New programming and educational opportunities highlight Niagara Parks’ important stewardship role
Niagara Falls, ON – The Niagara Parks Commission is pleased to announce its investment in the revitalization of the Niagara Glen Nature Centre, creating a trailhead and interpretation facility that will focus on Niagara Parks’ important stewardship role, while educating the public on the geological, environmental and historical significance of the spectacular Niagara Glen.
Niagara Parks has made its reinvestment in the Niagara Glen Nature Centre a priority, responding to the continued growth and popularity of this site as a renowned outdoor destination for hikers, cyclists, conservationists, boulderers and anyone seeking an opportunity to connect with nature.
The Niagara Glen was designated a Nature Reserve in 1992 and provides a geological snapshot of the evolution of Niagara Falls, which eroded through this area thousands of years ago. Over four kilometres of paths and trails of varying levels of difficulty, wind through pristine pockets of Carolinian Forest, which line the rocky Niagara gorge, overlooking the raging waters of the Niagara River Whirlpool below.
Also considered an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) and an International Important Bird Area, the Niagara Glen is an undeniable treasure trove of natural beauty. The rugged and majestic terrain also masks a much more sensitive side that requires significant protection and preservation. Approximately 490 species of vulnerable plants and animals call the Glen home and an unprecedented number of them are listed as either “at risk” or “rare” in the province; one of the largest concentrations anywhere in Ontario.
An exciting aspect of this revitalization effort is Niagara Parks’ partnership with its sister provincial agency, Science North, which will bring its popular Nature Exchange program to the Niagara Glen Nature Centre. The Nature Exchange will be a highly interactive learning space that promotes education, research and responsible collecting, while supporting Niagara Parks’ important stewardship and preservation responsibilities.
The Nature Exchange program was started by Science North and it can now be found at nine other locations across North America. Guests who would like to participate in the Nature Exchange are encouraged to bring in nature objects and they will be awarded points, largely based on how much they know about their object, as well as the quality of the object and its uniqueness.
Built in 1923, the Niagara Glen Nature Centre has a rich history, including past uses as a restaurant, caretaker’s residence and even a temporary residence for School of Horticulture students from 1933-1934. The building itself sits atop the Niagara Glen, offering a spectacular view of the trails and Niagara River Whirlpool below and presents a fantastic opportunity to restore the building and allow its space within to be used to educate and inform the public, sharing the broader story of Niagara Parks and the important stewardship role with which it has been entrusted.
Construction activity is now underway with an anticipated opening date of the new Niagara Glen Nature Centre scheduled for July. The importance of the facility has also been recognized by the provincial government, which has provided additional funding support for this project through its Ontario150 funding program.
During construction, members of the public will still have access to the Niagara Glen hiking area, Niagara River Recreation Trail, as well as the washroom facilities located in the back of the Niagara Glen Nature Centre. Boulderers who wish to purchase a permit or pick up their parking passes will be able to do so at the Butterfly Conservatory.
The Niagara Parks Commission is committed to a vision of Ontario’s Niagara Parks as one that Preserves a rich heritage, Conserves natural wonders, and Inspires people world-wide. Founded in 1885, The Niagara Parks Commission is an Operational Enterprise Agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Its mission is to protect the natural and cultural heritage along the Niagara River for the enjoyment of visitors while maintaining financial self-sufficiency.
For more information, please contact:
Tony Baldinelli, Senior Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations firstname.lastname@example.org
(905) 356-2241 ext. 2206