The year started out strong with sold-out snowshoe adventures to the Grotto. We enjoyed exploring magical ice-encrusted cliffs with up to sixteen participants from all over the province and beyond. Our popular late winter Owl Prowls were also a sell-out success, rounding out a positive winter season. We anticipated an equally successful spring and summer, but had to adjust our expectations with the onset of the pandemic.
In July, we offered a scaled back catalogue of adventures to family and bubble groups, with the Devil's Playground trek our go to adventure. We experienced a few "wow" moments, like our fossil find above (a cephalopod). We even crossed paths with a black bear on the trail to the Devil's Monument!
The work of our guides was also celebrated in July, with a Tripadvisor "Best of the Best" award for our all five-star ratings. In August, we learned we would be launching a new, special program in affiliation with Ontario's Greenbelt.
We can't look back on this year without addressing the devastating toll COVID-19 has taken on the tourism industry. In response, we had to make adjustments to our usual operations, including reducing our list of offerings, catering to smaller groups, sanitizing equipment regularly, and practicing social distancing. While international travel suffered, the peninsula experienced more local visitors than ever before, making precautions like distancing on trails challenging at times. We are anticipating a busy winter season, but will need to continue keeping our tour groups smaller than usual.
We received grant support from Ontario's Greenbelt to launch a new program this fall. Highlighting the beauty and importance of the area, the first offering was an opportunity to get locals to play the tourist on a two-hour hike through the Hope Bay Nature Reserve. On October 30th, we did a spooky hike through the moonlit woods at Black Creek Provincial Park on Lake Huron, in the first of four sold-out night hikes in our Greenbelt by Night series. We talked Halloween lore, dune ecology, beavers, tree identification, and performed owl calls on our walk through dunes, forests, and wetlands.
An incredible 265 riders and 80 volunteers joined our first ever Gravel Gran Fondo in October 2019, tackling the back roads and trails of the Bruce Peninsula to raise funds in support of the Biosphere Association. We were so looking forward to holding the second annual ride this year, but naturally the pandemic made it impossible. Fingers crossed that we'll see you all out there next year!
As this challenging year draws to a close, there is a lot to look forward to! We have begun to launch our winter offerings, like Snowshoe the Grotto. Keep an eye on social media and our website for all the action!
We're excited to launch our new Forest Escape experience in the spring of 2021. Against a backdrop of ecological learning about wild orchids, fossils, and how to be a responsible
visitor to the peninsula, you will solve puzzles and uncover a dastardly plot.
In the spring, we plan to launch a canoe adventure. Our 8-person vessel was obtained after receiving the Tourism Innovation Lab Spark Grant in October 2019. This first “people-powered tour boat” on the peninsula offers you a one-of-a-kind opportunity for water based adventure and
On behalf of the Biosphere Association, thank you for supporting conservation through your purchase of an EcoAdventure. GO ADVENTURE!