Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bruce Trail Conservancy Celebrates 50 Years of Volunteering

Despite periodic torrential downpours, 500 + intrepid volunteers, from Tobermory to Niagara, gathered to celebrate 50 years of the Bruce Trail. Suited up in 'all weather' gear, a massive BBQ got underway with entertainment by Juno Award winner, Ian Thomas,  & some gal whose bellowing pipes raised the rain spattered roof! On hand, with brief speeches, were Honorable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport for Ontario, and Honorable Ted McKeekin, Minister of Agriculture. But by far the most moving and witty speech was given by Dr. Philip Gosing, who, at 84 years of age, and one of the founders of the ever-wonderful Bruce Trail, recounted the 'early efforts' of getting this massive trail up & running ...

The Bruce Trail has been completely built and maintained by dedicated volunteers from the tip of Tobermory to the river's edge in Niagara. Akin in concept to the Appalachian Trail, the Bruce is dedicated to preserve & protect the globally unique biosphere of the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario.

I was, and remain, very lucky & happy to have served for 5 years as a Trail Captain volunteer on the Ian Reid Side Trail, (off the Bruce Trail that runs on top of the escarpment at Kerns Road & Dundas Street in Burlington.)  Ian Reid, a delightful & dedicated sprite, was one of the principal organizers of the 'Hamilton Chapter' of the Iroquois 'section' of the Trail. The side trail, named in his honour, is a moderately difficult loop up and down the escarpment face. It is a very familiar trail to 'locals', young & old.

All in all, the festival, held at the Dundas Valley Conservation Area off Governor's Road in Dundas Ontario, was a great and fun event - albeit it, a bit 'damp'. This occasion also stands as a key 'marker' of growth for the Conservancy. The Bruce Trail legacy has now been firmly established. Soon it will be up to the next generation to carry on this important NATURALIST philosophy & tradition - and work - of protecting and preserving this patch of 'wildlife' that runs throughout Southern Ontario  - for The Future.

I am mighty proud, and also very humbled, to be a part of this Great & Good on-going effort.

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