BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION SHOWS STRENGTH IN VOLUNTEERS
Bob Merrimen, Ray Letheren and Dave Maclaren searching for possible trail routes on Mavis' Trail.
STORY BY MELODY FALCONER-POUNDER (PHOTOS SUBMITTED)
The membership of the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) has recently completed their biggest project to date – a 65-foot bridge on Mavis' Trail at Varna. (Photo by Peter Westwood)
The volunteers with the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) have established three walking trails within the village proper since the association was first envisioned in 2006. The Woodland, Heritage and Sawmill Trails have become an integral part of village society. In fact it is hard to remember a time when they weren’t apart of the landscape. So beneficial have these trails proved to local folks that the volunteers with the BRVTA were encouraged to increase trail access within Bluewater by revitalizing two neighboring trails.
The BRVTA Development Team knew that several years ago the Turner and Taylor families were instrumental in building two walking trails at the Stanley Township Recreation Complex in Varna but these trails had to be abandoned because of maintenance and erosion problems.
In 2008, during the time while they were actively constructing the Woodland and Sawmill Trails, a group of the BRVTA volunteers went to Varna, explored the old trails and scouted out possible future, lower maintenance trail opportunities.
Twenty-five residents from Varna and Bayfield worked together to continue the development of the two nature trails at the Stanley Complex in Varna in July of 2010. Trail workers from Varna included: (BR l-r) Angie Cooper, Marlene Holman, Stephanie Peck and Jeanette Hill. FR: Mitchell Cooper, Jenna Peck, Luke Hill, Blake Cooper and Rachel Hill.
The Taylor Trail at one kilometer in length proved to be fine, only some minor rerouting, bridges and boardwalks were required to return it to usefulness. When Rob Milligan, the owner of West Coast Property Care, stepped forward and said that he wanted to contribute to this project by using his equipment to cut the meadow grass, the volunteers knew that there might be a chance that this project could work.
“Once we received approval from the Municipality of Bluewater, we started the task of trying to figure out how we could build and restore two trails for very, very little money. There were several small bridges and boardwalks to be constructed and one problematic 65-foot ravine (on the 2.5 KM Turner Trail) that had to be somehow bridged,” recalled Dave Gillians, past-president of the BRVTA. “We knew that a project of this magnitude would cost about $250,000 if done by professionals and the BRVTA Board of Directors knew that our financial resources were so small that we'd have to be creative and build something special on a ‘shoestring.'”
Ron Milligan from West Coast Property Care told the BRVTA that he wanted to help but couldn't participate in workparties because of his customer responsibilities. He asked, "Can I cut the meadows for you on the Varna Nature Trails with my equipment as my contribution to the trail development efforts?" Milligan's query proved to be a well-timed solution to a big challenge for the BRVTA.
According to Gillians, this was the crucial period. The BRVTA needed money, encouragement and support. A great many individuals from Bayfield contributed, the Optimist Club of Bayfield and the Bayfield Lions’ Club immediately stepped up and the Municipality of Bluewater also contributed.
“And out of the blue in 2009, Mavis Govier, a Varna resident and community activist, obtained a Bluewater Community Foundation grant for us,” said Gillians.
Perhaps even more important than the money was the encouragement that came with it.
“Quietly behind the scenes, she supported our vision of reopening and rerouting the old Varna Trials which had been started by the Taylor and Turner families. This support and encouragement was important. As volunteers, any obstacle is enormous because it’s so easy to say, I don't need this hassle or stress and walk away from a community project. Mavis came to us at precisely the most critical time. In a way she was the project's "guardian angel". Her death at such a young age was a terrible loss to everyone,” said Gillians.
With her sudden death in April of 2010 at the age of 40, it was decided that the Turner Trail would be renamed the Mavis' Trail in her honor. The Taylor Trail is named in recognition of Bill and Mark Taylor, who helped start the nature trail program.
In 2009, Mavis Govier presented a cheque to Roger Lewington and Dave Gillians (far left) of the BRVTA from the Bluewater Community Foundation to help support the trail association's efforts.
Volunteers when spurred on can often achieve great things so with the Varna Trails ever present in their mindset these people slowly started to acquire materials that would someday be needed to fix the trails up all the while diligently working to complete the Woodland and Sawmill Trails.
The bridge project alone would take over three years to complete and over 30 community volunteers would step in at precisely the right time to help make it happen.
With help from other volunteers, Kim Muszynski used his ATV to pull dozens of logs to the top of the hill on the Sawmill Trail.
- Dave and Susan Bender gave the BRVTA permission to clear some of the dying cedar trees in their woodlot on the Sawmill Trail.
- Kim Muszynski used his ATV to pull dozens of logs to the top of the hill on the Sawmill Trail. These logs then sat there for a year.
- Dave Bender then used his tractor to load the 25-foot logs that were to become bridge beams onto a flat bed trailer lent to the BRVTA by Ron Reder at Bayfield Marine Service
- The beams were then transported to Varna and Bill Steenstra used his small tractor to pull them through the woods to the site of the future 65-foot bridge. There the logs sat for over a year.
- Murray Purdue from Parr Line in Varna has a portable Sawmill and in 2010 on a sweltering hot day, he along with a group of trail volunteers milled enough cedar decking to cover the future 65-foot bridge.
- A number of trucks were hand loaded and the decking was carried on the shoulders of the trail workers to the site of the future bridge where it too remained for over a year.
- Meanwhile with the help of equipment lent to the BRVTA by Hayter’s Excavating and Hill & Hill Farm the volunteers continued to build small bridges and boardwalks on the Taylor Trail.
Volunteer Jim Beatty kept the supports on the level.
This is just an overview of the beginning of the gathering of the necessary wood, manpower and expertise required to reestablish the Varna trails with the primary focus being the construction of the 65-foot bridge on the Mavis Trail.
There is more to the story and we will share it with our Subscribers next issue. Can’t wait to learn how it all came to be? Well then, plan to attend the Grand Opening of the Varna Nature Trails on Jan. 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to hiking the trails, hotdogs and refreshments will be served at the Varna Complex.
come explore the Varna Trails
The members of the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association invite everyone to the Grand Opening of the Varna Nature Trails on Jan. 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to hiking the trails and an opportunity to enjoy the scenic overlook of the Bayfield River, hotdogs and refreshments will be served at the Varna Complex.
The following is a little insight into the Varna Nature Trails as provided by the BRVTA website.
TAYLOR TRAIL: The one KM Taylor Trail features a variety of landscapes. From meandering paths in a pine reforestation project of decades past, to a deciduous tree lined trail, joggers, fitness enthusiasts, cross country skiers and pet owners will appreciate the flat terrain and the scents of pine and colorful meadow grasses. Although this isn’t a strenuous trail with hills that will get your heart pumping fast, it is a peaceful and tranquil stroll through a varied woodland setting. This is a looped trail. For those who are more ambitious, there are numerous exercise stations along the route.
MAVIS' TRAIL: Named after area community activist Mavis Govier, this 2.5 KM looped trail offers a slightly more challenging walk to the Bayfield River and back. Its terrain varies greatly at each turn. This is a four seasons trail with such a wide variety of landscapes that it will delight visitors at all times of the year. As you make your way to the tranquil scenic lookout at the river, you will pass through peaceful groves of pine trees, a steep ravine that is bridged with steps that will slow cross country ski enthusiasts and mountain bikers and a towering deciduous forest.
Three winners in draw for A thousand dollars in shopping
Members of the Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas in Bayfield Committee gathered recently to draw the winning names of three very valuable monetary certificates redeemable at several Bayfield businesses. The committee was comprised of from l-r: Mary Ann Rowat, Lorraine McDougall, Janet Snider, Judi Milligan and Judy Stephenson. Committee member Gayle Beuermann was unable to attend. (Photo by Scott Bradford)
As part of the Christmas in Bayfield celebrations kick started on the weekend of Nov. 11-13 with the annual lighting of the lights and Santa Claus parade participating merchants have been entering shoppers into a Christmas in Bayfield Draw.
Thousands of ballots were entered into the draw for a change to win gift certificates redeemable at the 31 local businesses that participated in the Christmas In Bayfield promotion.
The draw was held on Dec. 23 and the winners were: Cathy Webb, $500 gift certificate; Diane Nicholson, $300 gift certificate; and Judy Drysdale, $200 gift certificate.
“These three excited winners were delighted to be getting an extra special treat this Christmas and a chance to come back to Bayfield for a shopping spree, dining out or staying at an Inn,” said Janet Snider, past president of the BACC.
“The Christmas in Bayfield Committee would like to extend thanks to all the participating businesses and to all the visitors who entered the draw. We wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year.”
Got new skates for Christmas and need a place to test them? Or just looking for a fun, free family activity over the holidays?
Look no further than the Bayfield Arena. Public Skating times are set as follows: Jan. 4, 3 to 5 p.m. and Jan. 5, 2 to 4 p.m.
take time in 2012
January and February days often seem longer than they are short so once again the congregations of the village’s four local churches have joined together to offer an interesting series of programs designed to combat the winter blahs.
The fourth year of the “Take Time in 2012" programs will run from Jan. 9 to Feb. 6. They are a perfect opportunity for friends and neighbors to learn and share with one another.
The programs will be held on Mondays from 1:30-3 p.m. Each participating church will host one event.
In the past a registration coffee has been held to get the program going but this year that has been dispensed with. The cost will be $3 per session.
Want to attend but don’t have the transportation needed to get to the location of the presentation? Rides can be provided, just call the coordinator of that session.
Bayfield’s own Lynn and Dave Gillians will be the presenters at the first session to be held at Knox Presbyterian Church on Jan. 9. “Two Years Down South on a Small Boat” is the title of their presentation and should know doubt be filled with several very entertaining anecdotes. The coordinator for this session is Barb Harkins and she can be reached at 519 565-2098.
According to Dave, “Every year about 500 boats leave the Great Lakes and head south to pursue their dreams. A boat becomes a "magic carpet" as it transports sailors from one adventure to another.”
In 2002, Dave, and his wife Lynne, boarded Picaroon 11, their CS 36 sailboat, and for the next two winters they lived aboard and explored the east coast of the United States and the Bahamas.
Dave said, "The intensity of the friendships and adventures during this trip are unlike anything we have ever experienced and we'll never forget this trip. It'll be fun sharing some of the good and bad times with those who attend the first session of Take Time."
The beauty of exotic flowers will be explored at the session hosted by the Church on Way on Jan. 16. “Exotic Orchids made Easy” will be the topic shared by Master Gardeners, Leigh Selk and Sue Beatty. This presentation will be held at the Bayfield Lions’ Community Building and the coordinator is Anne Laviolette, she can be contacted by calling 519 565-2454.
The following week, Jan. 23, the Take Time in 2012 programs will take a break to encourage everyone to go to the Bayfield Historical Society Dinner meeting to be held at St. Andrew’s United Church at noon. For more details and also for tickets people are invited to call Pat or Bud Langley at 519 565-2894.
On Jan. 30, thoughts will turn to spring rejuvenation when Helen Varkamp of Huron, Hearth and Home, presents the topic, “Spruce Up for Spring” – a new look for your home. This session will be held at St. Andrew’s United Church and Flo Keillor is the contact. For more information she can be reached at 519 565-2640.
The final session will be held on Feb. 6 at Trinity Anglican Church with Kate Lloyd-Rees and Judy Keightley. The duo will share their knowledge on the creation of quick and tasty appetizers. “Small Plates for Sharing” is the topic of this presentation. To learn more contact the session coordinator, Helen Latimer, at 519 565-2792.
empties for alzheimers
Last year two local women started a unique initiative to raise money for their participation in the Walk for Memories that raises funds for the Alzheimer Society. By collecting empty beer cans and bottles, pop cans, wine and liquor bottles, as well as some other fundraisers; their team “For the Love of Elane and Doris”, was the top fundraising team in the county.
It is a title Dianne Brandon and Carrie Courtney would like to maintain this year during the 2012 Walk for Memories to be held on Jan. 28.
It is, of course, hoped that everyone will celebrate responsibly this festive season and when doing so plan to donate the empties to the cause. The ladies being honored are currently living with Alzheimer Disease, Elane Brandon, Courtney’s grandmother, and Doris Schilbe, Dianne’s mother.
Empties of all sorts may be dropped off at Brandon's Hardware in Bayfield after Jan. 5. Empties can also be taken directly to Bayfield Convenience, just mention you’d like to donate “For the love of Elane and Doris” Courtney and Brandon will even come to your door on Jan. 9 to pick them up just call Brandon’s Hardware at 519 565-2677 or 519 565-2545 to make arrangements.
Please note that due to dwindling attendance, the alternate Wednesday Evening Bridge has been discontinued. Organizers also state that there would be no reason to think at some point this activity could not be restarted if there is demand for it. They would also like to thank all those who joined in some very fun and competitive games over the years.
One Care is sponsoring several programs for both men and women to keep up with their desire to stay fit. Please note these programs will return on Jan. 4.
Dancefit and Toning classes are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m. The cost is $40 for four months or $3 per class. The Sit and Get Fit classes are offered on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:15 a.m. The cost is $1 per class.
Both of these fitness opportunities are held at the Bayfield Community Centre.
For the more adventurous among us, there is Pole Walking. Walks for women are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays while walks for men are held on Monday and Friday mornings All walks begin from 6 Main Street and begin at 8:30 a.m. Poles are provided free for those who require them.
A Yoga Class will be held at the Bayfield Town Hall starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. The cost for is $3 per class and participants are asked to bring a yoga mat. Starting on Nov. 1, a time of quiet reflection and meditation will follow the yoga class starting at 11:15 a.m. All in the community are invited to take part.
Indoor badminton is played on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Varna Complex The cost is $3 each and no experience or equipment is required to play.
Call 519 565-2202 for more information on the above exercise opportunities.
For those people looking to exercise their minds, Women’s Bridge is played every Wednesday at 1 p.m. No partner needed to play the cost is $1.50 per game. For more information call Brenda Blair 519 565-2881.
Mah Jongg games are also offered on the first and third Thursdays of the month starting at 1 p.m. Call 519 565-2468 for more information. (Please note day change for the New Year – the new session will begin on Jan. 5.)
Both Bridge and Mah Jongg are played at the Bayfield Lions’ Community Building.
Huron Ridge Acres would like to invite all in the community to participate in their Winter Walking Program - a terrific way to escape those winter “blahs”. On Tuesdays and Fridays during January, February and March the owners open the greenhouse from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for people to come and walk on the ice-free, snow-free sidewalks. Those who take part can enjoy the smell of things growing, and the sunshine on days when it shines, along with some relaxing background music. There is no charge – it is the Steckle’s way of saying thanks to the community for their support of Huron Ridge.
Are you ready to dance yourself into SHAPE? ZUMBA is a Latin inspired, easy to follow, calorie burning dance fitness party and participants say it is so much fun. ZUMBA classes are held Wednesday evenings at the Bayfield Community Centre from 7-8 p.m. Drop-ins and beginners are welcome. Drop in rate is $10. Please contact Jamie Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Classes will resume Jan.4.
The Photography Club of Bayfield will hold their next meeting on Jan. 5 at the Bayfield Lions' Community Building starting at 7 p.m. The theme for this month's assignment is "Red and/or Green"...perfect for holiday snapping!
In 1945, Lucy Woods Diehl, a life-long resident of Bayfield, enlisted the aid of several friends of the community to preserve the last piece of undeveloped lakefront property on the bluff overlooking the Bayfield River and Lake Huron.
The original directors chose the name Pioneer Park as a tribute to the early settlers of Bayfield. Their vision remains today and is still driven by the support of volunteers.
The Pioneer Park Association is currently looking for volunteers to join the board of directors. They are looking for a secretary as well.The secretary will be responsible for recording the minutes at the board meetings (held four or five times per year) as well as the Annual General Meeting.
Please contact Neil Duffy at email@example.com if you would like to learn more about either of these positions.