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Upgrades coming to 'underrated' Cave Springs Conservation Area

Work is underway to improve the trails and shed light on the natural and cultural history of the area; improvements could be complete by October
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Get your hiking boots ready: work has started on the Cave Springs Conservation Area to improve the trails and shed light on the natural and cultural history of the area.

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) has started work on the improvements, which are expected to finish by October at the earliest.

Some of the work is designed to make the site more accessible, including the creation of an improved trail that will be wheelchair accessible, a new parking area for 16 vehicles and improved direction signs.

Other improvements will educate visitors about the area. This will include interpretive and educational signs about the site’s natural, geological, and cultural heritage, local and Indigenous histories, and recognition of the late Margaret Reed, who donated the area to the NPCA.

There will also be low impact development elements, including a rain garden and bio-retention area.

Work will also improve the link to the Bruce Trail network on top of the escarpment.

Currently, the site is only accessible from the Bruce Trail and there are no parking or visitor amenities. That led to trespassing, unauthorized parking, and unsafe use of the site.

Adam Christie, director of conservation areas at the NPCA, said that during the pandemic, there was a large increase in people visiting the area, but admitted that the infrastructure needed improvement.

The planned improvements will “highlight a conservation area that is really underrated,” he said.

Work will be carried out with respect to conserving the ecosystem, and Christie stressed that there will be “no trees harmed” in the construction.

The area is rich in folklore and history and features an underground lake, a wartime hideout, rock carvings, and a nearby native North American encampment site.

Reed spoke of the eponymous spring’s reputation as a “fountain of youth.”

Chris Pickles is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Niagara This Week. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.