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).
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. 

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!

Trail Maintenance Award

Today finally saw the GHTA Inc. Trail Maintenance Award go to its rightful holder for the year 2019. Barrie Club was the recipient of this prestigious award, which hasn’t been awarded in several years, for their excellent progress in moving trail off roads and into forest, as well as doing a stellar job of blazing, cleaning up etc. The picture shows club President, John Sloan, and club member Dale Hannah, accepting on behalf of the club. Well done, Barrie!

Wilderness Section Map and Route Alert

Note: this post replaces yesterday’s post (removed), correcting some misinformation. Apologies for the confusion.

Please be advised that most currently available maps for the Wilderness section of the Ganaraska Trail are at least partially out of date (including the 2013 GHTA trail map binder).

The most material change affects the western end of the Wilderness section of the Ganaraska Trail. The Wilderness Club’s trail used to end at the hamlet of Sadowa, but that changed when a landowner closed off access through his property. The Ondago app now shows the trail following the Black River Road and Chisholm Trail from Victoria Bridge to Sadowa. Please note that this road segment has not been blazed. Further, we recommend that hikers at the western end of the Wilderness section begin their hike if eastbound, or end their hike if  westbound, at Victoria Bridge rather than Sadowa. The seasonal Black River Road is rough and winding, but can be driven safely provided you take your time. Driving directions to Victoria Bridge are easily found in Google Maps.
There are two key changes at the eastern end of the Wilderness section of the Ganaraska Trail. The trailhead for the Blue trail that runs from Devil’s Lake to Sheldon Lake and Petticoat Junction has been relocated closer to Deep Bay Road on the Devil’s Lake side road. This new trailhead is well signposted and new parking space has been created for trail users. The old trailhead that was accessed from Hull Lane off Deep Bay Road has been closed. The other principal change is the creation of the new 10 km “Queen’s Corridor” trail that runs north from Moore Falls to the new trailhead at Devil’s Lake; this route option has not yet been included in most maps.
Please contact the Wilderness Club if you require additional information.
Rob Halupka – President, Wilderness Club of GHTA

Orillia Club 11th line to 10th Line Oro-Medonte reopens

In the fall of 2019, we were notified by the private landowner of property closure for foresting between Lines 11 and 10. We temporarily re-routed south on Line 11 to Old Barrie Road, and west along Old Barrie Road. We have been notified of completion of the forest maintenance work, and Bob Wilson has taken the re-route signs down and re-blazed along the trail from Line 11 to Line 10. So this part of the trail is again open. Bob has also blazed the reroute from Line 10, south to Old Barrie Road, west along Old Barrie Road, and north along Line 9, making that the official trail following the unfortunate loss of private land between Lines 10 and 9. Thanks, Bob.

Orillia Club Trail Reroute

The Orillia Club’s trail between the 11th and 9th lines of Oro-Medonte has been rerouted. There was already a reroute in place for between the 10th and 9th due to loss of access to private land, but now due to tree cutting over the next several weeks between the 11th and 10th, the trail is rerouted as follows: from where the trail exits onto the 11th line, the reroute proceeds south along Line 11 to Old Barrie Road, then west along Old Barrie Road to the 9th Line, then north along the 9th Line until it rejoins the existing trail before proceeding west. This reroute will be in place until further notice. Please do not use the blazed trail that crosses private lands between the 11th and 9th lines.


There has been a loss of permission to use a section of the Orillia Club’s trail, specifically the western half of the trail running between the 10thand 9thlines of Oro-Medonte.  We are working on a solution, but hikers are to proceed no further west along that section than the posted “No Trespassing”sign.  Likewise do not use the section from Line 9 N going east (it is also posted “No Trespassing”).   See the revised Map 18 with cross hatches on the closed section.

Hardy Toronto Hikers complete the Orillia Section End-to-end

A group of 4 hardy Toronto hikers came to Orillia on three separate dates to complete the end to end of the Orillia Section.  They braved an early winter, and even navigated the section from Hwy 169 to the 13th even though it was in its usual inundated condition!  Well done!  Here are a few of their pics.