Baffin is proud to announce the Trail Conservancy Project in partnership with the Bruce Trail Conservancy. To prevent the spread of harmful, invasive species along Canada's oldest and longest marked footpath – Baffin has committed to building 100 co-branded boot brush stations by 2025. This adds to the existing 35 stations currently located throughout the 900 km of main trail.
Boot Brush Stations are an important tool in the protection of the diverse ecosystem within the Bruce Trail.
What is an Invasive Species?
As Adam Brylowski, Manager of Conservation & Trail at the Bruce Trail Conservancy explains, an invasive species is one that was introduced to an ecosystem or region, from outside of that region. These species have more resiliency and less susceptibly to native diseases and insects, therefore thriving and outcompeting the native species in an ecosystem.
The most common invasive species found along the Bruce Trail are Garlic Mustard, European Buckthorn and Dog Strangling Vine. These species are all detrimental to biodiversity in Southern Ontario as they replace native species and turn into a monoculture of species that are not only invasive but do not provide habitats for animals and insects within the existing ecosystem.
Adam Brylowski, Manager of Conservation & Trail at the Bruce Trail Conservancy
Brush Off Your Boots
The spread of invasive species is one of the top threats to Niagara Escarpment biodiversity, with hikers easily and unknowingly tracking invasive species’ seeds into the trail on their boots. Boot Brush Stations have been shown to significantly decrease the spread of invasive species along trail corridors.
These stations encourage hikers to brush off their boots before their journey – an effort to knock these seeds off their footwear before they continue the spread through the native ecosystem of the Bruce Trail.
Standing at approximately three feet tall and four feet wide, Boot Brush Stations are made of cedar wood and consist of a base and a large display. The display acts as an instructional and educational tool, teaching hikers about invasive species often brought through the trail and how to effectively use the stations to remove any possible threats from their boots. The boot brush itself is a plastic scrubber located at the bottom of the station for ease of access.
Boot Brush Station on the Bruce Trail
Baffin’s Trail Conservancy Project
A supporter of the Bruce Trail Conservancy for the past decade, Baffin has helped fund the conservation programming designed to conserve, restore and manage land along the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere and to protect its ecosystems for the benefit of all. The launch of Baffin's Trail Conservancy Project is a natural progression in this symbiotic partnership that aims to protect the environment so people can continue to spend time in nature and explore.
This partnership merges two Ontario organizations who share a passion for adventure and the outdoors. Baffin believes in Real-World Testing™, bringing products to diverse climates to ensure quality and protection for customers. From the most extreme environments on Earth to hometown trails, Baffin relies on the conservation of local environments and the work organizations, including the Bruce Trail Conservancy, commit to preserving nature.
Ontario-based company Turkstra Lumber has joined the project, generously supplying materials for the build. Turkstra Lumber is a family owned and operated business that has served Hamilton and the Niagara Region for over 65 years.
To launch the Trail Conservancy Project, Baffin built the first 20 Boot Brush Stations in the brands Stoney Creek production facility on April 21, 2023. Baffin employees have committed to donating their time during the workday to help build the stations, providing the entire Baffin company the opportunity to give back and help protect the Bruce Trail.
To learn more about the Bruce Trail Conservancy’s mission and how you can help, visit their website Brucetrail.org.