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Grey Sauble CA proposing big plans for Eugenia Falls

While the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority says rock climbing isn't feasible, the plans do propose a pedestrian bridge and work to preserve the ruins of a former power plant

The Grey Sauble Conservation Authority has some big improvements in mind for Eugenia Falls Conservation Area.

At its meeting on Aug. 30, the authority’s board of directors received a presentation on the draft management plan for Eugenia Falls Conservation Area. The authority is nearly finished the work underway for the past couple of years. Once the plan is approved by the board it will become the guiding document for the conservation area over the next 20 years. It will be reviewed bi-annually and updated every 10 years. The development of the plan involved extensive public consultation by the authority.

The presentation on the plan can be viewed as part of the board’s agenda here.

The 57-acre property is currently the site of a portion of the Bruce Trail, other trails, a cenotaph, a viewing area for the falls and natural areas.

The popularity of the property has been growing in recent years and the authority estimates more than 36,000 people visited in 2021 when they had trail counters set up. The draft management plan proposes a number of ambitious initiatives to improve and preserve the property.

Action items in the proposed management plan include:

  • Controlling invasive species on the property
  • Trail improvements and addition of picnic areas
  • Removing an older pavilion currently in place
  • Taking out existing vault toilets to be replaced by porta potties
  • Additions of new trails
  • The preservation of power plant ruins on the site
  • Preservation and protection of the Cenotaph and the gingko tree
  • A bridge over the Beaver River at the power plant ruins
  • Signage improvements
  • Improvements to the viewing area, by replacing portions of an existing stone wall with steel fencing
  • Parking lot improvements to better control the flow of traffic and to improve drainage at the site

Some of the recommendations have significant estimated price tags. They include: $20,000 for the wall/fence project, $60,000 to preserve the ruins, $40,000 for trail improvements, $60,000 for the pedestrian bridge and $70,000 for the parking lot upgrade.

Ideas that the authority rejected as not feasible, desirable or too high risk included: expanding usage of the property to allow ATVs, mountain biking and horseback riding, permitting rock climbing, a suspension bridge in front of the falls and a trail at the bottom of the valley leading to the falls.

Rebecca Anthony, the authority’s manager of conservation lands, presented the report to the board and said she was pleased by the reaction to the recommendations from the directors.

“I thought it was very well received. (The board) is supportive of putting the money back into our properties,” she said.

Anthony said the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will comment on the draft plan and it will be revised to incorporate those comments.

“Then it comes back to the board for their endorsement and then we’re good to start implementing,” she said. “It sounds like it will be early next year.”

Anthony said Eugenia Falls Conservation Area is a great and unique property.

“This history there is so cool,” she said.


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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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