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Ganaraska Hiking Trail's 18-km gap 'finally' closes in north Simcoe

For Midland resident Frieda Baldwin and local trail volunteers, closing trail serves as an 'important milestone'

The missing piece of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail puzzle has now been added.

After nearly a dozen years of ongoing efforts on the part of dedicated, hard-working volunteers with the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association and local hiking clubs, an 18-kilometre gap of the iconic Ontario hiking trail is now closed.

During a weekend celebration, many of those volunteers along with hikers and municipal officials who helped make the closure a reality gathered along the trail adjacent to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons to make it official.

“We finally managed to connect it,” says Midland resident Frieda Baldwin, who’s also the association’s president.

“We had about 50 hikers who were there to hike the new section.”

The “new section” begins at Tiny Township’s 12th concession and travels through the Thompson Forest before making its way to Penetanguishene and continuing onto Midland.

“It was a project that’s been in the works for years,” says Baldwin, who notes it couldn’t have happened without the help and cooperation from the three local municipalities.

“Tiny Township built some stairs as well as a bridge to make it happen.” 

Completing the 500-kilometre trail that runs from Port Hope in the south to Collingwood in the west is a challenge many hikers set for themselves, according to Baldwin.

Due to the distance, undulating terrain and some walking on concrete/asphalt, the new section is described as a moderate hike.

Baldwin says area residents can now explore the beautiful Georgian Bay shoreline and various forest trails, breathe in the fresh air and challenge themselves on this scenic trail.

“It’s quite beautiful and the trails aren’t along the road,” Baldwin says, noting the trail passes through many beautiful forests and fields.

And like other long-distance hiking trails in North America, such as the Appalachian Trail, Bruce Trail, Oak Ridges Trail, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail also features wayfinding signs.

“I am sure people have seen these blazes appear along the ‘Gap’ trail on posts, trees, etc. wondering what they are, and not realizing that they are wayfinding signs, that they can follow through the forest,” Baldwin says.

For Baldwin, the closure marks an important milestone of sorts.

“I call it an historic moment, but also a legacy event (for me). I’ve been with the organization for 30 years.”

The nine member clubs of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. maintain the 500 kilometre-long, recreational trail that extends from the shores of Lake Ontario at Port Hope to the Bruce Trail near Collingwood, with side trails to Wasaga Beach and Midland.

Each club offers hikes in their local area and maintains the trail system for all to enjoy.

For more information about the trail, click here.

Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country‚Äôs most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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