|Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association volunteers were at the Toronto Outdoor Show this Sunday Feb 26, in a booth shared with Tourism Simcoe County, to promote our hiking trail. They handed out pamphlets and newsletters and talked to lots of people, some who had never heard of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail. Some visitors took a picture of the QR code on display, which took them to GHTA membership page. Thank you to our amazing volunteers: Glynn Richardson, Jacqueline Van Dyke and Dan Myall. Don’t they look cool in their Ganaraska Hiking Trail T-Shirts?|
I will be starting Monday walks on April 3 (weather permitting). These are 1 hour easy walks to places close to Orillia. Participants should call on Sunday evening to find out where we are going. My phone number is 705-329-4835. Ann Kivinen
Local hiking association seek North Simcoe permissions to bridge trail gap from Martyrs’ Shrine to Tiny Trail at Conc. 12
by Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association looked to Penetanguishene council recently with a trailblazing request to close the loop at the northern ends of the 500-km trail which nearly loops within Simcoe County.
If you’ve ever wanted to meet modern trailblazers, North Simcoe might have your solution.
Representatives from the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association (GHTA) approached Penetanguishene council during the recent regular meeting, seeking permission to blaze trails through the Midland, Penetanguishene, and Tiny Township areas to attach the unconnected ends of a popular trail system.
GHTA president Frieda Baldwin gave a presentation to council regarding the proposal.
“It’s a hiking trail 500-kilometres long from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay,” Baldwin explained. “It passes through the Peterborough area, Orillia, Barrie, Wasaga Beach, Midland, Penetanguishene, and so on. The trail is maintained by volunteers; there are nine clubs and members of each club maintain the trail.”
The hiking trail originated in the early 1960s for naturalists to enjoy unspoiled lands across the province, and by 1968 the Ganaraska hiking trail was officially opened from Port Hope to Lindsay. Shortly after, more sections were added to the overall coverage.
However, the trail was never fully connected in its Simcoe County portion. The western trail ends at the Tay Shore Trail beside Sainte-Marie among the Hurons outside Midland, while the eastern trail ceases at the Tiny Trail and Conc. 12 E. junction in Tiny Township.
“The purpose of this deputation is to ask permission from the town… to blaze a trail through Penetanguishene. We are not going to build any new trails – we are not asking permission for that – just to blaze the trail,” said Baldwin.
In blazing a trail, path markers measuring two-by-six inches are put onto visible waypoints for the purpose of navigation, whether through paint or by installing material like PVC. Blazes can be found on trees, various posts, bridges, rocks, and hydro poles among the many available options.
For the request, Baldwin offered the preferred off-road route between the Wye River to Tiny Conc. 12 through the following connections: from the Midland waterfront trail to the Mid-Pen link at Murray Rd.; to Thompson Rd. W. over to Thompson Rd. E. and along the multi-use trail; through the Thompson/Martin Valley county forest to Overhead Bridge Rd.; and using a new Kingfisher trail to arrive at the Tiny Trail.
“In 2010, we actually obtained permission from the town of Midland,” Baldwin told council, “but the other municipalities… we were not making much progress.”
Approval for the Tiny Township portion had been previously granted, according to Baldwin, with a $2,500 budget allocation for stairs to the Tiny Trail postponed until 2023. She added that the GHTA had also sought trailblazing permission from Midland council and was waiting for approval.
The request was put forward through Mayor Doug Rawson to the recreation and community services section to be explored by staff for consideration.
The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association deputation, with slides and further information, can be located on the agenda page of the Town of Penetanguishene website.
Meetings of Penetanguishene council are held on the second Wednesday of each month, and can be watched live on Rogers TV cable 53, or on the Rogers TV website.
Archives of council meetings are located on the Town of Penetanguishene YouTube channel.
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.
The Ganaraska Trail follows a former railway between the 4th and 5th lines of Hope Township. Most of the trail is pretty well level, but there is one spot where the railway crossed a creek. The old trestle bridge had been taken out years ago and hikers needed to navigate two sagging, slippery cedar logs to get across that creek. There was a 25’ horizontal cedar tree next to the logs for holding on to. To make matters worse, the trail down to the bridge and up the other side was steep and treacherous.
On December 2, 2022, life got easier for trail hikers and dog walkers. 5 Pine Ridge Hiking Club members installed a new 20’ bridge a short distance downstream from the old crossing. Both access trails were moved and hand-shovelled to be easier to traverse. Congratulations to Jimmy Edwards, Stan Muldoon, Jay Sherwin, John Ambler and bridge designer, Ted Van Netten.
Be Safe Be Seen: Hikers should be aware that hunting is taking place all year round, but is especially busy during the fall between early September and mid-December. The exact dates vary across the Ganaraska Hiking Trail as it passes through different Wildlife Management Units.
To be safe, hikers should:
– Know when it is hunting season in the area you will be hiking in. Consult this website for exact information:
– Wear bright colours, preferably hunting orange
– Put bright colours on your pets and keep dogs on a leach
– Avoid hiking at dusk and dawn, i.e. typical times when hunters are in the forest
– Stay on established trails and avoid bushwhacking
– Make noise, so hunters know you are nearby
And finally, note that hunters and trail users both have the privilege to pursue their chosen outdoor recreation. Therefore, be courteous and respectful of all outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and non-hunters alike. Do your part to share the woods safely and respect each other and the land we share.
More information is available on
Frieda Baldwin, President
We are pleased to advise that we will be resuming our Spring 2022 Hike Schedule on Wednesday, June 8th. As clean-up from the May 26th storm continues around the region, we may need to change the occasional venue. In those circumstances an email will be sent to all Kawartha Club members advising of the updated hike details. If you are not a member of the Kawartha Club but would like to join us on a hike, please contact the hike leader as a courtesy and to confirm the hike location.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Janice BrownWednesday Hike CoordinatorGHTA – Kawartha Club
GRCA is requesting that you communicate the following messages out to your members and networks while stressing the seriousness of the situation.
- On Saturday May 21, 2022 a massive storm system caused significant damage to the Ganaraska Forest and its entire trail network (West Central and East Forests are all effected).
- The current situation in the Ganaraska Forest is very serious and extremely dangerous.
- The GRCA and Police are strictly enforcing the closure of the Ganaraska Forest and NO ACCESS is being granted until furture notice
- The Ganaraska Forest is extremely dangerous with hazard trees and significant blockages throughout the entire trail network of the Ganaraska Forest (West, Central and East Forests).
- Please respect any form of barriers and signage that is blocking access and DO NOT cross these barriers.
- All Special Events are cancelled for the foreseeable future. No new applications will be accepted.
- Updates will be provided through the Ganaraska Conservation Facebook page, www.grca.on.ca and www.ganaraskaforestcentre.ca.
- Staff are currently assessing the entire Ganaraska Forest trail network and Trail clearing work is underway.
- As assessment and trail clearing continues, recovery plans are being created.
- Thank you for your support, and patience during this trying time.
Ed Van Osch
Forest Recreation Technician, Provincial Offences Officer
Ganaraska Forest Centre
RR1 Campbellcroft, Ontario
905-885-8173 ext. 325
We sincerely regret to let you all know that Kawartha Club hikes are suspended until further notice.
One by one, property owners are closing parks and trails as a result of the storm last Saturday. Those closures include trails that are on our Spring 2022 Hike Schedule. Reopening of those parks and trails are dependent on the completion of a property by property assessment of conditions and completing actions to ensure that the trails are safe. The property owners that have closed parks and trails include the City of Peterborough, Otonabee Conservation and Kawartha Land Trust.
We will continue to monitor the status of the park and trail closures and let you all know when we can begin hiking again. Hopefully that will be soon.
In the meantime, enjoy your hiking and biking in safe locations! We are hoping that this will be a brief suspension and will let you know when we restart our hikes.
Richard Raper, Weekend Hike Coordinator – Kawartha Club