The proposed expansion would see a new trail built along the Ontario Heritage Trust’s Ellis property (pictured) in Jordan. Photo credit: Ontario Heritage Trust
On Monday, the Ontario Heritage Trust announced it was partnering with the Town of Lincoln, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), and the Bruce Trail Conservancy on a new project to improve and expand a network of trails near the Ball’s Falls Conservation Area in Jordan.
Once complete, the ‘Niagara Twenty Valley Trail Revitalization Project’ will connect the Bruce Trail and Ball’s Falls in the south to the Ellis Heritage Trail and Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre, and ultimately Lake Ontario, in the north.
“As Ontario continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust remains confident that our province’s heritage will be an asset for the economic recovery and revitalization of our tourism sector,” said chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust John Ecker.
“The new trail infrastructure will preserve important natural heritage sites while connecting to the cultural and tourism experiences offered in Jordan Village and Lincoln. We are grateful for the Greenbelt Foundation’s support and look forward to working with our partners to enhance visitors’ experiences in the Niagara region.”
Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Greenbelt Foundation, a feasibility study began assessing the site last month, planning out the trail pathways and signage and identifying areas of improvement and necessary infrastructure.
The final trail construction will be completed at a later phase of work.
The proposed trail and feasibility study area. Photo credit: Ontario Heritage Trust
“The timing is perfect in that assessments are being made this year by the Region of Niagara on bridge and other infrastructure along King Street in the Jordan Hollow, making this the correct time to complete the needs,” regional councillor and new chair of the NPCA Robert Foster told The Niagara Independent.
“As the Regional Councillor for Lincoln and also the Chair of the NPCA, I find this project very exciting and bodes well for future environmental programs and sustainability in our Town.”
The Ellis property, the primary area that the new trail will bisect, is a provincially significant Life Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) and is recognized as an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) and designated as an Escarpment Natural Area under the Niagara Escarpment Plan.
The property is dominated by broadleaf forests with smaller stands of mixed and successional forests. There are 13 provincially rare, eight regionally rare, and 20 locally rare flora species on the Ellis land. Rare flora and fauna observed on the property include Nebraska sedge, pignut hickory, eastern spiny softshell turtles, barn owls and many others.
As of 2006, six archaeological sites have been registered at the site: five historical and one Indigenous (Woodland period, 900 BC to AD 1500).
The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. The agency conserves and protects hundreds of natural heritage sites across the province, many of which can be enjoyed through accessible trail systems.