Answer: When you hike you tend to look down and when you walk you take the time to look up.
Starting this spring, when you walk and look up in the Peninsula section, you will see elements of the various conservation initiatives taking place. These include the installation of boot scrubbers at trail heads, the planting of saplings on BTC property and gathering of data for the BTC Citizen Science program.
Late 2017, the Bruce Peninsula Sportsman’s Association approached us with a proposal to assemble and install boot scrubbers along the Bruce Trail to help prevent the spread of nonnative plants. These invasive species from Europe and Asia were brought by early homesteaders. Periwinkle was considered an ornamental garden plant and was supposed to have medicinal properties. Japanese Knotweed provided livestock fodder and erosion control. Garlic Mustard was used in salads and soups while Common Buckthorn created fencerows. The source of phragmites is uncertain but its threat is very definite. It is quick to establish a thick stand at the shoreline and choke out the natural vegetation. Without natural vegetation there is decreased biodiversity to support plants, animals and birds.
The Gosling Foundation funded this project, which is fitting considering Dr. Philip Gosling is a founding member of the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
The BPSA has also been involved in the recent tree planting on the Vanishing Stream property. This once old pasture is evolving from grassland to wildflower meadow and then to hawthorn and dogwood scrub. Eventual progression will see sun loving trees establish themselves which is the beginning of a young forest. The addition of saplings is to help with this restoration.
Lastly, the Bruce Trail Conservancy is utilizing citizen scientists to help better understand the diversity and distribution of flora along the Bruce Trail. The Citizen Science project involves a smartphone app called iNaturalist. It’s a free app that trail users can download and then join the Bruce Trail group. It allows hikers to take pictures of interesting plants they find along the Trail and provides tools for plant identification. It’s also a great way for the BTC to compile data
on the varieties of plants that grow along the Niagara Escarpment. Please consider taking part. For more information see brucetrail.org/pages/show/citizen-science