FIRST Blaze on the Bruce Trail - Milton, ON
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Bon Echo
N 43° 30.522 W 079° 57.449
17T E 584269 N 4817835
Quick Description: Was the first blaze on the Bruce Trail in Beamsville, or 138 trail-kilometres away in Milton?
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date Posted: 12/3/2020 6:51:57 AM
Waymark Code: WM13FQF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member model12
Views: 3

Long Description:

The Bruce Trail runs along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO Biosphere reserve), from Queenston (near Niagara Falls) to Tobermory. Stretching over 890 kms in length, with over 400 kms of associated side trails, the Bruce Trail is Canada's oldest continuous footpath. The Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) manages the trail, including working with landowners to secure trail access across privately owned lands, and securing properties along the optimal route. The history of the trail is described on the BTC's website:

In 1960 the idea of a public footpath spanning the entire Niagara Escarpment was born. Never before in Canadian history had a trail of this scope been realized. Raymond Lowes articulated this vision of a footpath to friend Robert Bateman at a meeting of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists.

The first meeting of the Bruce Trail Committee was in 1960. The four members attending: Norman Pearson, Ray Lowes, Dr. Robert MacLaren and Philip Gosling, each became instrumental in building the Bruce Trail.

Gaining access to the Niagara Escarpment was the critical first step in building the Bruce Trail. From 1960 to today, Escarpment landowners have been key to the existence of the Bruce Trail. Understanding that building relationships was essential, then Trail Director Philip Gosling, visited major towns along the proposed trail route to solicit help. Literately going door-to-door, Philip Gosling and his team of volunteers discussed their vision of a trail along the Niagara Escarpment with landowners. Happily, they were greeted with support all along the way. Regional Clubs were established by 1963. Each Club was responsible for organization, landowner approvals, construction and maintenance.


Interestingly, there are two signs along the trail which claim to be the location of the first blaze. One is located at this spot in the Hilton Falls Conservation Area, while the second in located 138 kms away (by trail), in Cave Springs Conservation Area near Beamsville. This waymark is for the sign at Hilton Falls CA, while waymark WM13FQG is for the Cave Springs CA plaque.

The sign at Hilton Falls Conservation Area reads:


Erected by
the Toronto Bruce Trail Club
to commemorate forty years of
cooperation between the landowners
and volunteers of the Bruce Trail

One may wonder how there can be two signs claiming to be the location of the first blaze on the Bruce Trail. The key appears to rest with the working on each signs. On this sign, at Cave Springs CA, it states that the blaze was on "what was to become the Bruce Trail", and also that it was placed "by members of the Niagara Escarpment Trail Council". It turns out that the section of trail running past this spot was was originally known as the Niagara Escarpment Trail, and that trail only became a part of the Bruce Trail in 1968. Therefore, while the blaze at Hilton Falls was technically the first blaze on the Bruce Trail as it was configured at that time (July 1962), the blaze at Cave Springs was the first blaze on the Bruce Trail as it is configured today.

Plaque located at Cave Springs Conservation Area near BeamsvillePlaque located at Hilton Falls Conservation Area near Milton

FIRST - Classification Variable: Item or Event

Date of FIRST: 7/1/1962

More Information - Web URL: [Web Link]

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