When the Bough Breaks

By: Heidi Bischof and Joan Richard

You may not have given much thought to how the trail is kept hiker-friendly, or perhaps you thought it happened in much the same way the shoemaker’s elves in the fairy tale worked their overnight magic. While sometimes it does seem like magic is involved, in reality, the trail is maintained through the hard work of our trail maintenance volunteers, which is often done out of sight of hikers.

Our trail is divided into multiple sections, each from 4 km to 10 km in length, and a trail captain is assigned to maintain each section. But a trail captain cannot be out there all the time, and this is where hikers can help.

We really appreciate it when you alert us to a problem you encounter with the trails while hiking.  You can do this by taking a photo of the problem, and then emailing it to us (info@caledonbrucetrail.org), or posting it on Facebook or Instagram.

So if you come across a tree blocking the trail, for instance, please take a picture so we can determine size and tools required.

Keep in mind, that along with knowing about a problem, we also need to know where it is.  By providing an accurate location of the problem, our trail maintenance workers can find it more easily.  The Bruce Trail app can help with that, as can a GPS device. For the rest of us who still like using the printed Trail Reference Guide, there is another way you can help identify the location of a problem.

Did you know that all structures on the trail have an ID plate?

These are helpful in identifying the location of a problem on the trail. For instance, if you meet a set of steps near a problem area, please take a minute to look for the ID and snap that too.  Bridges and boardwalks also have numbers but they are usually under the deckboards, so are a bit more challenging to locate.

When we receive notice of problem areas from hikers, the trail coordinator is notified, who then contacts the appropriate trail captain. Trail maintenance volunteers respond quickly to fix problems on the trail, although sometimes the weather or size of a project might delay us a bit.

This past Sunday, the strong winds will have brought down a few branches and limbs, and some of these may have landed on the trail.  If you come across any of these, please let us know, and we’ll send trail maintenance workers out to clear the path.

With your help, together we can make the trails better and better!


There are still a few spots left on the Fall Bed & Breakfast hiking trip taking place on October 23rd & 24th.  Join us to explore the Silent Valley, Bognor Marsh, and Harrison Park/Palisades Side Trails in the Sydenham section.  More details are available on our website.

7 thoughts on “When the Bough Breaks”

  1. Excellent information and very clear instructions on how to report trail problems. Kudos to the volunteers that lug all the equipment out to these sites to clear the trail for us.

  2. I was told of a problem on one of our sections and asked for more details, so this article is excellent in pointing out how to do this. Thanks for this excellent description.

    • Thanks for asking this great question that required further investigation!

      It turns out that although the Bruce Trail App uses GPS information, we unfortunately don’t currently have a way of extracting latitude/longitude point details of a particular location from the App. However, stay tuned, as that is something we are working on for future versions.

  3. Hi, Heidi and Joan! This a very important topic and I`m so glad you took your time to explain how much time and effort it takes to have trails in shape. I was wondering, are hikers aware enough of importance of this topic?

    • Thanks for your feedback, Nigel! Knowing what we as hikers can do to help keep trails in shape is something we all need to be reminded of every now and then. Reminding existing hikers and raising awareness with new hikers through venues such as our social media sites (Facebook and Instagram), our website, and quarterly club newsletter is something we will continue to do.


Leave a comment

Discover more from Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading