendid views of the valley are available from several hilltops along the route. Our thanks to the Schneiders and Musselmans for sharing their piece of paradise with us”.
These two properties are designated Environmentally Sensitive Landscapes (ESL) in Waterloo region. Jane Schneider is an avid hiker and skier – and these trails are open only to skiers in winter because walking destroys the ski tracks.
We are much indebted to the Schneiders and Musselmans for their forward thinking in creating and maintaining the wonderful trails for a community seeking a meaningful connection to nature and the out-of-doors.