LEAVING A LEGACY – A LOVE STORY
“Sharing nature along the Trail with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren was, and is, an important and happy part of our family life. And the friends we have made through the Bruce Trail are invaluable. We could not ask for more as we age and our perspectives on what’s important in life evolve.”— Janice McClelland & Don Blok, Bruce Trail Donors
We met on a Bruce Trail hike in March 1986.
Love shone upon us and soon we shared more hikes on the Bruce Trail, in the White Mountains, and in Cape Breton.
The Bruce Trail continued to be an important part of our lives following our wedding in 1988, and through two moves which eventually found us in Erin Township in the Caledon Hills section of the Bruce Trail. As soon as we could raise our noses above the high waters of renovating our old farmhouse in Erin, we began volunteering with the Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club.
Many more happy Bruce Trail memories were made throughout the 2000s. Don celebrated his 80th birthday in 2005 with friends and family at the Niagara Gorge on a hike led by Beth Gilhespy, then Executive Director. Janice completed the entire Bruce Trail from 2004–2007, in a series of hikes led by volunteers Peter Ellison, and Peter and Judy Leeney, with Don joining in some of the more northerly sections.
In 2011, Janice retired and extended her volunteer activities to include the BTC Board of Directors and from 2013–2015, served as the volunteer President of the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
During our wonderful times on the Trail, and through our deepening involvement, we saw first-hand the enormous contributions that volunteers make towards fulfilling the BTC’s conservation and land maintenance efforts. Like many, our experiences with the Trail have impressed on us the importance of the organization’s mission to preserve a ribbon of wilderness for future generations. We’ve been passionate donors for many years, and we are so proud of the eight beautiful green pins we’ve received that respectively say, “I helped save… Duntroon Crevice Heights, Lawrence Homestead, Fairmount-Webwood Passage, Walter’s Creek, Vanishing Stream, Kemble Wetland, Maple Ridge and Driftwood Cove.”
In 2011 we made the decision to draw up our wills and included the Bruce Trail Conservancy as one of our beneficiaries. We’ve since reviewed our wills and made a change to ensure that, balancing all interests, the Bruce Trail Conservancy had a more substantial portion of whatever our humble estate will be. Our lawyer advised us regarding different ways of providing for others and we confirmed the best way for us.
Sharing nature along the Trail with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren was, and is, an important and happy part of our family life. And the friends we have made through the Bruce Trail are invaluable. We could not ask for more as we age and our perspectives on what’s important in life evolve.
Including the Bruce Trail Conservancy in our wills is not only a way for us to say that nature matters to us in this part of Ontario, it’s also a way to say thank you to the Bruce Trail Conservancy for making our lives more worthwhile and endowing us with a broad circle of friends who have greatly enriched life’s experiences.