Covid-19 Protocol Update

In keeping with today’s provincial announcement, hike attendance will be limited to 10 persons including the hike leader, starting Jan. 5, 2022. We expect this restriction to last at least for 3 weeks, but an updated protocol will be issued as the situation changes. At this time, we should not carpool other than with members of our own household. Otherwise, all the other public health measures remain in place – observing social distance, wearing masks where distance cannot be maintained, and staying home if feeling ill.

COVID-19 Protocol Update

The following is an update to the GHTA Inc COVID-19 protocol, effective immediately.

– Participants in scheduled GHTA club hikes must be fully vaccinated.

– Carpooling can now be resumed with 4 people max (incl. the driver) per car, wearing a mask (because of the indoor space and lack of social distancing), windows left cracked open.  It is entirely the choice of drivers to allow 4 persons, or fewer if they are not comfortable with 4.

– We count on the honesty of our members with respect to their vaccination status.  However, drivers who offer to shuttle participants in their private cars may ask passengers for proof of their vaccination status.

– During the hikes, public health measures continue including maintaining social distance and wearing masks when unable to do so.

– Individuals who do not feel well are asked not to participate in group hikes. 

GHTA Inc. and Covid-19 Vaccination

In September the Executive debated what to do regarding requiring Covid-19 vaccination for hike participation, but in the end decided to leave that up to individual hike leaders. The following message went out to the clubs to explain the position, and is still in force.

“In response to a question from some hike leaders regarding whether hike attendance can be restricted to fully-vaccinated hikers, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. does not have a policy on this issue.  Individual hike leaders may choose to stipulate that only fully-vaccinated persons may attend their hikes, or they may choose not to so stipulate. For those hikes requiring attendees to be fully-vaccinated, it is important to make the stipulation clear in the hike description, for the information of all attendees.  Wording such as:  ATTENDANCE RESTRICTED TO FULLY (COVID-19) VACCINATED HIKERS should be inserted into the hike description.  The digital sign-up apps and Google Calendar descriptions should be changed to reflect the restriction stipulation.”

Alert re Orillia City parking

Note that the City of Orillia has restricted parking in any of the waterside parks, including Tudhope Park and Centennial Park, for Fridays to Sundays, for the summer season. Only City of Orillia residents may park there. There is a fine of $80 for non-residents who park in these restricted parking lots. It is possible to park away from the water-side in the city, but attention must be paid to no parking signs, or municipal parking lots allow paid parking for several hours.

Covid-19 Protocol Update

With the re-opening of Ontario as part of Step 3, effective Friday July 16, 2021, we looked into the carpooling situation for hiking clubs, and feel confident that our clubs can allow carpooling again, but with some “ride share” restrictions. 
To ensure the safety of all hikers, we recommend:- limit of driver and 1 passenger (sitting diagonally behind the driver)- wear masks while in the vehicle- open windows (and avoid re-circulating of air)- wash or sanitize hands upon arrival
However, some people may not feel comfortable carpooling, and so we leave it to individual drivers and passengers as to whether they choose to do so at this point.
Also, while up to 100 individuals can now meet outdoors, it will be the hike leader’s decision as to how many hikers are allowed on the hike, and priority should be given to Ganaraska Hiking Trail members. Space permitting, non-members can also  participate.  Non-members will have to sign the waiver form.
All the other Covid-19 protocol is still in place – including maintain social distance, wear masks where not possible to be distanced, and don’t attend if you have symptoms. Contact/attendance lists must still be maintained.  We recommend pre-registration for hikes as this facilitates keeping the contact list, but also gives the hike leader an opportunity to bring new members/non-members up to speed with regard to our Covid-19 protocol, as well as brief them about hike difficulty, etc.
Happy Hiking to you all
Frieda BaldwinPresident, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.

Covid-19 Update – June 30, 2021

The province has changed the outdoor gatherings limit to 25, which means that the Ganaraska Hiking Club can allow hike group sizes to increase to a maximum of 25. As many hike leaders are uncomfortable with larger groups, we encourage them to limit the size of the group to whatever they feel comfortable with. Otherwise, the GHTA Inc. Covid-19 protocol is unchanged – still no car-pooling allowed.

Crawford Tract Still Closed

We have received an email from the Simcoe County Forest that hikers have been violating the “no trespassing” rule in the Crawford Tract, where logging is now taking place. The original notice of tract closure was posted on December 2, 2020, but it is still current. We risk losing access to these treasured forest tracts if we do not comply with the SCF requirements, so we trust that our hikers will not hike in this tract while the rule is in place.

We will update “Trail changes” when we can again enjoy this tract.

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

Covid-19 Protocol Update May 21, 2021

On May 22 at 12:01 the province will permit outdoor gatherings of up to 5 persons. This means that as of Saturday, we can again offer local (within 1/2 hour) hikes of up to 5 persons, if leaders are comfortable to do so.  It is still necessary to maintain physical distance of 2 meters, and if that is not possible, wear masks and resume physical distancing as soon as possible.  It is a good idea to carry a mask in your pocket in case of emergencies, such as tending to a wounded hiker, etc.  Hikers should pre-register to prevent over-booking of hikes, and if two or more hikes go from the same place, they should be staggered in their meeting times by 1/2 hour minimum.  Car-pooling is still not permitted, except with members of your own household.  If you should be self-isolating because of symptoms or exposure to someone suspected of having Covid-19, please do not attend a hike.
We will continue to advise of changes in the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.’s Covid-19 protocol as the changes happen.
Enjoy the new season.

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