Ganaraska 50th Anniversary – Recognition of volunteers

As we are celebrating our 50th anniversary, we recognize and thank the many volunteers who have contributed to the creation and continued existence of the trail itself, but also of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail organization.

As such we want to particularly thank the Past Presidents, starting with Jack Goering, who together with Pat Lawson and some others started with the development of the Ganaraska Trail. Jack served 2 terms as president in the late 60’s – and up until 1975. Unfortunately both Jack and Pat passed away last year.

  • Some of you may recall some of the other past presidents: Mac Macklem, Paul Van Vliet, Jim Parsons, Chris Dafferin, and Dorothy Burrus. Unfortunately, we were not able to contact these to this event, some may have deceased.
    However, with us today are
    Paul McCreath, president from 1983 to 1987
    David Francis, president from 1997 to 2000
    Mike Pidwerbecki, president from 2000 to 2011, which makes him the longest serving president of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association, and
    Bob Bowles, president from 2011 to 2016.
    We also want to thank Bob Wilson, Ron Wallace, and David Royston, who sent their regrets.
    At this time, we would also like to recognize Peter Verbeek, who was the Ganaraska’s Trail Director for a very long time, and his contributions are immense. He even was club secretary for many years. Peter was a big supporter of end-to-end hikes, motivating many to accomplish the challenge and leading several groups in their end-to-end endeavours. His method of motivation to keep his groups going, was to say we only had a few more kilometres left, but he would never say how many. He bent over backwards to help Linda from the Kawartha Club to hike the Wilderness after a very bad car accident. In particular, he loved the Wilderness section…. In fact, before the trail through the Wilderness was established, Peter tried to plot the route across the wilderness by himself and was at first unable to find a way through. As he was a couple of days late finding his way out, his wife called the OPP who set up a search for him. However, he eventually emerged at Victoria Fails, victorious in establishing the continuous trail through the wilderness. Afterwards, he spent countless hours to maintain the Ganaraska trail. A plaque in his name was erected near Loon Lake in the Wilderness section, one of his most preferred locations.
    Due to health reasons, unfortunately, Peter could not be with us.
    Special thanks also go to Marc Vallee, who as a young hiker, in the late 80’s joined the organization and has been the president of the Midland Ganaraska Club for the last 20 years, and as such has been the longest serving club president and board member of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association. Kudos to him, for only missing 1 or 2 board meetings in these 20 years, and for being an active participant in our board discussions.
    Special thanks also go to Lois Kowal, who has been our membership director for many many years, and is also responsible for welcoming new members, and tracking the End-to-End program. Thank you Lois for your dedication and time.
    As the President of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association, I am extremely pleased with the executive team we put together this year, and I would like to thank Carol Stickland, our secretary and event planner extraordinaire, Stan Muldoon, our Vice President, who chaired all of the planning meetings for today’s event, Simone Latham, our treasurer, and John Sloan, our trail director, for their efforts this year, not only to make this event a success, but also to bring some of our procedures and practices up to date. My thanks also to Barb Rimmer, Irene Bell and Marion Brophy who assisted us on the Anniversary Planning Committee.
    I also would like to thank Tom Friesen, as of this morning, past president of Hike Ontario, as well as David Rosenblun Bourdieu, Hike Ontario office manager, for their assistance in organizing this summit.

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