The end of one year and the beginning of another is traditionally a time for reflection. In that vein, it is noteworthy that the Wilderness Club of the GHTA enjoys a special and treasured relationship with the Ontario Parks staff that manage the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park (“QE2”) – the park that encompasses about 95% of the Wilderness section of the Ganaraska Trail. With an area of 33,505 hectares, QE2 is the second largest park south of Algonquin Park with 100 habitat types and is a vast biological engine renowned for its rock barrens, and beaver fens. Hikers and canoeists can enjoy a true wilderness experience in QE2 that is not typically available so far south in the province.
The flavour of a true wilderness experience is nicely captured by the lead article of the Winter 2023 GHTA newsletter (https://ganaraska-hiking-trail.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/GHTA-Newsletter-Winter-2023-online-compressed-version.pdf) in which Kate Kostandoff describes a 3-day/2-night “cross-over” hike through the interior of QE2 completed in October. Later in the newsletter is an amusing epic poem penned by Ruth Patterson in the style of Robert W. Service. These appreciative contributions illustrate the significance of QEII to the hiking community in general and to the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association in particular, while underscoring the importance of the work undertaken by the Parks staff.
Looking back over the past 12 months, the following is a top-of-mind random sampling of highlights for 2022:
* The seasonal floating footbridge over Montgomery Creek installed by Ontario Parks in collaboration with the GHTA continues to be a great success, much appreciated by Ganaraska members as well as the general public.
* Park Biologist Phil Careless was a big hit with his enthusiastic participation as a panelist in the Wilderness Club’s overnight Zoom call hiking clinic in September.
* Trail maintenance, thunder boxes, visitor monitoring & management: we at the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association appreciate the effort it takes to manage QEII, and we know there is a lot of work behind the scenes, much of which we are only vaguely aware.