Another step forward in closing the gap!

Big surprise this morning on our Wednesday morning hike, when Midland Ganaraska Hiking Club president Larry Piitz had the notion that we should hike in the Thompson Forest leading to the Tiny Trail (also called Bridges Trail and part of the Trans Canada Trail). Good thing we did as we discovered the beautiful set of stairs built by Tiny Township at our request and leading from the top of the cliff down to the Tiny Trail. 39 steps!!! 

This will become part of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail, as we close the gap between the Midland and Tiny sections of the trail…. hopefully before year end. Just some minor loose ends still to get approved. 

This will add another 16 km approximately to the Midland section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail.  

Couchiching Conservacy

The Couchiching Conservancy is offering a number of self-guided events that can be downloaded at any time throughout the year – mostly related to hiking, birding, and nature. They are free to download, you just need to register at the links on the conservancy website. 

– Conservancy Trails 101: Download this digital download from The Couchiching Conservancy to get all the details on some of the trails that the Conservancy manages (in Orillia, Severn, Carden, and more!).

– Experience Carden Road Trip: Discover a globally rare landscape, just outside of Orillia, home to over 250 species.

– Experience the Wildlands Road Trip: Did you see that? Was it a Great Blue Heron? Or maybe it was a Belted Kingfisher!? You never know what you will discover in the Black River Wildlands, just outside of Orillia.

– Birding by Ear: A big part of being able to identify birds is your ability to ID by song!

First Badge Awarded – 50 Hikes in One Year

Kudos to Diane Reid McConkey for being the first recipient of the new “50 Hikes in 1 Year” badge. Diane is a new hiker, who joined the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. in December 2022, and set herself a goal of doing 50 hikes in 2023… but she already surpassed this goal, and is well on her way to reaching 100 hikes in 1 calendar year. Today, she mentioned that her newfound love for snowshoeing sped up her attempt to reach 50… and 100 hikes in 2023. Well done, Diane! Kudos also to all the other hikers who have already done 50 or 100 hikes this year. 

Awards Night!

At the Annual General Meeting on May 9, the Volunteer and Trail Maintenance Awards were announced for 2023.

Volunteer of the Year – IRENE BELL

This year we recognize Irene Bell for her contributions to the Ganaraska Hiking Trail
Association Inc.

Back in 2014, she and Shirl McArthur formed a 2 women’s team to take over the Club Presidency
of the Wasaga Beach Ganaraska Hiking Trail club, but in the last few years, Irene continued on
her own until 2022.

She not only made sure the Wasaga Beach section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail was in good
shape, but with her volunteers they created a new route along the Collingwood to Barrie
rail trail. She made sure there was a hiking schedule for members and organized many local
social activities for club members.

As the president of the local Wasaga Beach club, she attended the board meetings of the GHTA
Inc. for the last 9 years and contributed valued input to our discussions. She also acted as the
GHTA rep to Ontario Nature, and as such was GHTA’s sounding board on all things nature

Well done Irene! We herewith would like to show our appreciation by presenting you with the
Volunteer of the Year Award for 2023. Thank you for your past contributions. Irene, we all enjoyed working with you, you are an excellent ambassador for hiking, and we wish
you all the best for the future.

Trail Maintenance Club Award – PINE RIDGE

Following a Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc board decision in the fall of 2022
that the building of bridges is now allowed, the Pine Ridge Club of the Ganaraska Hiking
Trail Association Inc is among the first to implement the new policy and is therefore
being nominated for building new bridges over tributaries of the Ganaraska River:

On December 2, 2022, 5 Pine Ridge Hiking Club members (Jimmy Edwards, Stan
Muldoon, Jay Sherwin, John Ambler and bridge designer Ted Van Netten) installed a
new 20′ bridge between 4th and 5th lines of Hope Township, at km 12, on the property
of Gord and Judy Austin.

A further 2 bridges are currently being built at km 8. This project is being spearheaded
by property owners Bill and Penny Harris with several PRHC members contributing
numerous hours of volunteer labour. We are also appreciative of a $1730 donation from
an anonymous donor to fund the bridge.

Great work, Pine Ridge!

Fallen Trees in Ganaraska Forest

In the Pine Ridge section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail, between km 31 and km 39 in the Ganaraska Forest, there still are a number of fallen trees due to storm damage. Ganaraska Regional Forest staff will be clearing this area in the near future. Until that happens, Ganaraska Hiking Trail volunteers are not allowed to do regular trail maintenance and refresh the blazes, which may cause some confusion with navigating the Ganaraska Hiking Trail in that part of the Ganaraska Forest.

Ganaraska Forest (Central)

The section of the GHTA trail from km 31.1 to 39.7 will not be open to hikers until April 1st. Until then hikers must use the bypass trail west along the 10th line of Hope Township from km 31.1 to the Cold Springs Camp Road and then north on the Cold Springs Camp Road to the point where it joins the GHTA trial at km 39.7.  The bypass is marked with blue blazes.  Only hikers on a GHTA club-sanctioned hike or GF members are permitted to use the GF trails without paying a day-use fee.  The only place to purchase a day pass is at the GF Centre.  It is planned to have day-use permits available online by April 1st.