The Brant Waterways Foundation & the Grand River
The Grand, a Canadian Heritage River, is the lifeblood that flows through our community and connects us with the splendors of nature. It is a fundamental component of the area’s rich history, a defining element of our identity and life in Brant. It has served as a playground for generations of kids and the recreational hub of countless outdoor enthusiasts.
Over the past 30 years, the Brant Waterways Foundation has been the driving force in re-establishing our connections with the Grand River and its prominence in our day-to-day lives. During this time we have contributed over $5 million to projects that protect, preserve, restore and improve the natural resources and recreational opportunities of the Grand River watershed within Brantford, Brant, Six Nations of the Grand and the Mississauga’s of the New Credit territory.
This is not the end of the story, however. The Brant Waterways Foundation is steadfast in our continued stewardship of the Grand River watershed and excited to announce the next stage in our evolution - the TIRA Project.
Trail Improvement & River Access (TIRA) Program
TIRA’s vision is to inspire healthy communities through connections to world-class outdoor recreational opportunities that respect the natural ecosystems and promote their conservation for generations to come.
We will accomplish this through partnering with other stakeholders to develop trail improvement and river access projects while protecting the natural resources of the Grand River watershed.
TIRA will provide funding assistance to a variety of important projects that will unlock the full potential of the area and continue to enhance our connections with the Grand River. Some of the initial projects that have been proposed include:
- Support for trail improvements along the Grand Valley Trail Association (GVTA)
- Establishment of the ‘Grand Trail’ initiative throughout Brant County
- Revitalization of Mohawk Lake and/or trail improvements in the area
- Access, environmental and trail improvements at Rotary Centennial Waterworks Park
- Creation of a parking lot and river access point on Newport Road
- Mountain bike & hiking trail developments at ‘Barkers Bush’ in Paris
- Flood damage repairs in Gilkinson Flats, D’Aubigny Creek, etc.
With Brantford being designated by the Provincial Government as a ‘place to grow’ and the historic land deal between the City of Brantford and the County of Brant being completed on Jan 1, 2018, the stage has been set for a 30% population growth by 2040.
This development will have drastic impacts and create extensive pressure on the existing trail systems. If left unchecked, this growth will consume greenspaces and critical natural environments will disappear forever. There has never been a more critical time for investments in our natural environment, trail networks and river access points.
What are the Benefits?
Outdoor recreation is no longer a “nice to have,” it is now a “must have” as leaders recognize the undeniable economic, social, cultural and health benefits of outdoor recreation.
Studies show that people are significantly more active recreationally when they have close proximity to trails and waterways. Contact with nature positively affects blood pressure, cholesterol, stress reduction, and behavioral problems among children. These outcomes have particular relevance for mental health and cardiovascular disease, which are expected to become the two biggest contributors to disease worldwide by the year 2020.
Connecting communities with well-maintained trails and waterways encourages residents and tourists alike to spend more time exploring their surroundings. Tourism creates jobs and puts money into local economies. Well placed signage informs the public about places of interest including natural areas, museums and theatres and shopping districts.
Trails often cross lands which are environmentally sensitive in many ways. By leading users along well-worn paths, trails keep users away from more sensitive features that might not be able to withstand traffic. Well-developed trails provide environmental buffers, such as boardwalks and bridges that protect delicate wetlands while allowing users to experience varied plant and animal wildlife.
We have an opportunity now to build bridges within the communities of Brant, Brantford and Six Nations. What better way to do so than to encourage community-focused cultural, heritage, educational, athletic and spiritual events on and around the river, acknowledging Indigenous connections with the river. Our Heritage River and its accompanied trails are the lifeblood of our collective community.
How Can You Help?
Your assistance is greatly needed to realize TIRA’s objectives to provide world-class recreational opportunities and healthy natural spaces for generations to come. Brant Waterways Foundation is conducting a Major Gifts fundraising campaign to help fund these important project.
Contributions will go towards local projects and have a significant impact helping us to protect, preserve, restore and improve the natural assets of the Grand.
Over the past 30 years the Brant Waterways Foundation has been an integral part of the Grand River’s rehabilitation from ‘one of the most polluted rivers in the country’ to the healthy, vibrant ecosystem it is today.
Please consider getting involved in the campaign or donating today to help kick off the next wave of transformational projects and become an integral part of the next 30 years of this legacy.