Still Image of Cape Chin property from video by Joe Busuttil; reproduced by permission. Full video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_vhCPGTuJ4 The Bruce Trail Conservancy recently announced the purchase of a large estate, including 533 acres, at Cape Chin on the Bruce Peninsula.
By John Whitworth
Reprinted from The Rattler

The Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) is pleased to announce the purchase of a large estate at Cape Chin on the Bruce Peninsula.

This transaction secures 533 acres of conservation land offering a spectacular 270 degree view of Georgian Bay and the Escarpment cliffs as well as 1.8 kilometres of Optimum Trail route. This is one of the most significant acquisitions the BTC has ever made.

Some history of the area as documented by our friend the late Ross McLean: “the Trail existed here until 1981 (approximately). It had been acquired by a Mr. Fox and within a year he evicted the Trail from his land. His reasons included a break-in at his cottage (and the theft of a TV set, I was told) and some trampling of a reforestation project. However, also significant was the threat of NEC land-use controls. …It is a beautiful spot with magnificent views up and down the escarpment.” (Ross always chuckled at the thought of ‘hikers’ stumbling down the trail with a 200 pound TV).

Photo Courtesy of Bruce Trail Conservancy

The BTC has long recognized the importance of Cape Chin. When the property was listed on the open market and subject to competing bids, there was a real urgency to ensure this land was moved into conservation. We will be fundraising in the coming year to cover the acquisition costs and significant land restoration efforts on the property. I hope that you too will be excited to support this spectacular acquisition and true conservation gem.

For those of you who don’t know the property, there is a large architecturally-designed home very close to the cliffs. The house complicated negotiations (it is on the premium portion of this land, but we didn’t want a house!) and continues to be a challenge moving forward. Options range from demolition to repurposing (visitor centre, gallery, scientist accommodations…) to resale of the house. Each alternative comes with its own issues and challenges. If you have a suggestion, please contact John Whitworth at pbtcgeneralinfo@gmail.com.

Still Image of Cape Chin property from video by Joe Busuttil; reproduced by permission. Full video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_vhCPGTuJ4

Conservation plans include significant restoration of the pasture lands which, according to BTC ecologists, are seriously over-grazed. Trail plans are to be finalized in the new year, but will feature a trail along the escarpment cliffs. There are opportunities to repurpose current trails as a loop out to the Cape, with perhaps a parking area close to the road.

There is no trail at present. The house will be secured for the winter to prevent deterioration. For those keen to see the property you can watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_vhCPGTuJ4

Map Courtesy of Bruce Trail Conservancy“The Bruce Trail Conservancy is thrilled about protecting habitat at this scale within the Bruce Peninsula. This is a big win for nature, and a big win for conservation. We look forward to doing our ecological assessments this spring and working with the amazing volunteers from the local Bruce Trail Club to begin rerouting the Bruce Trail, and continue our important work to help connect people with nature.” – Michael McDonald Chief Executive Officer – Bruce Trail Conservancy

It is truly both exciting and humbling to think that the Bruce Trail Conservancy is now responsible for all the land featured in this film.

John Whitworth is President of the Peninsula Bruce Trail Club.