Short Hills Nature Sanctuary

NOTICE: Short Hills Nature Sanctuary is CLOSED due to the recent discoveries of invasive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) and Jumping Worms (Amynthas spp., Metaphire spp., Pheretima spp.).


The Short Hills Nature Sanctuary is located on the Niagara Peninsula within the Fonthill Kame Moraine, a unique landscape consisting of glacial sands and silts dissected by Twelve Mile Creek and its tributaries. Between the nature sanctuary’s forested hills are riparian wetlands and the headwaters of Effingham Creek, a coldwater tributary of Twelve Mile Creek. The site contains a rare example of old growth Carolinian forest known as the “Valley of the Big Trees” which includes huge Tulip, Oak and Beech trees. The sanctuary provides habitat for several species at risk including the Cucumber Tree, Broad Beech Fern, American Chestnut, Cerulean Warbler and Southern Flying Squirrel.


Ecology and Highlights

The Short Hills Nature Sanctuary makes up almost half of the North Pelham Valley Area of Natural and Scientific Interest, a provincially significant earth and life science ANSI The site is significant for its representation of Fonthill Kame features and the location of the site in the upper reaches of the physiologically significant Twelve Mile Creek glacial re entrant valley. The sanctuary’s location at the headwaters of Effingham Creek, a cold water stream, and the many seeps and associated wetland areas present make it hydrologically significant. It is also noteworthy for its high concentration of significant plants and animals and the diversity of vegetation communities, including Carolinian and northern elements within a relatively small area.



The original 23 acres was purchased by the HNC as a Nature Sanctuary in 1967 soon after, footpaths were established through parts of the sanctuary to facilitate nature study. With donated funds and support under the Province of Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment Program, the HNC was able to enlarge the nature sanctuary in 1999 through the purchase of an additional 19 acres from the Upper family.