Fall Hunting Season

Be Safe Be Seen: Hikers should be aware that hunting is taking place all year round, but is especially busy during the fall between early September and mid-December.  The exact dates vary across the Ganaraska Hiking Trail as it passes through different Wildlife Management Units.

To be safe, hikers should:

– Know when it is hunting season in the area you will be hiking in. Consult this website for exact information:

https://www.ontario.ca/document/ontario-hunting-regulations-summary

– Wear bright colours, preferably hunting orange

– Put bright colours on your pets and keep dogs on a leach

– Avoid hiking at dusk and dawn, i.e. typical times when hunters are in the forest

– Stay on established trails and avoid bushwhacking

– Make noise, so hunters know you are nearby

And finally, note that hunters and trail users both have the privilege to pursue their chosen outdoor recreation. Therefore, be courteous and respectful of all outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and non-hunters alike. Do your part to share the woods safely and respect each other and the land we share. 

More information is available on 

https://www.nvca.on.ca/Shared%20Documents/Be%20Seen%20Be%20Safe%20Pamphlet.pdf

Frieda Baldwin, President

Kawartha Hikes resuming June 8

We are pleased to advise that we will be resuming our Spring 2022 Hike Schedule on Wednesday, June 8th. As clean-up from the May 26th storm continues around the region, we may need to change the occasional venue. In those circumstances an email will be sent to all Kawartha Club members advising of the updated hike details. If you are not a member of the Kawartha Club but would like to join us on a hike, please contact the hike leader as a courtesy and to confirm the hike location.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Kind Regards,
Janice BrownWednesday Hike CoordinatorGHTA – Kawartha Club

Attention – Ganaraska Forest Closed Due to Storm

GRCA is requesting that you communicate the following messages out to your members and networks while stressing the seriousness of the situation. 

  • On Saturday May 21, 2022 a massive storm system caused significant damage to the Ganaraska Forest and its entire trail network (West Central and East Forests are all effected).
  • The current situation in the Ganaraska Forest is very serious and extremely dangerous.
  • The GRCA and Police are strictly enforcing the closure of the Ganaraska Forest and NO ACCESS is being granted until furture notice
  • The Ganaraska Forest is extremely dangerous with hazard trees and significant blockages throughout the entire trail network of the Ganaraska Forest (West, Central and East Forests).
  • Please respect any form of barriers and signage that is blocking access and DO NOT cross these barriers. 
  •  
  • All Special Events are cancelled for the foreseeable future. No new applications will be accepted.
  • Updates will be provided through the Ganaraska Conservation Facebook page, www.grca.on.ca and www.ganaraskaforestcentre.ca.
  • Staff are currently assessing the entire Ganaraska Forest trail network and Trail clearing work is underway.
  • As assessment and trail clearing continues, recovery plans are being created.
  • Thank you for your support, and patience during this trying time.

Ed Van Osch 

Forest Recreation Technician, Provincial Offences Officer  

Ganaraska Forest Centre 

RR1 Campbellcroft, Ontario 

L0A 1B0 

905-885-8173 ext. 325 

Kawartha Club Hikes Suspended Due to Storm Damage

We sincerely regret to let you all know that Kawartha Club hikes are suspended until further notice.

One by one, property owners are closing parks and trails as a result of the storm last Saturday. Those closures include trails that are on our Spring 2022 Hike Schedule. Reopening of those parks and trails are dependent on the completion of a property by property assessment of conditions and completing actions to ensure that the trails are safe. The property owners that have closed parks and trails include the City of Peterborough, Otonabee Conservation and Kawartha Land Trust.

We will continue to monitor the status of the park and trail closures and let you all know when we can begin hiking again. Hopefully that will be soon.

In the meantime, enjoy your hiking and biking in safe locations! We are hoping that this will be a brief suspension and will let you know when we restart our hikes.

Richard Raper, Weekend Hike Coordinator – Kawartha Club

New President – Midland Club

Marc Vallee

Midland Ganaraska Hiking Trail Club president, Marc Vallee has decided to step down as president of the Midland club, after having held this position for almost 30 years. The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association (GHTA), as well as the Midland club, appreciate his dedicated leadership and enthusiasm for hiking over so many years, while growing the Midland club and maintaining the Midland and Tiny sections of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail in good shape. Marc also attended GHTA board meetings twice a year, and his attendance record and input at these meetings were impeccable. 

Larry Piitz

We are fortunate to advise that Marc will be succeeded by Larry Piitz, who some of you may know from the many hikes he has led. Larry is also the Midland club’s Trail Director for the last couple of years. Larry has leadership experience as he is currently also president of the North Simcoe Anglers and Hunters Conservation Club.

Let’s applaud Larry for stepping up to the plate, and provide him with the support he needs to continue in Marc’s footsteps, and lead a vibrant and growing Midland Ganaraska Hiking Trail club.

Frieda Baldwin, President,

Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association, Inc.

The 100 Hikes in 2022 Challenge

Earlier this year, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association president, Frieda Baldwin, launched a Challenge for 2022 to encourage hikers to get out in nature, for their physical and mental health, and to explore new trail locations. Several have taken up the challenge and are posting their sequentially numbered hikes on the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Facebook Group with the hashtag #ghta100hikesin2022. Anyone can participate, and the hike can be anywhere, provided it is at least one hour in duration, and that the name of the trail or location is mentioned, accompanied by one or more nature photos.

Some participants then asked “Do we get a badge for that?”, and the answer is YES! You can order your 100 Hikes in 1 Year badge on the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Merchandise Order Form.

If you have not started counting your hikes, it’s not too late. GHTA Association president Frieda Baldwin completed her 100th hike (in 129 days since January 1), and was the first one to order the 100 Hikes in 1 Year badge. So, who will challenge her?

New Faces on the Executive Team

We have two new additions to our Executive Team – here is a bit of information about them!

Steve Pogue – Secretary

Steve is an outdoor enthusiast and a member of the Wilderness Club. He has a wealth of leadership experience serving as a director of a non-profit corporation and as a municipal councillor. His experience includes board governance, policy, government relations, financial and property management, as well as trail and forest management.

Steve is currently working as a Senior Systems Administrator and thrives on outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, cycling and cross country skiing.

Neil Runnalls – Trail Director/Landowner Relations Director

Neil is a member of the Wilderness Club and past Trail Director for the Wilderness Section. He is also a Certified Hike Leader and is currently leading a group of hikers on an E2E of the entire Ganaraska Hiking Trail. They completed the Pine Ridge and Kawartha sections and are embarking on the Orillia section now.

He is a school principal with the TDSB and has an acreage with horses to look after, and so he is pretty busy, but willing to take on the Trail/Landowner Relations Director job, with the help of the new positions of Signage Coordinator and Mapping Coordinator.

Welcome Steve and Neil to the Executive, and thank you both for your contributions to the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association, Inc.

SUMMARY OF APRIL 23, 2022 AGM AND BOARD MEETINGS

by Frieda Baldwin, President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association, Inc.

I would like to share with the members of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. the highlights of today’s Annual General Meeting and Board of Directors meetings:

Awards

Stan Muldoon of the Pine Ridge club was awarded the 2022 Volunteer of the Year award for his past involvement on the Executive of the GHTA, as Pine Ridge club President, and for chairing a number of past and current committees. Thankyou Stan!

The Wilderness Club was awarded the 2022 Trail Maintenance award for the completion of the Montgomery Bridge project in the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands…. a project that has been difficult and long in the making… Thank you to all the volunteers who helped with this project!

(Honourable mention in Trail Maintenance went to the Midland Club for the reroute and additional loops to the Tiny section in the Tiny Marsh). 

No-Man Made Structures policy

In the past, in compliance with our “Minimal Impact” trail maintenance standard we were not allowed to build any man-made structures, such as bridges, boardwalks, etc. (other than styles over fences). We have revisited this policy, and with input from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, decided that it is better for the environment (and for our hikers) to allow man-made structures, provided they are approved by the landowner/agency on whose property the trail is located.

Training reimbursement

Effective today, any new enrolment in “hiking related” new training courses (Certified Hike Leader, Wilderness Hike Leader, First Aid, Chainsaw Operation, etc.) will be reimbursed at 50% (not 75% as before) upon completion of the course, with the other 50% being reimbursed once the individual volunteer provides his/her newly learned skills on 3 outings/events. This change is made for budgeting reasons, but also as we have experienced some investment in training, and then some individuals not “showing up for work”. 

Note: I also wanted to thank all members who have recently taken the Certified Hike Leader (graduation is expected to be next weekend) and First Aid courses. Their reimbursement will still be at the 75% + /25% ratio.

Policies 

We have re-affirmed our “No Dogs on Group Outings” policy. 

The GHTA is following provincial Covid guidelines and as such no longer requires “full vaccination” status of hike participants. Clubs are expected to follow these guidelines, however, individual hike leaders do have the option to request that participants are vaccinated, provided this is clearly stated in the hike or outing details prior to the event.

However, we need to remain vigilant and therefore social distancing is still recommended, such as mask wearing if within 2 meters, or when carpooling. 

Elections and Appointments

We are delighted that Steve Pogue (member of the Wilderness Club and Barrie resident) has agreed to take on the Secretary position, following Carol Strickland‘s retirement (she will however continue as President of the Orillia club). Steve comes with a wealth of previous board, policy, by-law experience. Welcome Steve!

Simone Latham is staying on as Treasurer, and I as President of the Association. Unfortunately, we are still looking to fill the position of Vice President.

We were also delighted that we were able to find a replacement for John Sloan, as Trail/Landowner Relations Director (John will stay on the board as a Barrie club rep). However, as this job has mushroomed in the last few years, we felt it necessary to split the role into 3 separate functions:

– Neil Runnalls agreed to take on the Trail/Landowner Relations position. This position is also a member of the Executive team.  Neil will be assisted by: 

– Steve Broomfield as Mapping Coordinator

– Dani Shaw as Signage Coordinator

Thank you to all who have stepped up to these positions, as well as any of you who are volunteering for any other roles at the club and board level.

Finances

Happy to report that our finances are in very good shape, and we have a healthy balance in our bank account. This is mostly due to:

– funds previously set aside to produce a new set of guidebooks (We are no longer producing and inventorying/shipping guidebooks, now that the Trail Guide is downloadable and maps are continually updated as needed)

– we have seen more member donations since we launched the on-line membership renewal process

– we received a $4,500 grant from the County of Simcoe for our mapping projects

Committee reports

We received a very interesting report from the Indigenous Engagement Committee, and expect to hear more from them by the fall Board meeting. 

The Risk Management Committee has developed:

– new Difficulty Rating for hike descriptions (based on Hike Ontario’s difficulty ratings)

– new Trail Maintenance/Audit report (to be done yearly)

– updated Trail Maintenance Guidelines to reflect the revised No Man-made Structures policy

and they are still working on an update to our Risk Management Protocol. More on this to follow in the coming weeks.

The Mapping Committee successfully launched the new Trail Guide, which consists of downloadable and printable maps and trail descriptions, which complement the Ondago mobile device app. The new Trail Guide has been well received and can be found on our website under The Trail / Trail Sections with Maps. The maps will be updated on an as needed basis, so hikers are encouraged to verify the latest issue of the map (the issue date is at the bottom right corner of the new maps) but also verify that there have not been any recent Trail Changes (also posted on the website).

Ganaraska-logoed wear

Carol Strickland is inviting clubs to send in orders for logoed Ganaraska clothing (Sport shirts, caps, toques, jackets, and neck warmers).  This order process will rely on each participating club having their own Order Administrator whowill collect the order details (preferably on a spreadsheet supplied by Carol Strickland) and the payments, send these to Carol, who will then further coordinate with the supplier.  

 She will be sending out a “catalogue” to interested club presidents shortly. 

100 Hikes in 2022

At the beginning of the year, we announced the #ghta100hikesin2022 Challenge on our Ganaraska Hiking Trail Facebook Group. The initial intention was to encourage physical but also mental health while hiking in nature. Individuals are encouraged to post which hike number they are at, the location of the hike and at least 1 scenery photo. The hike has to be at least 1 hour in duration.  Achieving this goal of 100 hikes in 1 year is certainly do-able as several of the participants in this challenge are already over half of their goal, and it is only end of April. We are therefore developing a “100 Hikes in 1 Year badge” which will be made available via the Merchandise Order form on our website. Details to follow. Meanwhile start hiking and post your hikes on https://www.facebook.com/groups/343500412799685 and include the hashtag #ghta100hikesin2022. 

Wilderness Club Award Presentation

This morning in Tudhope Park Orillia the stars aligned (Hike 2 of Wilderness Club in Orillia Section), and Carol Strickland presented the Trails Maintenance Award to the Wilderness Club.  Neil couldn’t be with us today, but accepting for Wilderness was co-leader Dan Myall.  That’s a well-deserved award – hats off to the Wilderness club, especially for that amazing seasonal bridge in QE Wildlands Park.