New Public Health Restrictions

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.

Ganaraska Baldwick Bluffs Donation

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. 

See this link for more information about the property announcement.

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.  

Frieda Baldwin

Lois Kowal Dedication Ceremony

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. 

Irene Bell, President Wasaga Beach Hiking Club.  



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.

Frieda Baldwin

Two Alerts

  1. Bears are around all year, so it is important to be bear wise any time of the year.
    BearWise helps people live responsibly with black bearsHelping people live responsibly with black bears, using the BearWise Basics (at home and outdoors), Bear Safety …

2. Be Seen Be Safe information is useful.

Trail Maintenance Award

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!

Nottawasaga Bluffs – Keyhole Side Trail Hike – 16 September – WB Club

Hike leader Dale Elley-Bristow took us down into a slot cave and out through the featured keyhole then through mature cedar, reforested pine, mature deciduous forest and an open meadow, by a wonderful rock face, a babbling brook and through a marsh and by a lake.

Barrie Trail – East Entrance into Springwater Provincial Park blocked (but passable)

One of our favourite short hikes is to park behind Simcoe County Museum and hike the Ganaraska Trail west into Springwater Provincial Park to enjoy the trails in the park. This route goes across Anne Street and some railway tracks just before entering the east side of the park. There is currently, however, a wall of railway ties that greet you when you exit forest at Anne Street (see picture below). Luckily, there is a break in the railway ties to the right of the view in the picture where you can cross the tracks and then you have to walk back down to the large poplar tree at the start of the trail into the park. At this point you will see another pile of railway ties but the trail is navigable to the left of the pile (you will easily find it). And just in case this isn’t enough, the trail from the railway tracks into Springwater Provincial Park is thick with poison ivy, so be careful.

Wilderness Section Map and Route Alert

Note: this post replaces yesterday’s post (removed), correcting some misinformation. Apologies for the confusion.

Please be advised that most currently available maps for the Wilderness section of the Ganaraska Trail are at least partially out of date (including the 2013 GHTA trail map binder).

The most material change affects the western end of the Wilderness section of the Ganaraska Trail. The Wilderness Club’s trail used to end at the hamlet of Sadowa, but that changed when a landowner closed off access through his property. The Ondago app now shows the trail following the Black River Road and Chisholm Trail from Victoria Bridge to Sadowa. Please note that this road segment has not been blazed. Further, we recommend that hikers at the western end of the Wilderness section begin their hike if eastbound, or end their hike if  westbound, at Victoria Bridge rather than Sadowa. The seasonal Black River Road is rough and winding, but can be driven safely provided you take your time. Driving directions to Victoria Bridge are easily found in Google Maps.
There are two key changes at the eastern end of the Wilderness section of the Ganaraska Trail. The trailhead for the Blue trail that runs from Devil’s Lake to Sheldon Lake and Petticoat Junction has been relocated closer to Deep Bay Road on the Devil’s Lake side road. This new trailhead is well signposted and new parking space has been created for trail users. The old trailhead that was accessed from Hull Lane off Deep Bay Road has been closed. The other principal change is the creation of the new 10 km “Queen’s Corridor” trail that runs north from Moore Falls to the new trailhead at Devil’s Lake; this route option has not yet been included in most maps.
Please contact the Wilderness Club if you require additional information.
Rob Halupka – President, Wilderness Club of GHTA