Footbridge on the Centre Falls Trail

Centre Falls - 1978

Centre Falls – 1978

Since at least 1947, there was a footbridge on site along a challenging section on the Centre Falls trail in Temagami (now part of Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Wilderness Park). That changed in 2003 when the MNR removed the footbridge for liability and budgetary reasons. The path that must now be used predates the bridge but includes a very difficult and steep climb up and down the small ravine.

A direct message from Hap Wilson on the removal of the Centre Falls Footbridge in Temagami:

When I was a park ranger in Temagami back in 1978, one of my first jobs was to rebuild the footbridge at Centre Falls (then Lady Evelyn Waterway Park – pre Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Wilderness Park).

The old bridge, built in the early 1960’s by a dozen Junior Rangers and two foremen over a 2-week period, spanned the sixty-foot ravine beside the falls. I had a crew of four and we rebuilt the bridge in five-days in early May. Tar and rolled asphalt helped preserve the joints.

The bridge was still in good shape well into the new century; however, the MNR removed the bridge for liability reasons a few years ago, even though the couple of planks that had deteriorated could easily have been replaced.

It is a very difficult lift or drop through the ravine without the bridge. When the MNR took down the bridge they left all the spike-laced debris in clear site instead of dragging it back into the bush; when we built the bridge we made sure the old take-down material was cleared away.

If you think this iconic footbridge should be rebuilt again, let me know…I’ve seen a lot of trippers struggle through this dangerous cut in the rocks.”

~Hap Wilson, June 2013

To let Hap know YOUR VIEW, leave a comment below, email him at info@ecotrailbuilders.com or find other ways to contact Hap Wilson here: Contact Hap Wilson – Eco Trailbuilders

Rebuilding Centre Falls Bridge - 1978

Rebuilding Centre Falls Bridge – 1978

Hap and his crew working on Centre Falls Bridge - 1978

Hap and his crew working on Centre Falls Bridge – 1978

Rebuilding Centre Falls Bridge - 1978

Rebuilding Centre Falls Bridge – 1978

Farley Mowat on “Grey Owl And Me”

At one time, there were very few Canadians who had not heard the name Grey Owl. Today, there are very few Canadians who have not heard the name Farley Mowat. As a Canadian author and environmentalist whose works have been translated into 52 languages with more than 17 million books sold, Farley has also been a long time patron of EARTHROOTS. Thus, as co-founder of the important environmental group EARTHROOTS, Hap became associated with Farley, who then became a bit of a mentor for Hap. So it was with great honour that Hap received this short scribbled note (see below) from Mr. Mowat upon reading Hap’s book, Grey Owl and Me: Stories From the Trail and Beyond .

 

Scribbled note from Farley Mowat

‘Hap! “Grey Owl” is great — really enjoyed it. Many Thanks. F.’

But Farley Mowat isn’t the only one who thinks Hap’s Stories From the Trail and Beyond is a great read. Below are some more reviews taken from various sources across the internet and other mediums:

Wilson doesn’t go so far as to admit to being Grey Owl’s modern-day equal, but in many ways he’s picked up where Belaney left off. As celebrated he was as an author and orator in England, Belaney died young, consumed by alcoholism and depression. Wilson, on the other hand, has logged almost 40,000 wilderness miles and is still going strong. In his outspoken passion for the land, lakes and rivers of northern Canada, he’s inspired a new generation of canoe trippers-and no doubt more to come. — Conor Mihell

 

 

“Now Im sitting here with 10 good quotes and double entendres from Grey Owl that I would like to drop into this review, but Im pretty sure none of them would fly with the editor (whats French for seal again?) so Im going to leave them out. Suffice it to say that even though there is a strong environmental aspect to the book and that environmental awareness is clearly the main order here, Grey Owl and Me is often just way too fun to be clean, and the really clean parts arent that quotable. But thats just how Hap [Wilson] rolls. If you want environmentalism with some edge, I cant think of a better place to jump in than right here.” — Chronicle-Journal (Thunder Bay)

 

Wilson’s stream of conscious writing style has the feel of a campfire story: It’s impossible not to be engaged by his tales, which range from idyllic summer canoe trips to winter dogsled expeditions, and standing at the frontlines of environmental debates with the likes of Paul Watson, the founder of the notoriously radical Sea Shepherd Society. The book is hard to put down. — Canoe and Kayak Magazine, 20100801

 

If you enjoyed [Hap Wilsons] other hilarious and jaw-dropping memoirs, you wont be disappointed. This one, too, is sprinkled with sparks of brilliant and insightful writing. — Ottertooth.com

 

Grey Owl and Me

As expected, Hap’s call for environmental conservation is reflected in the very materials of this book, which has been printed on paper from well-managed forests and other controlled sources as approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). For more information about Mixed Sources and the FSC, visit their website: www.fsc.org. Don’t forget that you may purchase books directly from the author, and Hap always includes a personalized message and/or signature for those who ask.  Contact Hap for purchasing and details.

Hap Wilson – Eco Trailbuilders Endorsed by Ontario Trails Council

Just recently, Hap received a letter of reference from the Ontario Trails Council, and it’s executive committee members, endorsing Ecotrailbuilders (Eskakwa) as one of the few qualified experts of Trails and Trail Development in Ontario.

As you are aware there are not many professional practitioners of trail development in Ontario. This fact is rather disconcerting given that there are over 2600 trails, many are multiuse, and the total distances represented is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80,000 km.

The Ontario Trails Council calls you “an expert” with due consideration to your wide ranging experience as a trail guide, parks staff, trail warden, trail developer, route planner, map maker, environmentalist and professional trail consultant. We believe that your advice regarding trail development and land management to be prudent, cautionary and balanced.

Letter of Endorsement from OTC

 

Hap’s list of clients include: Canada Parks, Trans Canada Trail, Canadian Heritage River Systems, Manitoba Tourism, Manitoba Natural Resources, Ontario Ministry Of Natural Resources, Ontario Nature Federation, Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association, Township Of Seguin, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, J.W. Marriott Resort Inn Muskoka, Inn At Manitou Relais Et Chateau, and Earthroots.

 

Eco Trails Accomplished to Date:

WATER-BASED ROUTES: 12,000 KM.

LAND-BASED TRAILS : 700 KM.

NUMBER OF CONSTRUCTIONS: 425

LENGTH OF BOARDWALKS: 3,500 M.

Visit the Eco Trailbuilders Services page for more information about the multitude of eco trail services that Hap and his team of trail builders provide.