Covid-19 update


This is to update the GHTA Inc. Covid-19 policy, in light of this afternoon’s announcement, for changes to go into effect 12:01 Saturday, April 17, 2021.
As outdoor gatherings are now prohibited except for between members of the same household +/- one member of another household who lives alone, all Ganaraska hikes are now suspended.  We are told that the current Stay at Home orders will extend to at least May 20, 2020.
We will update members as the situation changes.
We hope that you are still able to get out into the woods once in a while – the wildflowers are really springing to life right now with the warm spring and rains.  Stay safe.

Carol Strickland, for Frieda Baldwin, President, GHTA Inc.

Covid-19 Update April 9, 2021

GHTA Inc. Covid-19 Update – April 9, 2021

Since April 1, 2021, only a few days have passed, but a world of difference in protocol has happened.

As of April 8 (yesterday), the Provincial Stay-at-Home orders mandate that citizens may only leave their homes for certain essential purposes, which include exercise – but on certain government websites the wording is: “exercise with persons in your own household” (or if you live alone, with one other household).   We have been in touch with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for clarification and they confirm that persons can still gather in groups of up to 5, maintaining social distance, wearing masks when that can’t happen.

Further, the Stay-at-Home orders restrict travel to “within your community”.  We asked for clarification of “community”, and the answer still did not give us a clear definition, but we understood that at a minimum, it means “within your local health unit region”.  To minimize the risk of transmitting Covid between actual communities, we therefore continue recommending  the limiting of travel time to a trailhead  within 15-30 minutes’ driving distance. 

So, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. is pleased to announce that its clubs can continue to offer hikes with up to 5 persons maximum including the leader and following all our previously described social distancing Covid protocols.  

Continue safe hiking – enjoy the spring!

Frieda Baldwin, President, 

Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association, Inc.

705 245 1005

Covid-19 Protocol Update

Please be advised that in accordance with the new provincial lock-down rules announced today, as of Saturday, April 3, outdoor gatherings are restricted to 5 persons, which means our hikes can only be with a maximum of 5 persons, including the leader.  At the moment it seems that this will apply for a month, but if there is a change, we will again update our protocol.  All other pieces of the protocol apply – including maintain 2 meters’ physical distance from each other and from oncoming other hikers or bikers, wear masks when gathering or can’t maintain physical distance, don’t come on hikes if you yourself have symptoms, or have had significant contact with someone being tested for suspected Covid-infection. 

Covid-19 Update

On March 8, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit region through which much of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail runs, will return to colour code Red again. 

As earlier in February, with that change, outdoor gatherings will have the restrictions lessened, allowing up to 25 participants. However, your Executive recommends that hike groups be restricted to 10. This allows for better adherence to social

distancing. Pre-registration is still required, including name and contact information of participants. If practical, we are also suggesting that Emergency Contact information (name of person to be contacted in the event of an emergency and their telephone number) be collected at the time of registration.

Unfortunately members living or working in grey-lockdown zone are still not allowed to join us on any group hikes.

Covid protocols are still in place – stay at home if you are feeling unwell (don’t join a group hike), wear a mask when gathering at the trailhead, or when you can’t maintain social distance, keep a distance of at least 6 feet (2 m) between yourself and others, and get 6 feet off the trail when meeting oncoming or passing hikers/bikers.

We are counting on our members to be responsible, keep travel for hiking to a minimum and stay close to home during the provincial stay-at-home order. Also, travel between Covid 19 zones must be avoided, and carpooling is not allowed. 

Fingers crossed that restrictions will continue to ease in time.

In the meantime, stay safe, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Frieda Baldwin

President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Associaton Inc. 

705-245-1005

Frieda Baldwin
705-245-1005

Covid-19 Update

As you know the Simcoe/Muskoka District Health Unit, in which most of our trail and our clubs are located, is going into GREY/LOCKDOWN as of Monday March 1, 2021, which means that

·        Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people with physical distancing in place

For the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association, this means that the maximum number of hikers in a group must be limited to 10. For clarity, the maximum number of  participants congregating at the same time in the same place is 10, and if two groups wish to go on the same route, they must assemble at least 30 minutes apart from each other.

In addition, the following measure applies for Grey–Lockdown:

·        Trips outside of the home should only be for essential reasons (… or exercise and physical activity)

Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association’s executive therefore recommends that travel to hikes be limited to within your municipality/region.  We are counting on our members to be responsible, keep travel for hiking to a minimum and stay close to home during the provincial stay-at-home order.

Travel between Covid 19 zones must be avoided, and carpooling is not allowed. 

Thank you for your cooperation. Stay safe.
Frieda BaldwinPresident, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Associaton Inc. 
705-245-1005

Covid-19 Update

Covid Update Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. – Feb. 13, 2021

On Feb. 16, 2021, the health unit regions through which the Ganaraska Hiking Trail runs, and where their clubs are located, will return to colour code Orange (Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes and Pine Ridge), or Red (Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit). This allows a return to group hikes! (albeit still for members only).

With that change, outdoor gatherings will have the restrictions lessened, allowing up to 25 participants. However, your Executive discussed this at a recent meeting, and recommends that hike groups be restricted to 10. This allows for better adherence to social
distancing. Pre-registration is still required, including name and contact

information of participants. If practical, we are also suggesting that Emergency Contact information (name of person to be contacted in the event of an emergency and their telephone number) be collected at the time of registration.

Covid protocols are still in place – stay at home if you are feeling unwell (don’t join a group hike), wear a mask when gathering at the trailhead, or when you can’t maintain social distance, keep a distance of at least 6 feet (2 m) between yourself and others, and get 6 feet off the trail when meeting oncoming or passing hikers/bikers.

With regard to travel – stay within your health unit region, and try to limit your distance to within 20 – 30 minutes’ drive. Unfortunately members living or working in grey-lockdown zone are still not allowed to join us on any group hikes.

Fingers crossed that restrictions will ease in time, but that is for the future. In the meantime, stay safe, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Frieda Baldwin, President,
Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association, Inc. 705-245-1005

Ganaraska Hiking Club Covid-19 update

“As of Monday December 14, 2020 several of our Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association clubs will be going into a Covid-19 Red Zone: Midland, Oro Medonte, Barrie, Orillia, Mad River and Wasaga Beach. (Wilderness, Kawartha and Pine Ridge remain in Yellow).  https://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/COVID-19
While the Red Zone restrictions mainly focus on indoor establishments, the outdoor gathering number in a Red Zone remains at 25 people, but non-essential travel other than for exercise is restricted. 
Therefore, Ganaraska Hiking Trail clubs in any zone may still schedule group hikes in their zone, but should not allow attendance by residents of – or people who work in – higher zones than their own, e.g.  members from a Lockdown zone (Grey Zone) should not attend group hikes in a Red Zone, or members from a Red Zone should not attend group hikes in a Yellow or Green Zone.
We also discourage individual members from crossing into other public health regions, and ask everyone to continue following public health restrictions/guidelines, such as social distancing, mask wearing if within 2 m, and also no carpooling (unless with people from your own bubble).  
Thank you for your cooperation.

Frieda Baldwin, President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. 
705-245-1005”

GHTA Inc. Covid-19 Protocol and Tips – Sept. 20, 2020

The following policy statement was issued to the membership at the end of September. For convenience, and to assist members, potential, new and “old”, it is presented below. Please note the Nov. 14, 2020 update post “New Public Health Restrictions”, which of course applies to participants from Red and Grey Zones.

 Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. 

Sept. 20, 2020 Covid-19 Protocol and Tips

Covid-19 continues to challenge us all, but matters have evolved since our last edition of Protocol and Tips.

Group Size:  the province currently restricts to 25 persons outdoors, but as a practical matter, some hikes may be restricted to fewer than 10 – 15 hikers to permit social distancing and in view of parking availability and in consideration of other users of the trails.

Carpooling:  still not permitted except for persons in a bubble.  

Social Distance:  a distance of 2 meters must be maintained between hikers at all times (except those bubbled).  This means that hikers behind another hiker should take responsibility for keeping that 2 meters distance – and if necessary, slow down, stop, or back up; also, if hikers meet others coming towards them on foot or bike, or attempting to pass them, they should step off the trail by 2 meters,   If enjoying a break/lunch etc.  be off the trail by 2 meters.

Masks:  it is recommended to carry a mask, but mostly won’t be needed on the trail, unless aiding another hiker at closer than two meters.

First Aid Kit:  Hikers should carry their own basic first aid materials, such as bandaids, tick removers, etc.

Parking:  Hikers should not park in front of any gates, on private lawns, or blocking farm machinery or other vehicles from accessing the area.  If you arrive at a parking lot that is full, go somewhere else.

Hike destinations:  Choose where and when to go.  It’s best if we don’t all go to the most popular trailheads or parks at the most popular times of day.  Planning 2 hikes on the same day, each of smaller size, may be useful – especially if pre-registration is used.  Given carpooling restrictions and climate change, staying local for the most part makes sense.  

Waivers:  The matter of waivers is under reconsideration at the moment, and Clubs are following a variety of practices.  If and when signing waivers, consider having hand sanitizer available for participants to wash their hands after handling pen and clipboard.  Whatever local Clubs are doing about waivers, hike leaders should keep a list of hikers who attend a hike (with their phone numbers), for a month, so that contact tracing can be provided to public health personnel should the need arise because someone in a hike tests positive for Covid, or is a close contact of a case.

Be considerate of other hikers:  do what you can to promote a peaceful and enjoyable experience for all in the forest.  Put your cell phones on vibrate, and unless it is an emergency, refrain from talking on the phone while hiking.  If you are feeling unwell, Covid or not, stay home.  

Above all – enjoy yourselves.  We are lucky to be able to go out and hike safely!