Environmental Interpretive Centre

In 2006, work began on the interpretive trail system. The intention was to provide visitors of the Red Hill Valley with factual information; this included the history, information about the Red Hill Valley Project, and the Haudenosaunee story. Connecting the visitor to the environment in new ways would do this and by rethinking the history of the impact of humans on the environment, we can help all visitors become better stewards of the cultural landscape.

As part of the trail system project, money from the Red Hill Valley Project was set aside to pay for new trail head signs. These signs would indicate the interpretive plan of the valley by showing the visitor the recreational trails and meeting places. Some trails were relocated and augmented as a result of the Red Hill Parkway. There is a foot bridge at the lower end of the trail, allowing people to walk, jog or bike the entire journey through the Valley, from the escarpment all the way down to the beaches of Lake Ontario.

To reduce our environmental impact and not clutter the landscape with signage, most of the information is provided digitally by way of the Internet from the Joint Stewardship Board website, downloadable at home, at school or on-site. Originally it was thought that there would be a series of Boulders, each marked with a petroglyphic symbol to note that this is a point of interest. Visitors would be encouraged to down load the information at that point. This would be a play on the indigenous concept of a Talking Rock, a place where knowledge was shared. Also, we would produce a printed and digital walker’s guide to the valley as well for those who do not use the Internet. The idea is to reduce the visual clutter along the trail and yet encourage our visitors to share the many stories of the Valley.

This program is still under development but intends to feature four major themes along the trails as indicated by the following icons:

1) Indigenous History – Culture of the First Peoples

2) Valley Ecosystem – Nature at Work

3) Hamilton History – From Farmstead to Factory

4) Engineering History – Harnessing Nature and Environmental Restoration

In addition to the main signs at each entrance, there will be other signs along the trail, as well as rest stops to learn what took place in the Valley.