Brokenhead Ecological Reserve – Interpretive Trail Concept Plan

Featured, Planning

Exploring the bog with Carl Smith of BON who is sharing First Nations teachings with me as we walk.

Exploring the bog with Carl Smith of BON, who shared First Nations teachings with me on our many walks.

The Debwendon (Ojibwa for Trust) Committee asked us to develop the concept plan for an interpretive trail adjacent to the Brokenhead Ecological Reserve. The committee included partners from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, Native Orchid Conservation Inc., Manitoba Model Forest, Eastside Aboriginal Sustainable Tourism Inc., and Manitoba Conservation.

Working our way through the concept plan helped to clarify options and details. Each of the Debwendon partner groups had their own priorities for themes, objectives and target audiences. Consultation clarified priority themes and found common threads to be woven through the interpretation.

Three options for the theme statement were provided to the steering committee, using the Ojibway culture as a backdrop for interpretation of the rare fen and cedar forest. The final theme statement was:

The Ojibway teach us that everything alive is interconnected and has a purpose to fulfill; we need to respect that purpose to maintain a balance in the world.

Through consultation we identified these general topics to be interpreted:

  • Ojibway culture and traditional use of the area
  • What makes this a rare ecosystem
  • Endangered species, with special focus on orchids and carnivorous plants
  • Ecological Reserves
  • The fen and cedar forest as part of the broader boreal forest ecosystem

We created four sub-themes based on the ideas of respect, purpose, balance and interconnections.

  • As part of the living world we respect all living things because we are all interconnected.
  • All living things have a purpose.
  • There are many checks and balances in the natural world that need to be understood and respected.
  • This rare cedar forest and calcareous fen teach us that there are more interconnections in nature than we can begin to understand.

The final concept plan provided a number of creative interpretive options and has yet to be implemented.