Sad news from the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.

It is with extreme sadness that I have to share the news that our membership director, Lois Kowal, passed away on February 7 of congestive heart failure. 
Lois volunteered for some 20 years as membership director of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. She was extremely dedicated to her role, which included recording renewals and new memberships, and liaising with members as needed. Her input into our new on-line registration for memberships was instrumental. She also managed the End-to-End hiker program, and was in contact with them on their journey along the Ganaraska Hiking Trail. She also was in charge of the badge inventory, including our name badges. 
Lois was a kind loving person, very professional in everything she did for our organization, and her record keeping was impeccable. 
She will be dearly missed by the members of the Wasaga Beach club to which  she belonged , and to the many of us who have interacted with her over the past 20 years. 

KOWAL, Lois Eleanor (nee Cooper)
Died suddenly on Tuesday April 7, 2020 at her home in her 78th year

Frieda Baldwin President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. 

Good news… County Forests remain open! But keep your distance.

Message from the County of Simcoe.

Further to the provincial announcement of March 30th, green spaces in parks, trails and ravines can remain open for pass-through access, but visitors must continue to practice social/physical distancing.   Simcoe County is maintaining a consistent approach as the County Forest remains open to permitted uses, however users must practice prescribed social distancing measures. Staff are in process of posting signs in high-use areas to remind the public of this requirement. Please advise if you are aware of specific areas of concern which require signage or further attention to ensure compliance.

  Thank you very much and stay well,  

Graeme Davis, R.P.F.Forester County of Simcoe, Forestry Department 1110 Highway 26, Midhurst, Ontario  L9X 1N6

Phone: 705-726-9300 Ext. 1177  Cell: 705-733-4611 Email:

Ganaraska Hiking Trail Maps Go Mobile!

If this is not exciting, I don’t know what is! After a full year of volunteer time GPS’ing and documenting our 500 km long Ganaraska Hiking Trail and working with Ondago, a Quebec based software developer, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association trail maps can now be downloaded to your mobile device.

Using the GPS function of your device to find the Ganaraska Hiking Trail, follow the trail, and get lots of great information about the trail on your phone or tablet.

There are eight detailed club section maps and one overall map of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail in the Ondago catalog providing coverage of the entire trail from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay. Each map contains multiple points of interest highlighting where parking is available, where great sights can be found, where there are places of historic interest, etc. In addition to making the Ganaraska Hiking Trail easier to find and navigate, the Ondago app provides some very practical and interesting information at a hiker’s fingertips.

To get the mobile device version of our maps simply download the free Ondago app and search for Ganaraska or go to the ‘Hiking’ section on the app and scroll to the Ganaraska maps. Each map can be downloaded (also for free) before heading out to the trail and requires only the GPS function of the device. A data connection is not necessary to track your progress and position on the trail, but if you have data on your mobile device, you can take full advantage of the points-of-interest on the maps such as linking to websites providing information about features of the trail.

The development of this downloadable, mobile version of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail is the result of a lot of hard work by numerous members of each of the nine Ganaraska clubs and a generous grant from the Simcoe County Tourism Development Fund.

More information about Ondago can be found at
More information about the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc., its nine clubs, the trail itself, how to become a member, etc. can be found at

Please try it out and tell friends and family about this new and exciting way to get information about, and enjoy, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail, which has been described as a string of pearls, whereby the blazes take you from one scenic spot – the pearl – to another.

Happy Hiking

Frieda Baldwin
President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.

COVID-19 Resources

This GIS Hub is provided by Esri Canada to share information about the coronavirus pandemic. Information sources include the Community Map of Canada, the Living Atlas, Environics Analytics and others.
– A fantastic graphic presentation

Public_COVID-19_Canada Spreadsheet

COVID-19 in Canada Dashboard

Genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus (hCoV-19)

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 170 countries and territories

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

GHTA COVID-19 Update

The Executive Committee of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. discussed the COVID-19 situation and decided that in light of the changing direction of the Public Health authorities regarding how people should proceed in protecting the public health, and given the difficulties in maintaining social distance in a large group setting (as evidenced on some hikes this past weekend), we very much regret to have to request that all GHTA clubs and hike leaders cancel any group hikes until further notice.

The Ganaraska Hiking Trail itself, as well as some conservation areas, forests, and other outdoor spaces remain open to anyone who wishes to go for a walk or a hike.

So, enjoy the out of doors… just not in a group setting!

Frieda Baldwin
President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.

COVID-19 Announcement

Hi all,
In light of the advice of our health authorities, we have considered the ramifications COVID-19 may have on our planned activities, and have therefore decided to cancel any upcoming indoor meetings, such as the March 21 First Aid Course in Midland (tentatively rescheduled to June 6) and the March 26 information evening in Creemore. Our Annual General Meeting is still scheduled for April 18, but we will be monitoring the situation, and may either cancel, or arrange for a meeting by conference call.

With regard to planned hikes, we are comfortable that these can continue, provided proper social distancing (keeping 6 feet away from each other) and other precautions as recommended by the health authorities are being followed. As such, it is suggested that car pooling be eliminated; rather participants should drive directly to the start of the hike, if there is enough parking. With snow banks receding, it may very well be an option to park on the shoulder of the road or in a parking lot that was not plowed during the winter months. When doing a linear End to End, car shuttles between start and end of the hike may be more problematic, so “back and forth” hikes may be more advisable. Obviously, people who are feeling unwell, and/or have been exposed to someone who is sick with a respiratory illness (be it confirmed Covid-19 or not) should not participate. This is our response based on the conditions of today. We will advise if things change in the future, and hopefully we can sooner or later get back to our regular way of doing things, carpooling in particular.

In conclusion, hiking is fortunately an activity where we can easily apply social distances, so we encourage our members to get out there, get your exercise and vitamin D fixes, inhale lots of fresh air, and enjoy all of the beauty our forests and other green spaces have to offer. It’s good for our mental health to switch off from social media, and the news, so, HIKE ON!

Happy hiking!

Frieda Baldwin
President, Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc.

Oro Medonte Section Trail Maintenance – Christine Cornu

Unfortunately, the northern end of the Oro Medonte Section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail remains closed and has been rerouted to Line 5, until further notice.

The middle part of the section between Peter St. and Vasey Road (County Road 23) is very swampy and was impassable after the long wet spring last year. It remains closed until trail maintenance can be undertaken in this section.

Hikers who may be attempting to hike in this area should continue along the road – that is Line 5 until they reach Vasey Road.

Christine Cornu Ph 705-733-3825

Mad River Section Closed

A quick note to all and any hikers who are interested in hiking the Mad River section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail, at this time, the trail is closed until further notice.
The trail has not been maintained since 2015 but the plan is to have it re-opened very soon, following the scheduling of work parties.  Anyone interested in helping with this venture, please contact Sharon at

Frieda Baldwin

Frieda Announces Two New Appointments

The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. is pleased to make the following 2 announcements, which will be ratified at our Annual General Meeting on April 18, 2020:
Claudia Jaspert, member of the Midland club, has agreed to take on the role of Publicity Director for the Ganaraska Hiking Trail with a focus on getting our brochures out to places were they can be seen (such as outfitters, libraries, etc.) She will also try to find opportunities to have the Ganaraska display set up, such as at the Toronto Outdoor Show on Feb 22-24 (where we will have a shared table with Simcoe County Tourism) and other venues. Because of her location, her focus will mostly be on opportunities in Simcoe County. Claudia is an avid hiker, biker, paddler and skier, and has some previous experience with trade booths at trade fairs. If you have any suggestions for Claudia, you can reach her at Note: I will continue to post Ganaraska Hiking Trail related information on the association’s Facebook page.

Sharon Striegl, also a member of the Midland club, but who also hikes, bikes and paddles with other Ganaraska clubs, has agreed to take on the role of Mad River Club President.  Earlier this year, we had announced that Laura and John Giffin of Glen Huron had accepted the role of co-presidents of the Mad River club, but unfortunately, due to time commitments related to their business, they have had to resign. We are fortunate, however, to have Sharon Striegl step up to the plate. Sharon owns property in Glencairn, along the route of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail. Last spring, a significant road section north of Glencairn was taken off road and relocated onto her land, which is rented out as a Christmas tree farm. One immediate focus will be the maintenance of the Mad River section of our trail, which is in desperate need of some trail maintenance (it has not been done since 2015). Until such time as the Mad River section has received its much needed TLC, we have decided to actually close it, mainly for liability reasons.  We hope that some of the neighbouring local clubs will help the Mad River club which only has 8 members, to bring the trail back up to par.  Sharon can be reached at

2020 is certainly looking like an exciting year!

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