At the Annual General Meeting held on April 27, the Volunteer of the Year and Trail Maintenance Awards were announced and presented by Frieda Baldwin, President.

Volunteer of the Year – Christine Cornu

This year we recognize Christine Cornu for her contribution to the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.

Christine has been the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. membership secretary since May 2020 when GHTA was in a pinch when our previous Membership Director Lois Kowal unexpectedly passed away.

As the membership director, Christine has shown great attention to detail which is so important in this volunteer role. She is always helpful and approachable in assisting members with their registration questions and follows up on double payments and other scenarios that members present her with. We appreciate the consistency in her work – always on top of the membership process.

Christine was recently encouraged to adopt the GHTA’s migration to the Microsoft platform. As a Mac user, we recognize that it can be challenging to convert to working in the Microsoft world. However, Christine demonstrated an eagerness to learn the new platform in a very patient fashion.

Christine was also a wonderful President of the Oro Medonte club from 2016 to 2023. She was well organized, decisive in her decisions and creative. The executive would meet twice a year to come together socially and Christine always came up with an event that was fun and entertaining. Christine is also a dedicated Hike Ontario certified Hike Leader.

Her friendliness and quiet humour went a long way to welcome members on club hikes. Her enthusiasm for nature and hiking was catching and she would throw herself into tasks like Trail Maintenance or finding new trails. During the pandemic she showed her leadership by creating bi-weekly hikes which were popular with all.

Christine, your contributions and commitment to the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. are very much appreciated.

Trail Maintenance Club Award – MIDLAND

After many years of planning, negotiating with landowners, mapping the route and the hard work of blazing a new trail, it is a pleasure to be able to say congratulations to the Midland Club for closing the gap between the Midland and Tiny trail sections of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail.

The 18 KM of new trail provides an interesting and pleasant hike along the Tiny Trail, through the Thompson tract of Simcoe County Forests and through Penetanguishene as well as along Midland’s beautiful waterfront, overlooking Georgian Bay.

Closing this gap also creates a Ganaraska Hiking Trail loop in Simcoe County consisting of the Mad River, Wasaga Beach, Tiny, Midland and Oro-Medonte sections of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail, as well as part of the Barrie section. This significant achievement and addition to the Ganaraska Hiking Trail system makes the Midland Club our choice for the 2023 Trail Maintenance Award – well done!”.

Orillia Club – update on Simcoe County Forest logging

All Simcoe County Forest logging operations affecting the Orillia Section of the Ganaraska Trail – including the Breedon Tract and Rathburn Tract – have been completed. Also all those logging operations in the many Simcoe Country Forest Tracts in the Bass Lake Side Road East and Line 6 – 7 – 8 areas are completed.

Carol Strickland, President, Orillia Club of the GHTA Inc.

New Printable Maps of the complete GTHA Trail

A printable Wall Map of the complete Ganaraska Trail is now available. Approximately 83cm x 58cm it’s best printed on photo paper at a print shop. There are two versions Complete GHTA Map without sections and Complete GHTA Map with sections.

For detailed printing instructions 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, 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
Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.
Getting outside is good for your inside!

Orillia Trail update

Regarding the overhanging branches about 1/2 km west from the parking lot at 1832 Line 8 Oro-Medonte, one has been pulled down, and the other has been bypassed by a short loop around the overhanging branch. The trail is “obstructed” from both sides of the hazard, and a semi-circular trail marked with pink ribbons guides hikers around the hazard. We hope that winter will bring the overhanging brach down, but for the meantime, hikers should use the re-route.

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.

Orillia Section Active Logging Breedon Tract – Nov. 13, 2023

The Breedon Tract of the Simcoe County Forest is closed due to logging. This affects the Orillia Section between Lines 9 and 8, the most easterly half. Attached is an image showing the (2-3 year old) re-route of the Ganaraska Trail from Line 10 south to Old Barrie Road, along Old Barrie Road and north along Line 9 to the entrance to the Breedon Tract. The Ganaraska Trail is shown in pink, and the Red Cross-hatches indicate active logging operations as per the Simcoe County Forest. This map also takes in the Arbour Tract as noted on Nov. 2, 2023. We have not heard of re-opening of the Arbour Tract as of today.

As soon as we hear of a change in the status we will update on Trail Changes.

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.