Lower Trent Conservation is celebrating its 50th anniversary! To commemorate this milestone occasion, we have released our ’50 in 50′ historical blog series. This special series features 50 articles highlighting some of the achievements, milestones and events of the past 50 years. We hope you enjoy them!
The only thing that Paul and Maria Heissler ever wanted for a 2 million pound (900,000 kilogram) rock located at Glen Miller, just north of Trenton, was for the glacial remnant to be forever accessible to everyone. Known locally for many, many years as the Glen Miller Rock, or simply the Big Rock, the gargantuan ice age remnant was left behind 12,000 years ago when the mammoth glacier covering North America during the last great “Ice Age” receded from the area. Unfortunately, the site was largely inaccessible to the public.
The opportunity to purchase the 68-acre (28 hectares) property presented itself to the couple in 1997 and, with no hesitation, they became owners of the geological gem. Over the next several years, they worked tirelessly, with the help of many volunteers, to build a trail in order to provide public access to renowned rock. They founded the Bleasdell Boulder Preservation Corporation in 2001 to ensure the preservation of the site for future generations.
At the official opening of the new trail site on October 3, 1998, the rock’s name was restored to what it was first known as, the “Bleasdell Boulder”. It was Reverend William Bleasdell, an amateur geologist and rector of St. George’s Anglican Church in Trenton, who discovered it in 1862. Bleasdell wrote of the rock in scientific journals and so brought it to the attention of geologists and biologists across Canada. The boulder is considered to be one of the largest glacial erratics in North America.
The small group of community members who made up the Bleasdell Boulder Preservation Corporation continued to work tirelessly for several years to establish trails, parking areas, and interpretive signage. In 2005, the property was donated to Lower Trent Conservation. With new trail improvements, bridges and signage, Lower Trent Conservation is proud to be caretaker of this important piece of our natural history and remains committed to Paul and Maria’s vision of providing public access to this very special place!