Mad River Ganaraska Section

Mad River Ganaraska section mostly back into shape
Last fall, we had reports that the Mad River section of the Ganaraska Trail, between Utopia and the westerly cairn of the Ganaraska Trail in Glen Huron, was in dire need of some TLC. Since the Mad River club did not have the capacity of doing the maintenance on this 50 km section of Ganaraska Trail, adjacent clubs came to the rescue, and thanks to the excellent weather in the late fall, and with the help of many volunteers, we managed to bring the trail back into shape… for the most part.
In total, we organized 6 trail maintenance days between the end of October and mid November and reblazed 38 kms.
We had to deal with  wind storm damage, a myriad of new trails in the Brentwood Forest after a controlled forest fire, new fencing at the Glencairn Conservation Area, hydro poles that had been replaced, and we cleaned up around the cairn, etc. Twenty five volunteers from the Midland, Wasaga Beach, Mad River and Barrie clubs, as well as Ganaraska President, Bob Bowles, contributed a total of 36 volunteer days to bring the trail from km 11.9 in New Lowell to the cairn in Glen Huron, where the Ganaraska meets the Bruce Trail,  back into shape. Many thanks to all volunteers!
Unfortunately, we have not found a solution yet for the section from km 0 in Utopia (end of Barrie section) to New Lowell. This section currently follows the now fully abandoned and badly overgrown Barrie-Collingwood railway line. We may need to organize a re-route for this section. In the interim, this section of the Ganaraska Trail remains closed.

Frieda Baldwin

Bill 100 and Landowners

The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association wishes to clarify that the proposed Ontario Trails Act (Bill 100) has no impact on the existing handshake or written agreements the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association has with the landowners, who so graciously allow the Ganaraska Hiking Trail to pass on their private land.

Reading Bill 100 will correct any misinformation regarding access to private land, as will this recent note from Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport:

The province introduced Bill 100, the Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015, to improve access to Ontario’s trails, building both a healthier, and more prosperous Ontario. Our ministry held consultations with over 250 organizations, including municipalities, Aboriginal groups, trail organizations and not-for-profit organizations. The feedback the ministry heard during these consultations was integral to shaping the proposed legislation.

To be clear, an easement pursuant to Bill 100, if passed, would be a voluntary agreement between a landowner and an eligible body or bodies. No property owner would be compelled to provide an easement unless they agreed to do so.

– Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Many of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail’s “handshake” or written land use agreements have been in place for close to 50 years, and the landowner has the right to allow or withdraw access at any time. While easements are a more permanent arrangement whereby landowners are compensated for a permanent right to cross their land, the establishment of an easement is totally at the discretion of the landowner.

Landowners can be assured that Bill 100 (Bill 100.pdf) has no bearing on our current land use agreements with landowners, and contrary to what was suggested by the Ontario Landowner’s Association, in recent media coverage, the issue of easements is 100% in the hands of the landowner, per section 12.3 which reads that:

“An owner of land may grant an easement, with or without covenants, to one or more eligible bodies,

(a) for the preservation, enhancement or management of the use of, or access to, all or a portion of the land for purposes relating to trails or to activities relating to trails;

(b) for the creation, maintenance or management of trails for public use; or

(c) for the purposes as may be prescribed by the regulations made under this Act.”

In addition, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association has no intention whatsoever to approach landowners to turn its existing land use agreements into easement agreements.

The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association thanks its landowners for their understanding.

For additional information, please contact:

President                         Hike Ontario Representative
Bob Bowles                      Frieda Baldwin
705-325-3149                  705-245-1005

End to End – Blue Mountain Bruce Trail

The Midland Ganaraska Hiking Trail is hiking parts of the Blue Mountain Bruce Trail. They completed Lavender to Devil’s Glen previously, and are now hiking the remaining 3 sections of the Blue Mountain Bruce Trail, i.e. from Devil’s Glen to Swiss Meadows, for a total of 35 kms spread over 3 hikes.