Backyard passport


Everyone seems to be in a rush to hop on a plane and fly to visit some tourist spot.


I wonder why.


We have more than enough beauty spots in our backyard. This is the 10th year for the county’s Explore the Bruce Adventure Passport promotion and we find there’s always something new and interesting to see in the county.


Dana and I spent Tuesday to Thursday last week trying to find spots listed on the passport.


You have to be a bit of an explorer to find some of the locations. Skinners Bluff, east of Wiarton, was the most spectacular site and is likely the most difficult to locate for southerners anyway. We ended up on a narrow, muddy gravel road with trees on all sides which we travelled to a “passport” sign indicating Skinners Bluff is near. A five- to 10-minute walk through bush on the Bruce Trail gets you to the bluff. From the cliff, you can see for miles, with the trees far below you.


The passport also took us for a long walk on the Bruce Trail at Lion’s Head and to the sand dunes at Sauble Beach.


Another spectacular view, not on the passport list, is from the tower at the Bruce Peninsula National Park in Tobermory. You can see many of the islands off the peninsula and you can get a bird’s eye view of the Chi-Cheemaun when it's docked in Tobermory.


The Adventure Passport must be one of the county’s best investments when it comes to tourism money. Everywhere we went, we met other people trying to fill their passport. Once you have seven passport stops punched on your card, you must get the passport to the county tourism office by Oct. 31 for a chance to win a prize -  but that’s not the incentive for most people.




When we were at Bruce Peninsula National Park, there was no staff on duty. That means we climbed the tower and roamed the park free of charge.


According to a story in the Sunday Star, Parks Canada has been cutting staff the past couple of years so parks are just manned at peak visitor times. If I remember the sign correctly, the park is manned at this time of year from Thursday to Sunday.


The staffing information was obtained by the office of Wayne Easter, Liberal MP for the P.E.I. riding of Malpeque through a written question to the government.


Easter said it’s not only the national historic sites that are at risk, but the businesses that depend on the tourism generated by them.


National historic sites and parks bring in about $3.3 billion for the Canadian economy each year, across 400 communities.


Parks Canada plans to cut $27 million from its $659.7-million budget in 2014-2015.




While we were enjoying the cool, cloudy weather, our politicians were in Ottawa trying to decide whether we should be at war.


The government decided that we will send planes to Iraq to drop bombs on the Islamic State and Levant; the opposition parties don’t like the idea.


I suspect the government had little choice. The U.S. likely strongly suggested that Canada join the coalition to fight ISIS.


And I wonder if the U.S. is just playing into the hands of ISIS.


The U.S. has certainly made mistakes in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas of the Middle East. Will the war on ISIS be any different?


And you can’t win a war by dropping bombs, many of which will fall on innocent people.