Fall Felicitations!

THIS ISSUE: We encourage you to participate in the final month of Conservation Ontario's 'Healthy Hikes' initiative, and provide an update on The Avon Trail's 2nd Annual Wildwood Challenge. Also included is an article titled "Private property and the Bruce Trail", an announcement on the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, further information on some upcoming Training Courses, and the winner of this month's Photo Contest.

As always, stay happy and healthy in the great outdoors, hikers. We wish you Happy Trails!


Healthy Hikes is an annual health and wellness initiative of Conservation Ontario and proudly sponsored by Hike Ontario.

Each year, Ontarians are encouraged to boost their health by stepping into nature at any of Ontario’s nearly 300 Conservation Areas from May to October.

This year, Healthy Hikers can boost their health by stepping into nature from May 2 - October 31!


• Visit a Conservation Area

• Snap a fun selfie or nature image

• Share it on social media using the hashtags #HealthyHikes & #StepIntoNature

Give your health a boost!

For more information or to register, please go to healthyhikes.ca


2nd Annual Wildwood Challenge Hike

October 28, 2017

This event is open to hikers and will allow participants to go at their own pace.  The route will follow the entire Wildwood Lake circuit, a woodland trail of great natural appeal. The trail is well maintained but can be moderately challenging in spots.  The  Wildwood Lake circuit is 22km in length and is well marked.  Event organizers: Bruce Graham and Roselee Karlinski

Hike entry fee: $25.00.  Pre-registration is required.   Space is limited.  Detach and complete the form and send to the Avon Trail along with your cheque by October 23, 2017.  Funds go towards construction of paths and bridges on the Avon Trail.

Each participant will receive a detailed map and an emergency whistle on October 28th.  Two refreshment stations will be set up along the trail.  Upon completion, each participant will be given an event Certificate.

Meet at Wildwood Kiosk at the main entrance, 3995 Line 9, RR#2, St Marys, ON (intersection of HWY 7 & Perth County Road 9 (43.269440, -81.067693) at  8:20 am.  Bring water and lunch.  Wear appropriate footwear for trail hiking or trail running and dress in layers appropriate for the weather.  At a medium hiking pace this should take 6 hours, not counting rest stops.

For more info, please visit: avontrail.ca/event/second-annual-wildwood-challenge-hike/


Private property and the Bruce Trail

By T.S. Giilck

I had a chance to talk last week with the executive director of the Bruce Trail about changes to the walking path in the local region, and she made some points worth reiterating.

In recent weeks, the popular Lloyd Laycock Side Trail between Owen Sound and Meaford has been closed to hikers. Around the same time, the trail around the immensely popular Old Baldy in Kimberly has been re-routed due to a dispute with a landowner.

Also fairly recently, there have been some big changes to the trail around the Bayview Nature Reserve just outside of Meaford as well, due to some requests of the landowner dealing with uncooperative hikers.

These incidents are a pointed reminder of the somewhat unstable, if not precarious, status of the trail, contrary to what many people might think.

As Gilhespy noted, many people have the misconception the Bruce Trail is a publicly-funded operation somehow supported by the government that runs through Crown Land.

That’s not even close to reality. While the Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) in recent years has been purchasing more and more land to provide a permanent trail along what is called the optimum route, the BTC still deals with 900 private landowners to make the trail possible.

Every one of those landowners, can, at any time, pull the plug on their piece of the trail, Gilhepsy noted. That is what keeps the trail in a state of constant flux and heavily dependent on preserving the goodwill of those landowners.

In the case of the Lloyd Laycock Side Trail, which leads to a marvelous miniature gorge and a large crevice cave, the landowner decided rather suddenly he wanted the trail removed.

The spot is a popular route, due to the spectacular topography and its accessibility via a walk of 15 minutes or so, so the closure is going to be a serious disappointment.

Gilhespy was reluctant to go into details of what prompted the dispute due to confidentiality issues, but stressed the BTC had no choice but to close the trail once the landowner communicated his wishes.

She is hoping the further discussions might mean a resumption of the route.

At the Bayview Escarpment location, Gilhespy was able to discuss the issue, which arose from hikers refusing to respect the landowner’s wishes to bar dogs from the trail in the areas where there are livestock.

The landowner had at first asked for all dogs to be leashed, and hikers refused to comply. Next, dogs were banned, and hikers continued to ignore the signage.

Frustrated with the situation, and the lack of respect being shown for property rights, the landowner asked the BTC to to do a wholesale reroute.

At Old Baldy, a dispute between a landowner and a third party sucked the BTC into the argument, and the landowner withdrew permission to use 500 metres of his land.

Not wanting to become involved further, the BTC complied, leaving the two main parties to hash out their difficulties.

Now, the only Bruce Trail access to the outstanding views at Old Baldy are via the valley in Grey Road 13, and a steep climb up the escarpment. At the moment, the popular upper parking lot is off limits for Bruce Trail hiking.

Gilhespy said she’s hopeful that the situation will work itself out before long.

While such disputes haven’t affected the sections of trail running through The Blue Mountains in the last year, it’s a sobering reminder for people using the trail to remember they really are only passing through and need to show the proper amount of respect for the landowners who have graciously permitted their access.

Reprinted with permission from The Thornbury Paper

Read the original article here: www.thornburypaper.ca/11406-2/


Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund

The Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, now in its sixth year, provides up to $25,000 per project to restore and protect the Great Lakes and the rivers and streams that flow into them.

This year’s fund will award $1.5 million in total for eligible projects. The deadline to apply is November 10, 2017.

Since 2012, the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund has awarded $7.5 million to 375 community-based projects, which supported more than 37,000 volunteers to plant over 285,000 trees and shrubs, release over 800,000 fish, create or enhance 760 kilometres of trail and collect over 2,800 bags of garbage.

People in the Great Lakes communities know what should be fixed on the shorelines of their hometowns. That’s why they make for perfect Great Lakes Guardians and why we’re proud to support 375 projects shored up by over 37,000 volunteers.

You too can become a Great Lakes Guardian by applying for a grant. Help us restore, protect, and conserve our Great Lakes to keep them drinkable, swimmable and fishable. Together we can make a real difference in Great Lakes communities across the province.

How to apply:

• Find out how your organization could receive a grant of up to $25,000

• Register and apply through Grants Ontario


Upcoming Training Courses

Did you know you can view all of Hike Ontario’s public training courses on our online Course Calendar? Whether you’re interested in the introductory ‘Safe Hiker Program’, aspire to guide others as a ‘Certified Hike Leader’, or wish to expand your skills to ‘Wilderness Hike Leader’ – we have you covered.

Here are just a few of our upcoming training courses:

• Safe Hiker Program (Oct 22, Oakville)
• Safe Hiker Program (Oct 27, Mount Forest)
• Certified Hike Leader (Oct 29, Oakville)

To register for one of the above or to see all the future training courses that will be offered in the next 3 months, be sure to check out our Course Calendar HERE.


Trail Photo Contest Winner!

Congratulations to @VoxxlifeHPT on Twitter, the winner of our monthly Trail Photo Contest. They submitted this great photo from Hilton Falls Conservation Area in Milton, Ontario. Thank you @VoxxlifeHPT and Happy Trails!

Learn more about Hilton Falls Conservation Area HERE

If you want to submit a photo of your trail adventures, just tweet us @HikeOntario with the image and the hashtag #TakeAHike and you'll qualify to have your hike featured in our Newsletter.