Land stewards are the caregivers of Bruce Trail Conservancy owned and managed lands. Unlike trail captains who maintain the trail itself, stewards inspect entire properties. The Toronto Bruce Trail Club owns or manages 14 properties with 16 land stewards and one land stewardship director. The club began recruiting land stewards in 1998 and have since been the eyes and ears of our lands. Some have been caring for their properties for several years and also volunteer as hike leaders and trail captains. Land stewards have permission to explore beyond the trail and see parts of the escarpment that few get to experience.
What We Do
Biannual property inspections (spring and fall)
Ensure property boundaries are in place
Report encroachment, dumping and unauthorized use (camping, fires, motorized vehicles)
Communicate with staff at head office and contribute to stewardship plans
Install fences, signs and assist in larger work parties that may include invasive species removal, tree planting or installing property markers
Collaborate with trail captains and trail maintenance teams to solve issues
Report invasive species, check bird boxes
Attend BTC held stewardship workshops
Land stewardship goes beyond the trail. The Toronto Club’s first land steward described it as: “gaining a broader understanding of the context of the Bruce Trail in the bigger picture, both ecologically as well as socially…” A land steward may deal with local hikers, trail captains, head office staff and neighbouring land owners.
Of the roughly 50 kilometres of main trail within the Toronto Section about 10 kilometres fall within a Bruce Trail managed land and these can be seen when passing a “Bruce Trail Managed Land” sign along the way. Some properties may not have any trail present but plans are to have these connect with the trail in the future. Look out for Bruce Trail managed lands next time you are on the trail and thank a land steward if you see one of them!