WRWEO/The Bluff Trail is an entirely volunteer organization. In the past, our efforts were focussed on developing a Watershed Management Plan, developing a plan for and then building The Bluff Trail, and seeking protection for the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area.
The Bluff Trail was built with the express purpose of facilitating access to a wilderness area so that there would be wider support for protection. Protection of the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area was finally achieved in October of 2011.
In the process and subsequently, The Bluff Trail has become well known and increasingly used, about which we are very happy, but at the same time, it has meant that we have to focus most our efforts on maintenance of The Bluff Trail. This involves monitoring and reporting on the state of The Trail (see Trails Inspection Check List), cleaning up inappropriate fire pits and residues from hikers, holding trail-building workshops, maintaining the boardwalks, maintaining signage, participating in HRTA meetings once monthly, writing up and submitting applications for funding for capital works and maintenance (annual cutting of half of the trails, maintenance of the parking lot), picking up garbage from the parking lot and trailhead, checking the Sign-in book at the Pot Lake Loop junction, and more. Most of this work is carried out by members of the board of WRWEO, with additional volunteers sought for particular events and activities.
As funding becomes tighter, we have have to do more of the Capital Work and Maintenance, e.g., we now organize volunteer workshops to install stone tread over wet areas, rather than hire a trail-building firm to do that for us.
As well, we remain involved in monitoring of aquatic habitat and water quality in the Woodens River system (partially through collaboration with the St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association), activities related to stewardship of the Five Bridge lakes Wilderness Area, and organizing youth & family oriented events. To some extent, our ability to carry out these latter activities has been compromised by our need to give priority to maintenance of The Bluff Trail because we have legal obligations in that regard – if we can’t maintain it properly, it would have to be closed.
All of which is a roundabout way of saying we could use some help! If you would like to help in some way, for a day or days, indoors or out, please drop us a line: wrweomailATyahoo.ca