Temporary closure of section of Oro-Medonte trail in Copeland Forest.

A portion of the Oro-Medonte trail in Copeland Forest will be temporarily closed due to spring seasonal wet conditions. The trail section is just north of the Oro-Medonte and Barrie trail junction near sign post 5 and continues north to sign post 4 – approximately 1 km in length. There is an alternate trail that can be used to the east of the Oro-Medonte trail (see attached map).

Signs will be installed at the end points of the closed section (sample attached). Please do not try to use the closed section – walking around the wet sections on the trail can cause damage to environmentally sensitive areas in the forest. We are lucky to have access to the Copeland Forest trail system so let’s do our part to make our trail system sustainable. 

There will be a follow-on notice when the trail is re-opened. 

I Closed the Gap – New Date

Hike On the Midland and Tiny Trail Extensions

On May 11, 2024 (new date) lace up those hiking boots and join us for the historic “I Closed the Gap” Hike along the beautiful Ganaraska Hiking Trail through Midland, Penetanguishene and Tiny. This project has been over 10 years in the making. Get ready to explore the beautiful Georgian Bay shoreline and various forest trails, breathe in the fresh air, and challenge yourself on this scenic trail. For more details and to register click here.

Are you collecting badges … yet?

Many hikers collect badges to show their achievements: where and how far they have hiked, etc. The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association also offers a series of badges, ranging from section badges for the various club section End-to-Ends, as well as for the overall 500km Ganaraska Hiking Trail End-to-End. Our newest badges show that the hiker has done 50, 100 or 200 hikes of at least 1 hour in a calendar year. See Badges – Ganaraska Hiking Trail

The 100 hikes badge launched in 2021, we added the 50 and 200 hikes badges in 2022, and we are considering if we should add a 150 and 250 hikes badges, as this challenge of setting a personal goal, seems to have taken off in a big way.

If you follow the postings on the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Group in Facebook, you will see reports of hikers’ progress towards their personal goal. We congratulate all those who set goals for 2023 and achieved them and we would like to encourage other hikers to set a goal, whether it is an End-to-End Badge or a number of hikes badge, or any other badge. The benefits are enormous, not only for your own physical and mental health, your sense of accomplishment but you will also be visiting gorgeous trails, enjoy fantastic landscapes, see or hear nature at its best, and meet many like minded hikers along the way.

One such hiker is Lilla Fodor. She is a Ganaraska Hiking Trail member, but her home club is the Beaver Valley Bruce Trail Club. She is an avid badge collector, which is sometimes referred to as a badge hound as is evidenced in the pictures below.  Here is Lilla’s story about her badge collection.

The first badge I earned was the Beaver Valley BT Beaver Bites (side trails) badge in 2018 when I retired. It started when we moved to the Beaver Valley, I wanted to familiarize myself with the Bruce Trail in the area and I think I became a bit addicted. My goal became to hike an end to end and then the side trails earning the badges along the way. 

The next trail I hiked end to end was the Ganaraska during Covid when we were able to move around. It gave me new focus during a difficult time and as a result the Ganaraska holds a special place for me so I’ve kept up my membership. 

Next, I started to hike some of the Bruce Trail challenge hikes and the BT sections over and over, just to challenge myself and earn more pretty badges. Badges eventually became a great incentive to explore other trails and areas I’d never think to hike, such as Oxford and Woolwich Counties. 

I don’t officially belong to any other hiking club besides the Bruce and Ganaraska, although when I hike a Club’s trails, I always make a donation beyond the cost of the badge or join the Club for that year so I can contribute by paying my way that year. 

The most difficult badge to get, was the BT Peninsula Club’s 100 Birder Badge. I know little about birds, I like them well enough and learned a lot, but that one took more patience than I have and a lot of sitting and listening, I prefer just hoofing along a trail. 

Physically the toughest and longest was the Dufferin Hi-Land Bruce Trail Club’s One Day Badge where I hiked approximately 56kms in one go. My favourite one was probably the Caledon Hills BT Club’s Loppet Badge because I got to cross country ski the trail to earn that one, combining the trail with another favourite activity, and I got to help two other hikers earn that one. On others I learned about ferns, wineries, Canadian history, and even the history of the Welland Canal system. 

In the past I regularly hiked close to home in Caledon Hills for over 20 years before discovering badges, but the fun thing about badge collecting for me has become the incentive to hike in different areas, on different trails, discover something new, or to challenge myself to different terrains and longer distances, and to just keep getting out there, moving and discovering. 

Oh, and I’ve also met some great people along the way, forming some wonderful friendships in the hiking community. 

By Lilla Fodor

We encourage all hikers to set personal goals for 2024, and beyond. Beside the Ganaraska Hiking Trail badges, note that Hike Ontario also offers some long-distance hiking badges Hike Ontario Long Distance Hiker Awards/, and the National Hiking Trail just launched the National Hiker Award National Hiker Award

For those of you who are setting a 50/100/200 goal, here is a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your progress.

Happy Hiking,
Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.
Getting outside is good for your inside

A Message from Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association (GHTA) president Frieda Baldwin

2023 The Year in Review

A year of growth and progress:

  • membership grew from an average of 500-600 in previous years to over 700
  • donations are coming in stronger then ever… some as small as $25, or more
  • after some difficult Covid years, volunteers have been working hard to keep our beloved Ganaraska Hiking Trail open for all to enjoy, in a safe manner
  • volunteers came forward to fill in the vacancies of Mapping Coordinator, Newsletter Editor and Web Content Manager. Thank you Victor Tolgyessy, Lana Johnson and Campbell Britton for stepping up to these roles.
  • the Indigenous Engagement Committee has developed 2 Land Acknowledgements, and designed a sign for posting on the trail
  • the Risk Management Committee has developed new trail standards and inspections procedures
  • and lastly, the GHTA has implemented Microsoft 365 to store all our important documents on an on-line platform and we are now employing Outlook for GHTA communications. All volunteer roles in the GHTA have been or will be provided with generic email addresses such as president@ghta.ca, at the same time simplifying the earlier email addresses which were more complicated.

The Trail:

  • the Midland club has made huge progress on closing the gap between the Midland and Tiny sections of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail, and is planning to officially open this new 17 km section on Saturday April 13, 2024. Mark your calendars!
  • new maps of all sections were developed and a beautiful wall map of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail will be launched shortly (Thank you Victor!)
Larry, Frieda, Linda P, Evelyn, Roxanne, Eveline, Penny, Shirley, Barb, Mary, Linda G – Gap between Midland and Tiny

The Achievements:

  • we celebrated the first ‘gold badge” receiver: Bob Wilson for being a GHTA member for 50 years, and having filled volunteer roles of club president, association president, hike leader extraordinaire and trail maintenance steward and coordinator.
  • our 50/100/200 hikes in 1 year challenge and badges have been extremely successful and have promoted the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association even outside the GHTA membership, with many enjoying the challenge of setting themselves a goal of completing 50, or 100, or 200 and even 250 hikes in a year, and enjoying the physical and mental benefits of hiking

In closing, I would like to:

  • thank all volunteers who have stepped forward to help the GHTA, whether it is with our admin, our finances, our mapping, our trail conditions, etc.
  • congratulate all those who have completed section hikes, and End to End hikes of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail
  • congratulate all who achieved their 50/100/200 badges… and completed even more hikes than 200

And finally, I wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful 2024, with lots of great hiking adventures throughout the year, on the Ganaraska Hiking Trail and beyond!

Happy hiking
Frieda Baldwin
President
Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.
Getting outside is good for your inside!

Frieda Baldwin wins Hike Ontario Award of Excellence

Frieda Baldwin, President of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association received the Award of Excellence during the Hike Ontario Annual Summit in London, Ontario, on September 23, 2023. For the complete article visit Hike Ontario Award of Excellence 2023.

2023.10.29 – Midland Trail Alert

Hikers of the Midland section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail should take note of the fact that at approx. km 11, there is a safety underpass that the trail goes under while bridge construction on Old Fort Road is taking place above. As hikers descend down to the orange fence, note that the fence has been cut to allow passage for hikers. See pictures.

Also, at approx. km 2.5 the Midland club is undertaking a reroute to by-pass a very wet area, probably caused by a beaver. A new pedestrian bridge has been installed, as well as stepping blocks but the new route has not been blazed as yet, until we know for sure that the route marked with pink ribbon will be confirmed as the new route. A group of Orillia, Medonte and Midland club members were the first to test the new bridge. 

2023.10.12 – Work Begins to Develop Rail Trail Between Stayner and Angus (Mad River Club Trail)

A recent local news report announced that work has begun to remove railway ties and rails on the abandoned railway line between Stayner and Angus as a first step in the conversion of this corridor to a recreational rail trail. The work to remove the ties and rails is expected to be complete mid-December this year, but the total conversion project will last until late 2025.

Starting immediately, sections of the Mad River Club trail that follow the rail line will be inaccessible where work crews are active. Signs will be posted preventing access to work zones and in some situations there will be a ‘watch person’ to prevent access.

As the work will be intermittent and section-by-section this stretch of the Ganaraska trail will not be closed but all hikers are advised to follow the instructions of all posted signs and avoid areas where work crews are active. Also, hiking this section of the Mad River Club trail is not required to earn a Ganaraska End-to-End badge for the foreseeable future.

WARNING – WILD PARSNIP on MAD RIVER TRAIL

Wild Parsnip has been noted along the Mad River Hiking trail section in the Glencairn Conservation Area  (this area is found at KM 25.3 on both the Ondago mobile app and Map 25 of the downloadable Trail Guide). Take caution when hiking through this area.

Wild parsnip is a member of the carrot/parsley family, and like giant hogweed, produces sap containing chemicals that can irritate human skin.

Further information on this plant can be found on the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) webpage.

Wild Parsnip Fact Sheet. www.nvca.on.ca/Shared%20Documents/Wild%20Parsnip%20Factsheet.pdf