Being outdoors in nature feels good, and it’s good for you. Research has shown that connecting with green spaces boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood, sleep and cognition, increases energy levels, and accelerates recovery from surgery.
That’s why the McNaughton Morrison trail that winds from the Morrison Dam to Exeter is so important to the community. “Since the trail opened in 2004, we’ve seen the improvement in peoples’ lives,” says Kate Monk, Stewardship, Land and Education Manager at the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. “Many people are on it every day, local schools use it for their education and sports programs, and we’ve heard of people choosing to live in Exeter because of the trail!” The VON’s grief support group has used the trail for a program called the ‘mourning walk.’
The Grand Bend Community Foundation was pleased to support the new pedestrian Jones Bridge, which ensures that trail users can cross the Ausable River safely. Without the bridge, they were forced to walk on Morrison Line, a two-lane paved road.
The name honors a generous contribution made by Donna Jones in memory of her husband Ted Jones, a longtime ABCA staff member. The municipality of South Huron, many community members, organizations and foundations also supported the project.
Installed on a snowy day in November, the bridge was well used over the winter, Monk says. She adds: “I live in Exeter, so I can commute along the trail to work. On nice days I like to take a photo of the river and send it to my friends who work in Toronto!”