The Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) sends its congratulations to all the outstanding Order of Canada recipients as announced by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada December 30th in Ottawa. The BTC is especially proud of the addition of Bruce Trail founding member Dr. Philip Gosling to this esteemed list of honorees.
"The Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation, and we felt it highly fitting that the BTC nominate Dr. Philip Gosling for the award. Philip embodies that spirit of service to the nation. Many times I have heard him reflect on the importance of contributing to the greater good; about the early days building the Bruce Trail driven forward by an altruistic spirit to create this iconic treasure for future generations. The Bruce Trail thrives today because of the vision and commitment of people like Dr. Philip Gosling" noted Bruce Trail Conservancy's Executive Director Beth Gilhespy. "For over 50 years Philip has worked to ensure that the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Escarpment he loves so much are appreciated by and shared with the people of Canada. His enduring commitment to conservation is a testament to what can be accomplished when passion and perseverance are combined in the right measure. He is a treasure and serves as a true inspiration to us all."
Dr. Gosling is still actively involved with his beloved Bruce Trail. The Gosling Foundation recently pledged $1 million dollars to the BTC's 50th Anniversary Milestone program, which aims to grow the BTC's land acquisition program by an additional 5,000 acres by 2017. The BTC acquires Niagara Escarpment land to ensure a secure and permanent conservation corridor. Many people don't realize that the Bruce Trail is not permanently secure, and that approximately 50% of the Bruce Trail corridor is still vulnerable to development. The BTC is working to secure this corridor by receiving donations of land or by purchasing land. Each year the BTC spends from $1 to $2 million on land purchases, preserving hundreds of acres of Escarpment landscape and Bruce Trail corridor forever. These acquisitions protect a diverse array of landscape types - wetlands, karst topography, open meadows, caves, towering scarp edges and lush forests - all within the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Today over 8,400 acres of Escarpment land are secured and managed by the BTC. This preserved land is cared for by Bruce Trail volunteers, with the support of a small BTC staff.
In 1977 Dr. Gosling noted ""Ours was a plan which inspired people of all interests: naturalists, hikers and campers, conservationists, all caught up in the idea of an unbroken footpath tied in with a major conservation objective." Today, he reflects on what the Bruce Trail means to him, "50 years ago I was privileged to help save the Niagara Escarpment. Of all the things that I have done and am proud of, the Bruce Trail is at the top of the list. And how it enriched me....I met the most wonderful people and so many caring and committed individuals who taught me so much about life and whose memories I treasure."
Bruce Trail Conservancy President Janice McClelland, reflected on Dr. Gosling's legacy, "Dr. Philip Gosling was one of the founders of the Bruce Trail, seeking out willing landowners, from Niagara to Tobermory, to allow this trail to cross their properties and volunteers to build and maintain the trail. Philip's vision of a trail that provides Canadians with the ability to enjoy the beauty of the Niagara Escarpment propelled people into action 50 years ago. It is a testimony to the longevity of his vision that the Bruce Trail Conservancy today is supported by over 1,300 volunteers and provides Canadians with a welcome opportunity to reconnect with nature."