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New Covid Restrictions Update

With the new Covid 19 restrictions for Ontario, which include a max of 5 for outdoor gatherings, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. is herewith suspending all group hikes until further notice, effective Jan. 14, 2021.  The work involved in planning multiple hikes for small groups is just too complex to organize. A lot of work goes into planning a hike, sending the announcements, pre-registrations, documenting attendees for contact tracing, etc.  In addition, we are encouraged to STAY HOME, except for essential travel and exercise. We encourage you to still go out for exercise, locally, with your household members, or a small group of hiking friends, of course observing Covid protocols.  Over the years, we have shown you the great places to hike, ski or snowshoe, many of them close to your home.  So go and enjoy what winter has to offer, but do it on your own or in small groups.
Stay safe, and happy hiking.
Frieda Baldwin, President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. Ph 705-245-1005

Frieda on Parking

We would like our hikers to be aware that some municipalities have parking restrictions in winter, some even till noon, to allow snowplows to clear the roads.
This may affect morning hikers, such as when parking at the entrances to the Ganaraska Hiking Trail or a local forest.  Below is a summary of the parking restrictions in some of the Simcoe County municipalities:
Tay Twp: from Nov 15 – April 1 restricted parking  3:00 am to 12:00 noon
Midland from Nov 15 – April 1 restricted parking 12:00 midnight to 7:00 am
Penetanguishene from Nov 1 – April 1 restricted parking from 1:00 am to 7:00 am
Tiny & Oro Medonte Twps: from October 15 – April 30.  If there is a heavy snowfall in either of these townships the expectation is that the roads will be clear for snow removal.  If not, you could be subject to a fine.
We also learned that in some municipalities snowplow operators can actually ticket cars that are parked illegally.
Stay safe out there!

Frieda Baldwin Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.  705-245-1005

Updates from Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.

The Publicity Officer position has now been filled. We are thankful to Alana Boulay, a member of the Barrie Club, who currently runs the Facebook Group as well as the Barrie Facebook Page, for stepping up and offering to take care of the Association Facebook Page as well. 

I also wanted to thank Karen Bernardo for all her efforts with respect to creating a  social media presence for the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association and its clubs. This  has – no doubt – paid off in additional memberships and followers, which is what we were hoping to achieve. 


Also, as of January 1 the role of president for the Barrie Ganaraska Hiking Club will transfer to Liz Erwin. John Sloan’s role within the club will change to Director / Past President of the Barrie Ganaraska Hiking Club. He will also continue in his role as Director – Trails and Landowner Relations for the Association.  Thanks to Liz for taking on this responsibility.  Liz Irwin (705) 792-6181 or lizerwin@rogers.com

Frieda Baldwin
705-245-1005

Wanted, Social Media Volunteer

The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. is looking for a volunteer to take on the role of Publicity Officer. Our current volunteer did a great job on establishing a following on social media and promoting the organization. Unfortunately, she has had to resign for personal reasons.  So we are looking for a volunteer who will be responsible for our social media efforts: – regular postings on the Association Facebook page – respond to Association Facebook enquiries – support, if needed, for the other volunteers who administer the club Facebook pages and the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Facebook Group  – provide a short bi-annual social media update for the board of directors If interested in volunteering for this position, please contact Frieda Baldwin at president@ganaraska-hiking-trail.org. Thanks for considering this position.

Frieda Baldwin
705-245-1005

New Covid Restrictions

Following the new Covid restrictions, issued by the Ontario Government yesterday, which are effective Dec 26, 2020, we must limit our group hikes to 10 individuals, at least until January 24, 2021. Actually, we have confirmation from our local health unit that we can “gather” for hikes in parks, at trail heads, etc. as long as we adhere to public health measures (2 m social distancing, masking as needed), and stay within our own communities. 
Carpooling is as expected still not allowed (unless with members of your own household).  Note: there is no longer a reference in the regulations about carpooling with members of your social circle/bubble. Travelling is only allowed with members of your own household.
Also, while parks and trails remain open, we may see partial closings of some sections of our trail, especially any through “seasonal campgrounds”, which are closed to members of the general public. Example: through the New Lowell camp ground. 
Hopefully we will soon be able to return to a regular hiking program, but for now, as per above, groups have a limit of 10 participants. We do encourage you, however, to hike or walk on your own, or with members of your family, and enjoy our great outdoors.
Meanwhile, the Executive of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. wishes all our members a very merry Christmas, and lots of great hiking in 2021.
Frieda Baldwin President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.
Ph 705-245-1005

Ganaraska Hiking Club Covid-19 update

“As of Monday December 14, 2020 several of our Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association clubs will be going into a Covid-19 Red Zone: Midland, Oro Medonte, Barrie, Orillia, Mad River and Wasaga Beach. (Wilderness, Kawartha and Pine Ridge remain in Yellow).  https://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/COVID-19
While the Red Zone restrictions mainly focus on indoor establishments, the outdoor gathering number in a Red Zone remains at 25 people, but non-essential travel other than for exercise is restricted. 
Therefore, Ganaraska Hiking Trail clubs in any zone may still schedule group hikes in their zone, but should not allow attendance by residents of – or people who work in – higher zones than their own, e.g.  members from a Lockdown zone (Grey Zone) should not attend group hikes in a Red Zone, or members from a Red Zone should not attend group hikes in a Yellow or Green Zone.
We also discourage individual members from crossing into other public health regions, and ask everyone to continue following public health restrictions/guidelines, such as social distancing, mask wearing if within 2 m, and also no carpooling (unless with people from your own bubble).  
Thank you for your cooperation.

Frieda Baldwin, President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. 
705-245-1005”

Logging Operation on Barrie Trail in Simcoe County Forest (Crawford Tract)

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.

GHTA Inc. Covid-19 Protocol and Tips – Sept. 20, 2020

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!

Ganaraska Hiking Trail map project survey – input required

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.

Ganaraska Hiking Trail map survey

Frieda Baldwin
705-245-1005