A spectacular view from Menesetung Bridge
Who could have imagined, nearly 30 years ago, that one of the most spectacular views in Huron County would be from an abandoned railway bridge, rescued from the scrap heap.
When CP Rail abandoned its line running from Goderich to Guelph, the railway planned to demolish the trestle that had carried its trains high over the Maitland River. Some farsighted local residents, however, thought this bridge should be retained and citizens formed the Menesetung Bridge Association to purchase it and convert it into a walking bridge and trail. Hundreds of people rallied to the cause, donating money to help with the preservation and conversion. If you look down you can see the names of donors on the planks that now carry pedestrians where heavy loads of road graders, salt and grain once chugged along.
The view is spectacular. You may look down and see seagulls actually flying beneath you. To the west you can see the harbour and Lake Huron and to the east the Maitland Golf and Curling Club. The noises of the town and the highway traffic are muffled and the loudest sounds are often the sighing wind and the cries of the gulls.
The Canadian Pacific Railway was a relative latecomer to the area, arriving only in 1907. It carried passenger traffic only until 1961 and by 80 years after the first train was welcomed, the railway was seeking governmental permission to pull up the tracks.
It’s not just the bridge that was saved. If you cross the bridge you can follow the former railway right of way east to the grave of Tiger Dunlop, who founded Goderich and helped open up the Huron Tract. You can go all the way to Auburn on the Goderich to Auburn Rail Trail (GART) and something even bigger is in development, the Guelph-to-Goderich (G2G) Rail Trail, a 127- km. trail through Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington Counties to Guelph. Unfortunately for the hardworking volunteers of the group, there weren’t far-seeing volunteers all along the line back in 1988 and several bridges must be replaced to allow people to retrace the entire route of the railway.