Helping to preserve the Niagara Escarpment
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 12:10
The Niagara Escarpment is filled with geologic wonder.
The Bruce Trail Conservancy Geology Hikes have been educating youth and adults alike every spring and fall for nearly ten years now. This fall’s Geology Hikes from Oct. 6 to Oct. 27 plan to be no exception.
Beth Kummling, Executive Director of Bruce Trail Conservancy, has been with the Conservancy for some time now, and finds it important to educate people about the various geologic elements that encompass the Niagara Escarpment.
“I have been running these hikes for about nine years now. I started them as a volunteer with the Bruce Trail Conservancy, but I am a staff member now,” said Kummling. “[The hikes] are designed for a few different elements. One is to educate people about the Niagara Escarpment because it is a geological item first and foremost with lots of plants and animals that make it their home, but they are there because of the unique geography of the escarpment.”
Kummling said that she has a passion for geology, which is why she started leading the hikes, to both learn about it more in depth and to help people to understand the geology of the escarpment.
The Bruce Trail Conservancy is funded solely by public donations, which Kummling said is extremely important for conservation efforts along the trail. The Bruce Trail is not permanently secure as 52 per cent of the Bruce Trail corridor is still vulnerable to development.
The Bruce Trail Conservancy is working to secure this corridor by receiving donations or by purchasing land.
“There are fundraisers for the Bruce Trail Conservancy. Our main work at the conservancy is not running a hiking trail, but rather is conserving land on the Niagara Escarpment,” said Kummling. “So, every year we purchase anywhere from $1.5 to $2 million worth of land, and that is all done from donor funds. There is no government money that comes to our organization, so [the Geology Hikes] is just one way of helping raise funds for the organization.”
Kummling said that each hiker is given a prepared handout to help in the educational experience.
“The hikes along the Bruce Trail take anywhere from 6 to 10 km in length; so they’re not very long hikes, but they do take time to walk since we stop a lot and talk about the geology,” said Kummling. “For each hike there’s a handout prepared and given to the participants, so that it can help them figure out what is going on along the hikes.”
Kummling said she always picks routes that have geological features along them, so when they come across something that is of interest, whether it is a rock outcrop, an area of fossils or an area where the landscape has been modified by glaciers or by some kind of effect, they will stop and talk about it.
For more information about the Geology Hikes or the Bruce Trail Conservancy, visit brucetrail.org.