Niagara Nature Tours promotes low impact educational ecotourism experiences.
The cornerstone of our company is education.
But if education is a cornerstone, then enjoyment is our touchstone.
Following the guidelines and principles of ecotourism we decided that "supporting our local culture" meant support the local arts community. To that end we combine the arts and sciences with nature to provide unique programming and tours at all levels of interest that will satisfy beginners and professionals alike.
We utilize the best local talent available: wine writers, consultants and growers, horticulturists, historians, storytellers, musicians, poets, artists, professors, scientists and naturalists.
Niagara Nature Tours bases its programs on the premise that the geologic history of the Great Lakes basin has had a major influence on the physical and human geography of the Niagara Peninsula. To understand the local physical geography, the pattern of early settlement, the flow of 19th Century battles and the economic development of this area; the role of the underlying rocks, soils and the process responsible must be appreciated. This role is not restricted to past events. The current expansion in the Niagara grape and wine industry has its roots deep in the natural history of this region.
Our tours examine the patterns of wildlife and Native migration to this area after the last ice age, look at how the European settlers influenced the type of agriculture we have today and the industries that have developed; and how all these things were influenced by the physical geography. By going back to the beginning we can understand more clearly that our history has in many ways been determined literally on the lay of the land. This allows a stronger appreciation of the Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Falls, the Welland Canal, and the Quarries that provided stone for beautiful historic buildings and concrete aggregate for modern structures.
Our winery tours focus on influence of local geographic features and how their interaction results in a local environment that permits the cultivation of the high quality vinifera grapes. Although hardier varieties of grapes thrive throughout much of Southern Ontario, it is the vinifera grapes that are necessary to make great wines. The Niagara wine growing area is a narrow strip of land lying between the Niagara Escarpment on the South and Lake Ontario to the North. Lake Ontario exerts a moderating influence on the local climate. In combination with the Niagara Escarpment, it is also responsible for air flow patterns that help protect tender vines and fruit trees from the killing frosts that frequently occur just outside of this zone. The tours will include visits to local wineries with presentations on grape growing and wine making by industry professionals. We can provide up to one week of educational, entertaining Wine and Regional Cuisine programming. And of course, an opportunity to sample the world class wines of Niagara!
Our geology tours of Niagara focuses on the natural history of the Niagara Escarpment. Starting with the origin of its rocks as sands and muds on the floor of an ancient sea, its history is traced from before the age of the dinosaurs, through the Ice Ages, up to the present. Along the way you will see how the different types of rocks were responsible for the development of the escarpment and how the escarpment was responsible for one of the world's greatest tourist attractions, Niagara Falls. Depending on the tour itinerary, a visit to the base of The Falls or a hike into the special environment of the Niagara River Gorge may be included.
The 'easy' tours are organized for ease of travel -- motor coaches, smaller vans or limousines drive through beautiful countryside hitherto unexplored by tour companies. Niagara Nature Tour's guide will explain the natural history and stories of the area. Stops will be made in the Niagara Parks Commission which has trails that are made for large or small groups, with ease of accessibility in mind (wheelchairs can be accommodated upon request).
Those participating can either take part in gentle informative rambles, wait on the bus, or remain outside at picnic tables for the short duration of the stop.
The 'moderate' tours are a combination of the above, with vehicle stops being longer in duration, and along trails that are not wheelchair accessible.
Depending upon the request group, the outdoor rambles could incorporate hills and sections of the famous Niagara Escarpment 'Bruce Trail' and natural areas that are not sidewalk quality, but are still comfortable walking for anyone able to negotiate natural areas that are not too strenuous.
The 'difficult' tour designations would be designed for people in good health that are safely capable of hiking, walking and general outdoor activities. Their outdoor stops would include natural history walks that descend the many steps in the Niagara Glen Gorge (and ascend of course!), or along the Niagara Escarpment trails that can be steep and rough.