About the Trail of Dreams Founder
With many new addtions, a video walk-through of just some of what you will find along the trail.
A story of the Trail of Dreams featured on CityTV in Toronto
The Stewards of the Trail of Dreams
Mandy Newton, along with her mom, Stephanie, now volunteer as caretakers of the trail. Gerry was assiting with the trail until he passed away in January, 2023. Mandy and her mom have graciously taken over the work of keeping the trail in great condition for visitors and helping maintain the vision Gerry has for the trail which includes sparking imaginations as well as conservation. Mandy or the Stewards can be contacted at NeustadtTrailofDreams@gmail.com
When Gerry began the trail, members of the Neustadt Lions Club helped with the initial clearing of the land at what would be the Queen Street entrance to the park in 2005. From 2005 through 2022, Gerry kept the trail maintained from clearing brush, building the installations to weed eating and trimming branches. At 82 years old in 2022, Gerry was still spreading stone dust on the trail provided by the Municipalilty of West Grey to help keep the trail handicap accessible. While his son, Scott provided help with many installations and some of the upkeep and a few other friends and family began lending a hand as needed, family and friends began making more organized efforts to help in 2022 to keep up the work and Mandy officially took over looking after the trail in the fall of 2022.
Gerry’s son Scott Hilgendorff will continue to guide others in Gerry’s vision for the trail while local Artist and Illustrator Gary McLaughlin, his wife, Culinary Herbalist Pat Crocker, nephew Kevin Hilgendorff and Lions Club Member Jim Reist will help maintain Gerry’s vision for the trail with the help of other volunteers and family in the community. Gary’s art can be seen in places on the trail and the stewards will work to follow the direction for the trail left behind by Gerry. That includes maintaining and promoting the trail as a place for foster imagination and exploring the outdoors. Efforts are being made to promote the planting of natural plant species and habitats for wildlife as directed to Gerry by the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority when the trail began. That is one of the reasons you see brush piles along the trail and a limit that has now been reached on the amount of memorial benches on the trail itself. Some of the statues along the trail were purchased from any monies leftover from the purchase of the memorial benches and in the Spring of 2023, the last items Gerry purchased for the trail will be put in place. While Mandy, Stephanie and the stewards may oversee some smaller changes and additions to the trail, Gerry had intended these final pieces to make the trail complete.