The Grey Sauble Conservation Authority is in the process of developing a Management Plan for the Eugenia Falls Conservation Area. This Plan will guide the management of this property over the next 10 to 20 years.
Management Plan for the Eugenia Falls Conservation Area
About the Eugenia Falls Conservation Area
The Eugenia Falls Conservation Area (CA) is located along the Beaver River in the Municipality of Grey Highlands (formerly Artemesia Township). The property is approximately 23 hectares in size and contains the picturesque Eugenia Falls cascading 30 metres into the Cuckoo Valley, remains of early industry – stone ruins of an 1895 power station and tunnel (penstock), a memorial cenotaph and interpretive plaques. Hiking and walking trails on this property link to the Bruce Trail system. This property contains many examples of rare landforms and habitats of the Niagara Escarpment such as the waterfall, exposed cliffs, talus slopes (broken rock at the base of a cliff), and ancient cedar trees on remote cliff faces.
The falls were named for Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon lll, the name was suggested by ex-soldiers of the French Army (Crimean War) whom were part of Charles Rankin’s surveying team in Artemisia Township. This property has historical documentation in 1852 when the falls were discovered as part of a “Fools Gold” rush by local farmer Mr. Brownlee who discovered gold covered pyrite at the base of the falls. Later it became the location of five mills and a small private electric plant and by 1905, was the chosen site of the second hydroelectric plant in Ontario. In 1915, Ontario Hydro moved the plant to the north and created Lake Eugenia, allowing more control over the water levels. The property was purchased by Grey Sauble Conservation Authority in 1968 from the Hydro Electric Power Company. The upstream hydroelectric development has reduced the flow of water over the falls from its origins when the rushing water sound attracted the “gold miners” and there are reports it was reminiscent of a smaller Niagara Falls.
The Eugenia Falls Conservation Area is part of the Niagara Escarpment Parks and Open Space System (NEPOSS). As the name suggests, this is a system of parks and open spaces along the Niagara Escarpment that are connected by the Bruce Trail. The system is expected to provide opportunities for recreation, tourism, and to play a fundamental role in the protection of cultural and natural heritage resources. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) coordinates the development and administration of NEPOSS, including the approval of management plans. The Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) works collaboratively with MNRF to ensure that recreational activities and development within the NEPOSS are consistent with the objectives and policies of the Niagara Escarpment Plan. The NEPOSS Council meets regularly to advance NEPOSS objectives and provides advice to the NEC and MNRF.
Why we need a Management Plan
Recreational tourism, particularly on the Bruce Peninsula, is becoming increasingly more popular. Due, in part, to social media coverage, many locations within our region, including the Peninsula, are experiencing unprecedented numbers of visitors. The Eugenia Falls Conservation Area is located directly on the travel corridor from the GTA to the Bruce Peninsula. As interest in the Peninsula continues to grow, Eugenia Falls Conservation Area is expected to continue to experience ever increasing visitor traffic.
The Eugenia Falls property, are also extremely popular with local citizens, who recognize the value of this unique local treasure.
This plan is required to address future public use demands and to enhanced environmental protection. Furthermore, it is necessary to prepare a comprehensive and integrated management plan for the property that can respond to the changes in the availability of public funds and evolving concepts in conservation and sustainability. The plan is intended to match Grey Sauble Conservation Authority’s vision of a healthy watershed environment in balance with the needs of society.
The Objectives of the Management Plan
Natural Heritage – To protect, restore and regenerate the natural ecosystem by ensuring the health and diversity of native species, habitats, landscapes and ecological processes; to maximize the linkages and connectivity of the natural heritage features to one another and to adjacent areas; and to provide professional resource management as appropriate.
Cultural Heritage – To identify, protect and conserve the cultural heritage features for their inherent value and depiction of the long-term human use and occupancy of the area, including any identified traditional uses of First Nations peoples.
Land Use – To ensure protection of the ecological integrity and cultural values of the land through innovative planning and management, and appropriate conservation, recreation and other land uses.
Recreation – To provide opportunities for appropriate outdoor recreation, that is sustainable in environmental, physical and economic terms, and which is consistent with all other objectives.
Education – To promote knowledge and understanding of the natural and cultural values of the site, the watershed area, and the Niagara Escarpment, including their protection and management requirements, as well as their significance, sensitivities and interrelationships.
Stewardship – To promote and facilitate the ongoing public involvement toward a partnership that will foster sustainable recreational tourism and will accomplish watershed management objectives.
Fiscal Sustainability – To ensure that GSCA undertakes upgrades, alterations and management of the Eugenia Falls Conservation Area in a manner that considers fiscal requirements and responsibilities and strives to ensure financial balance and sustainability over the long-term.
Management – To manage Eugenia Falls Conservation Area in a manner that will ensure the achievement of all objectives.
Public Consultation Process
We are seeking your input. Tell us what you like about the Eugenia Falls Conservation Area, and what you don’t like. The intent of the planning process is to assess the current state of the Conservation Area and to identify strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities for the property. This will allow us, in consultation with our partners and stakeholders, to develop a plan that will guide the management and development of this property into the future.
There will be two public open houses throughout the process. These open houses will be held during Phase Two and Three of the Management Plan process to present the concepts for the Management Plan at each stage. These meetings will be hosted by the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority on the Inglis Falls Conservation Area property at the Grey Sauble Administrative Centre.
We will also utilize targeted consultation techniques (letters, emails, phone calls) to offer neighbours, partners, and stakeholders a direct conduit to comment and remain informed about the planning process.
Additionally, we are accepting feedback from the general public by means of an online survey, an online feedback form on this page, by phone, or in person.