A logging operation is active in Simcoe County Forest (Crawford Tract) that affects the east end of the Barrie trail between Line 5 and 6 in Oro-Medonte. This is the section of the trail just south of Sugarbush Estates on the south side of Horseshoe Valley Road. The duration of the logging operation is unknown but it is expected to take a while. This section of the trail should be consider closed until further notice.
An alternative route for this section exists by walking through Sugarbush Estates and then taking an alternative path to Line 5 as depicted in the attached picture.
The following policy statement was issued to the membership at the end of September. For convenience, and to assist members, potential, new and “old”, it is presented below. Please note the Nov. 14, 2020 update post “New Public Health Restrictions”, which of course applies to participants from Red and Grey Zones.
Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.
Sept. 20, 2020 Covid-19 Protocol and Tips
Covid-19 continues to challenge us all, but matters have evolved since our last edition of Protocol and Tips.
Group Size: the province currently restricts to 25 persons outdoors, but as a practical matter, some hikes may be restricted to fewer than 10 – 15 hikers to permit social distancing and in view of parking availability and in consideration of other users of the trails.
Carpooling: still not permitted except for persons in a bubble.
Social Distance: a distance of 2 meters must be maintained between hikers at all times (except those bubbled). This means that hikers behind another hiker should take responsibility for keeping that 2 meters distance – and if necessary, slow down, stop, or back up; also, if hikers meet others coming towards them on foot or bike, or attempting to pass them, they should step off the trail by 2 meters, If enjoying a break/lunch etc. be off the trail by 2 meters.
Masks: it is recommended to carry a mask, but mostly won’t be needed on the trail, unless aiding another hiker at closer than two meters.
First Aid Kit: Hikers should carry their own basic first aid materials, such as bandaids, tick removers, etc.
Parking: Hikers should not park in front of any gates, on private lawns, or blocking farm machinery or other vehicles from accessing the area. If you arrive at a parking lot that is full, go somewhere else.
Hike destinations: Choose where and when to go. It’s best if we don’t all go to the most popular trailheads or parks at the most popular times of day. Planning 2 hikes on the same day, each of smaller size, may be useful – especially if pre-registration is used. Given carpooling restrictions and climate change, staying local for the most part makes sense.
Waivers: The matter of waivers is under reconsideration at the moment, and Clubs are following a variety of practices. If and when signing waivers, consider having hand sanitizer available for participants to wash their hands after handling pen and clipboard. Whatever local Clubs are doing about waivers, hike leaders should keep a list of hikers who attend a hike (with their phone numbers), for a month, so that contact tracing can be provided to public health personnel should the need arise because someone in a hike tests positive for Covid, or is a close contact of a case.
Be considerate of other hikers: do what you can to promote a peaceful and enjoyable experience for all in the forest. Put your cell phones on vibrate, and unless it is an emergency, refrain from talking on the phone while hiking. If you are feeling unwell, Covid or not, stay home.
Above all – enjoy yourselves. We are lucky to be able to go out and hike safely!
The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. is embarking on a new “guidebook/map” project, to compliment the Ondago smartphone app, that we launched earlier this year. You are invited to provide some input, as to what format this new guidebook or map should take, and we hope to have all input by Sunday, December 6. Click on the link below to add your input. Thank you.
Unfortunately at this time due to a worsening Covid-19 situation, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. cannot allow Red Zone residents or people who work in a Red Zone (currently Toronto, York, and Peel Health Regions) to join our scheduled group hikes. This is primarily to comply with their own local requirements to “stay home” and in the interest of protecting the safety of our other members. We hope that this situation will not last for long, and we regret having what we feel is an obligation to impose this restriction. This is a fluid situation, other Public Health regions may restrict movement in their areas as well. Stay informed about your local conditions and act accordingly. Members from these restricted red zones are however encouraged to exercise locally. Frieda Baldwin President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. 705-245-1005
Earlier this year, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. made a donation to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, for the purchase of the Baldwick Bluffs property in Springwater Township, through which the Ganaraska Hiking Trail runs.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada thanks the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. for our donation to the project and helping make the acquisition happen! The Friends of Minesing Wetlands will be making an announcement as well acknowledging those like Ganaraska Hiking Trail who donated through the match fundraiser.
On a sunny but cool afternoon on October 28 members of the Wasaga Beach Hiking Club gathered at Schoonertown Parkette to dedicate a bench and memorial plaque to Lois Kowal who passed away suddenly on April 7 2020.
Lois’ family , her brother Mort and wife Donna and many other organizations were present to pay tribute to the commitment Lois had to her community and to her love of nature.
John Fisher ,Superintendent of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park and some of his staff represented the love that Lois had for the Piping Plover Program, Friends of Nancy Island Historical Society and Ontario Nature.
Marilyn Beecroft who with her husband Jim built and installed the bench, spoke of how Lois always went over and above the call of duty to get any task that she undertook done to the best of her ability.
Lois’ interests also extended to the local chapter of Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi and Wasaga Beach Garden Club.
Lois was a long time member of the board of Ganaraska Hiking Club and served as the membership secretary , kept records of end to end badges and inventory of Ganaraska Hiking Trail Guide Book. She also held these positions in the Wasaga Beach club as well as being a hike leader who had an enormous knowledge of the trails and flora and fauna found in this area.
. Many people have stepped up to replace Lois at these tasks but for the members of Wasaga Beach club Lois is irreplaceable. We will miss her tremendously.
Due to Covid 19, we previously had been informed by New Lowell Conservation camp managers, that hikers were not allowed to hike through the New Lowell CA.
According to the latest information from park management:
1) Hikers are allowed again through the park but must wear a mask.
2) Washrooms are available for use but are limited to 2 people at a time and everyone must wash their hands prior to entering the toilets and after they leave.
Also, note that parking available once you enter the gates to the left. This area alone will hold 20 cars and the parking space on the right will hold up to 10 cars. Weekends might be tighter for parking as overnight campers take up those spaces.
CHANGES TO HIKING ON RAILLINE: Due to the fact that the Mad River section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail between New Lowell and Utopia follows an abandoned railline, which is very overgrown in late summer and fall, we are officially closing this 11 km section from August till end of fall. End-to-end hikers have the option of skipping this section, or resume in the winter or spring when the plant growth is next to nil and the rail line is easier to navigate. If end-to-enders insist on hiking through, they do so at their own risk.
Today finally saw the GHTA Inc. Trail Maintenance Award go to its rightful holder for the year 2019. Barrie Club was the recipient of this prestigious award, which hasn’t been awarded in several years, for their excellent progress in moving trail off roads and into forest, as well as doing a stellar job of blazing, cleaning up etc. The picture shows club President, John Sloan, and club member Dale Hannah, accepting on behalf of the club. Well done, Barrie!