The Bruce Trail is more than just a footpath. It plays a vital role in protecting and preserving one of Canada’s most important natural environments.
The Bruce Trail Conservancy is working to create a secure and permanent conservation corridor, containing a public footpath along the Niagara Escarpment, in order to protect its natural ecosystems. As one of Ontario's largest land trusts, we have been responsible for the preservation of 10,000 acres of land since 1974. We have protected a diverse array of landscape types - wetlands, karst topography, open meadows, caves, towering scarp edges and lush forests. This work has been instrumental in the Niagara Escarpment being named a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations in 1990.
Thank you to all our Donors who have given so generously to our land acquisition campaigns and helped to preserve these irreplaceable treasures!
Take a look at some of our conservation highlights within the Sydenham section:
The 58-acre Ancient Beach Nature Reserve secures about 1.1 km of the main Bruce Trail in the upper regions of Grey County, at Colpoy’s Range Road and Cole’s Sideroad. See map 34 in the Guidebook.
Its evocative name comes from the 11,000-year old baymouth beach ridge, stretching across the mouth of the Slough of Despond, which formed after the glacial Lake Algonquin lapped up high on the cliffs of the Escarpment long ago. Today this Provincially Significant beach bar forms the northern boundary of a thriving wetland in the Slough of Despond. Rounded cobbles scattered throughout the property give clues to its wave-pounded past.
Habitats on this property include regenerating forest, open meadow, thicket swamp, and meadow marsh. These are home to many birds, rare creatures like Northern Map Turtles and Redbelly Snakes, as well as rare plants like Schweinitz’s Sedge.
Long-time member and active volunteer Cliff Keeling donated this 127-acre Nature Reserve to the BTC in 2015. It’s located near Inglis Falls Conservation Area (near Owen Sound), east of Highway 6, and just north of Rockford. You can find it on Map 32 in the Guidebook, although our new Side Trail to explore this lovely land is not shown yet, as it is still being built.
The Niagara Escarpment lies west of the highway but there’s a secondary Escarpment rise on many parts of this nature reserve, including some exposed bedrock and many boulders. The disappearing stream exhibits a karst feature, and it re-appears 75 meters away at another stream.
This property supports a variety of habitats including a typical deciduous Escarpment forest, a pine plantation, swamp, and meadow. These lands provide an important wildlife corridor connecting other forested areas nearby
Silent Valley is a place of cultural, geological and biological diversity that calls for exploration. For decades the trees on this land were harvested. Now this forest is regenerating, and this nature reserve's diverse habitats - ponds, meadows, forest and cliff - can once again thrive.
Silent Valley Map; 44.555691, -80.750767
Several Side Trails have been built on this property to help explore and learn (reference BTC Guidebook - Map 30).
Read the Owen Sound Sun Times article "Grey County's Silent Valley has stories to tell" by Joe Weppler (includes six pictures).
Fossil Glen is a 68-acre gem approximately 6 km north of Owen Sound. It has many unique wonders:
‣ The unique moss and fern covered dolostone ridge, which supports a community of Eastern White Cedar and Mountain Maple. This ridge is host to fossils that are 430 million years old.
‣ The impressive display of ferns including: Walking Fern, Mackay's Bladder Fern, Bulblet Fern, Goldie's Wood Fern, Narrowleaved Glade Fern, Marginal Wood Fern, Spinulose Shield Fern, Intermediate Wood Fern and a healthy population of Hart's Tongue Fern (a provincial and national Species of Special Concern)
‣ The protective canopy of Sugar Maple, Hemlock, White Ash and American Beech trees that are approaching Old Growth condition
‣ A coldwater, groundwater spring from the Escarpment face that empties into a pond providing excellent habitat for waterfowl and amphibians
Fossil Glen Map; Map to parking 44.649464, -80.964433
The Main Trail has been re-routed through this property (reference BTC Guidebook - Map 33).