Over 400 volunteers came out to celebrate 50 years of volunteering with the Bruce Trail, June 9 2012. Here many of them come together for a historic group photo.
Hamilton, June 13, 2012 -
It was a day to remember, as hundreds of Bruce Trail volunteers descended on Dundas Valley to celebrate 50 years of volunteering. Through the rain they made their way to a party where they were thanked for their continuous dedication to building up, sharing and securing the Bruce Trail.
In 1962 a small group of naturalists came together under the premise that to protect the wonders of the Niagara Escarpment, the best idea would be to build a hiking trail for people to use to explore the Escarpment's wonders. The Founding members understood that once people personally experienced the beauty of the Escarpment, they too would support its preservation.
The Bruce Trail Founders indeed were right and over the next 50 years their efforts lead to amazing things. In 1962 an incredible amount of work and effort was dedicated to mapping, clearing and blazing the Bruce Trail, and to securing access agreements along the planned route. It was in 1962 that people of Ontario began exploring the Niagara Escarpment in a meaningful way, because of the Bruce Trail. Today, 1,250 volunteers commit their time and skill to furthering the Bruce Trail Conservancy's mission of a secure conservation corridor containing the Bruce Trail. Their efforts exceed 63 full time jobs and contribute $3 million in volunteer labour.
The relationship is balanced, for as much as the volunteers do for the Bruce Trail, their work enriches their own lives tenfold. Dr. Philip Gosling, a Founding member of the Bruce Trail and the man who in 1962 worked to convince landowners to allow the Bruce Trail to cross their private property, spoke passionately at the June 9th event, expressed all that the Bruce Trail has given him: "It has lengthened my stride and filled my heart with joy". The Bruce Trail Conservancy's Executive Director Beth Kümmling echoed the sentiment and encouraged volunteers to share their volunteer experience with others, she explained, "If we all act as Ambassadors for the Bruce Trail, sharing the values of volunteering and doubling our efforts, great things can be accomplished".
Long time Bruce Trail supporter Ted McMeekin, Minister of Agriculture, Food And Rural Affairs expressed his thanks to the dedicated Bruce Trail volunteers and introduced The Honourable Michael Chan Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Mr. Chan reflected, "The staff and volunteers of the Bruce Trail Conservancy are extraordinary citizens, guardians of our natural heritage and champions of the social good. Thank you for your passion for conservation and for maintaining a lasting legacy in our province."
Over the next 5 years, the BTC and its Clubs will be celebrating a series of 50th Anniversary milestones: from planning and Trail building in 1962 to the official opening of the Bruce Trail in 1967. The Bruce Trail Conservancy's 50th anniversary goal is 5,000 acres of Niagara Escarpment landscape containing the Bruce Trail secured, stewarded and made available to the public over the 5 years. There are numerous ways for people to get involved to support this bold goal. Please visit brucetrail.org for volunteer information.
The Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) is a charitable organization committed to establishing a conservation corridor containing a public footpath along the Niagara Escarpment, in order to protect its natural ecosystems and to promote environmentally responsible
public access to this UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The BTC is one of Ontario's largest land trusts, protecting over 7,000 acres of natural spaces along the Niagara Escarpment.
For more information about the Bruce Trail and the
Bruce Trail Conservancy, please call 1.800.665.HIKE or visit www.brucetrail.org.
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For Photos or More Information Contact:
Marsha Russell, Director of Marketing and
The Bruce Trail Conservancy