It’s ‘forest bathing’ time at Eau Claire Gorge

·2 min read

The North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) is hosting a hike through the Eau Claire Gorge Conservation Area this July 22nd. An annual event, the hike through the woods attracts many nature lovers—few can resist the beauty of the gorge.

Hikers will meet at the Eau Claire Gorge Conservation Area for a 9:30 a.m. start. Make your way to Calvin Township, via Highway 17 East (heading toward Mattawa), turn south on Highway 630 and you’re almost there. Follow the signs to the Eau Claire Gorge posted along 630 and the entrance is on the right. Look for Graham Road.

Organizers are also providing a bus from North Bay. Hikers can meet at the NBMCA office at 15 Janey Avenue. Be there for 8:15 a.m. or expect your hike to become a lot longer. Participants are also asked to pre-register for the event—even if you plan on driving yourself—so organizers can keep tabs on the numbers. Call 705-474-5420 to register.

To participate, the NBMCA would appreciate a financial donation. There is no set fee for the hike or the bus ride to and from the gorge. All proceeds support the organization’s upcoming environmental education programs.

Hiking along the gorge can take a toll, as it’s about an hour and a half walk. Being physically fit is a plus, because there a few parts of the trail that become rugged and steep. Appropriate clothing and footwear are recommended.

Sue Buckle oversees communications for the NBMCA, and she provided a little history of the gorge in a recent release to whet the appetites of local hikers. “Hundreds of millions of years ago,” the story begins, “the earth’s crust cracked, and the rock along these fault lines shifted.”

“As the glacier moved through the area, it dug deep into the fractured rock” and removed it from the fault zone “leaving behind the steep-sided gorge,” with walls reaching 18 metres high (60 feet) in some places.

Now what about this forest bathing? “Forest bathing,” Buckle outlined, “is simply being in nature, connecting with nature through our sense of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.” Laura Kielpinski of the Canadian Ecology Centre will be the guest guide for this hike, so prepare to bathe within the scenery and enjoy “the spectacular setting” of the Eau Claire Gorge.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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