Special Award to David Francis

The Executive of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. is pleased to announce that they have awarded a special award to David Francis, in recognition and appreciation of his past contributions to the GHTA, at the club level, the association level, as well as at provincial and national levels. His leadership, commitment and overall enthusiasm for hiking has been recognized, as over the years, he contributed his time and skills as: 

– founding member of the Alliston-Angus GHTA club, later more appropriately renamed Mad River club (he actually suggested the name!)

– first Mad River club president- dedicated and wonderful hike leader, especially as it relates to hiking with children and young adults

– GHTA Wilderness club president

– GHTA association president

– Hike Ontario president

– Director with Hike Canada

We also appreciate and currently hugely benefit from David’s past involvement and management of the Hike Ontario Certified Hike Leader program.

 As the Executive realized that David is not a lifetime member, we agreed to offer him a lifetime membership. It seems that the recognition was well received by David, who wrote us back as follows:

Frieda, It was with great surprise that I received your letter on behalf of the GHTA Executive Committee bestowing on me a lifetime membership of the association. My relationship and service to the hiking community have brought me great joy and satisfaction as well as a great sense of achievement. It has been my privilege of meeting many wonderful and remarkable people who have worked together to build and maintain a remarkable network of trails. These have been put in place by some visionary founders. They have brought immense pleasure to millions of people over the years and it is with great delight when I use these trails to see how many other people are also using them. When I see a white blaze, I think of the many hundreds of volunteers who have painted these iconic trail markers, enabling many to hike from end to end, or just a short casual stroll in nature. It is heartening to see that so many new younger people are taking over and carrying on the noble tradition of trail management. Long live the Ganaraska Hiking Trail and our many other trail systems. David

Well deserved, David!

Frieda Baldwin, President

DCF 1.0
Welsh Tract

2021.11.10 – Simcoe County Forest Crawford Tract Logging Operations Complete – Trail Now Open

We have just received confirmation from the Simcoe County Forestry organization that logging operations in SCF Crawford Tract are now complete and the trail is open and available for use. This is the section of the Barrie Club trail in Oro-Medonte between Lines 5 & 6 just south of Sugarbush Estates (south of Horseshoe Valley Road). There is a bit of trail clean-up and maintenance to be done but the trail is useable. Enjoy!

COVID-19 Protocol Update

The following is an update to the GHTA Inc COVID-19 protocol, effective immediately.

– Participants in scheduled GHTA club hikes must be fully vaccinated.

– Carpooling can now be resumed with 4 people max (incl. the driver) per car, wearing a mask (because of the indoor space and lack of social distancing), windows left cracked open.  It is entirely the choice of drivers to allow 4 persons, or fewer if they are not comfortable with 4.

– We count on the honesty of our members with respect to their vaccination status.  However, drivers who offer to shuttle participants in their private cars may ask passengers for proof of their vaccination status.

– During the hikes, public health measures continue including maintaining social distance and wearing masks when unable to do so.

– Individuals who do not feel well are asked not to participate in group hikes. 

GHTA Inc. and Covid-19 Vaccination

In September the Executive debated what to do regarding requiring Covid-19 vaccination for hike participation, but in the end decided to leave that up to individual hike leaders. The following message went out to the clubs to explain the position, and is still in force.

“In response to a question from some hike leaders regarding whether hike attendance can be restricted to fully-vaccinated hikers, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. does not have a policy on this issue.  Individual hike leaders may choose to stipulate that only fully-vaccinated persons may attend their hikes, or they may choose not to so stipulate. For those hikes requiring attendees to be fully-vaccinated, it is important to make the stipulation clear in the hike description, for the information of all attendees.  Wording such as:  ATTENDANCE RESTRICTED TO FULLY (COVID-19) VACCINATED HIKERS should be inserted into the hike description.  The digital sign-up apps and Google Calendar descriptions should be changed to reflect the restriction stipulation.”

2021.11.05 Wilderness Club – Montgomery Bridge Seasonal Removal

Effective November 5, 2021, the bridge segments will be disconnected and heaved up onto the bank to keep them high & dry over the winter season. After the bridge is out, we can still cross safely on the fallen tree (aka the “Four Brothers”) that spans Montgomery Creek about 250 metres upstream from the private bridge. The bridge will be replaced in the spring.

2021.10.06 – Significant Reroute in Wilderness Area

West of North Smudge Lake near campsite 12, a number of beaver dams including one that is part of the Ganaraska Trail have blown out recently. Please follow the temporary reroute (not flagged) to a beaver dam that is still standing. The reroute is 1.2 km, adding .5 km to the total distance of the trail.

2021.09.23 – Logging complete on Oro-Medonte Trail between Lines 4N & 5N.


The logging on private land between Lines 4N and 5N on the Oro-Medonte trail is now complete (reference the posting dated June 7, 2021). The trail is useable but needs to be re-blazed – scheduled to happen by the end of September. Our Ondago app will keep you on the trail until the blazing has been refreshed. It is great to have the Oro-Medonte trail once again available from end-to-end. Enjoy the fall hiking.

Alert re Orillia City parking

Note that the City of Orillia has restricted parking in any of the waterside parks, including Tudhope Park and Centennial Park, for Fridays to Sundays, for the summer season. Only City of Orillia residents may park there. There is a fine of $80 for non-residents who park in these restricted parking lots. It is possible to park away from the water-side in the city, but attention must be paid to no parking signs, or municipal parking lots allow paid parking for several hours.

2021.08.12 – Ganaraska Trail has expanded in the Tiny Marsh

The Midland club of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail is extremely excited to announce completion of an extension of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail on Tiny Marsh property. The new main trail route allows hikers to enjoy the beauty of the marsh from the Trotter and Carolina dykes, whereas previously the Ganaraska Hiking Trail skirted the marsh, and one would barely get a glimpse of it. In combination with the old route, which was blazed as a blue side trail, the new main trail route forms an approx. 6.1 km loop on the east side of the Visitor Centre, starting from the Trotter Dyke parking lot.

The Midland Ganaraska Hiking Trail club also blazed an 2.2 km blue side trail loop on the west side of the Visitor Centre which includes the look out tower over the marsh, the recently re-opened board walk and the Beaverland Trail to Mole Mountain.  

The dykes and boardwalks are excellent birding spots and make for great snowshoe destinations. Enjoy the gorgeous views of the marsh, in all seasons. 

Access to these trails is free, and we thank the MTM (Matchedash-Tiny-Marl) Conservation Association for their cooperation in making this expansion a reality. 

A map of the 2 loops is attached. 

2021.07.27 – Ganaraska Trail Expanding in Tiny Marsh

The Midland club of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail is extremely excited to announce an extension of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail on Tiny Marsh property. This new main trail route will allow hikers to enjoy the beauty the marsh from the Trotter and Carolina dykes. In combination with the old route, which will now be marked as a blue side trail, the new main trail route will form an 8-9 km loop on the east side of the Visitor Centre.

There will also be an additional blue side trail, forming a 2.4 km loop on the west side of the Visitor Centre which will include the look out tower over the marsh, the recently re-opened board walk and the Beaverland Trail to Mole Mountain. Volunteers from the local Midland Ganaraska Hiking Trail club will start the re-blazing of the main route and blue side trails this Friday July 30. Please follow the blazes. Mapping of this section will be updated shortly.