Winter is Here!

THIS ISSUE: We share news on the recent "ICEtravaganza" in Niagara-on-the-Lake, officially announce the MoodWalks III Initiative and provide details of two exciting events by the Maitland Trail Association and The Avon Trail. Also included is an extremely insightful article titled "Winter and Ticks", new information about an upcoming Certified Hike Leader training course in Elmira, and a very special Thank You from Hike Ontario to all its great volunteers!

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



Fort George, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Throughout the year 2017, Parks Canada celebrated the country’s 150 year of confederation. On December 30th, they organized a day long ICEtravaganza wrap-up party at the Fort George National Historic Site. It was a full day event packed with lots of fun activities including lumberjack show, rail and wagon rides for tours around the fort, outdoor skating rink, interactive games, the Franklin Expedition travelling exhibit, a virtual reality experience featuring La Mauricie National Park, and full soldier period dress.

Throughout the cold day, fire-pits around the agora and heritage hot chocolate added some warmth to the weather. As an added feature, Trans Canada Trail Ontario (TCTO) celebrated Canada’s 150 year of confederation through their “Heritage 150+ Time Capsule Project”. In partnership with Parks Canada, TCTO placed a Time Capsule, which will be buried for 50 years, by the Agora at the Fort, next to where the Trans Canada Trail runs through. At the ICEtravaganza party, there was a ceremony for this project and materials were added to the Time Capsule by Chris Bittle, Member Parliament for St. Catherines, Pat Darte, Lord Mayor of Niagra on the Lake, Louis Lavoie, Field Unit Superintendent, Southwestern Ontario for Parks Canada, Mike Bender, Chair of TCTO, Tom Freisen, President of Hike Ontario and youth from the local community. The Chair of TCTO also added a letter from Her Honour, Elizabeth Doweswell, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. The public were invited to come back to the site again and again over the next 50 years until in 2067 when this Time Capsule will be opened to celebrate Canada’s Bicentennial celebration of the confederation.


Maitland Trail Candlelit Walk

Friday, February 2, 2018

6:30pm – 7:00pm: Lantern Set Up
7:30pm – 8:30pm (trail closes at 9 pm): The Candlelit Walk
Columbus Centre parking lot (Parson’s Court), Goderich
To volunteer, contact: Con Melady (519-524-8730)

A 1 ½ km portion of the trail in the Maitland Woods will be transformed by the flickering beauty of candlelight. After the walk, come in to enjoy a hot drink and snack (coin donation). The Maitland Trail Association organizes this annual event as part of the Town of Goderich’s Winterfest, and it is always a magical adventure. Participants can set out from the trail entrance at the east end of the Columbus Centre parking lot (Parson’s Court) anytime between 7:30 and 8:30 pm – trail closes at 9:00 – trail surface and boardwalk conditions vary according to snow or ice accumulations. Everyone who has their own candle lanterns (home-made or bought) is encouraged to bring them and set them out somewhere along the trail, to add to the magic of the experience. Again, THIS YEAR- A procession of lanterns will begin from the hall at 7 pm. Arrive at 6:30 to assemble in the cloak room at Columbus Centre hall. Volunteers are welcome. Call Con Melady at 524-8730 if willing to help light the trail, coordinate lantern procession or assist with serving refreshments.


Avon Trail Winter Social

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Club members are invited to come and participate in this “Show & Tell” fun-filled evening.  Bring a special object and tell about it, Tell a special story, Perform a musical number, do a Recitation…whatever you’re excited about and want to share. Suggested maximum time: 5 minutes per presentation. Refreshments will follow. Submit your proposed item to Dennis, denrawe@cyg.net by Thursday, Feb. 1. 


MoodWalks III

Coming soon...

Mood Walks is a province-wide initiative that promotes physical activity in nature, or “green exercise,” as a way to improve both physical and mental health. Led by the Canadian Mental Health Association (Ontario), in partnership with Hike Ontario and Conservation Ontario, Mood Walks provides training and support for community mental health agencies, social service organizations and other community partners to launch educational hiking programs, connect with local resources, find volunteers, and explore nearby trails and green spaces.

Learn more at: moodwalks.ca


Winter and Ticks

Ticks do not die off during the Winter months

However, adult deer ticks (black-legged ticks) remain active year round.

There are four stages in the life cycle of ticks: egg, larvae (smaller than a period), nymph (size of a pinhead), and adult. Females can lay around 3,000 eggs. It takes two years for them to develop into adults, and except for the egg stage, each stage requires a blood meal before it can molt into the next one.

To survive the cold and snow, most ticks find shelter in leaf litter and are dormant until spring. However, adult deer ticks (black-legged ticks) remain active year round. You or your pet could pick up a hitchhiker anytime the air temperature is close to freezing or above and the ground isn’t frozen or snow covered. In freezing weather, deer ticks hunker down under the snow in leaf litter, on firewood or a tree trunk, and come out during warm spells. If you find a tick inside during the winter, it probably hitched a ride on firewood.

An unusually cold winter most likely won’t kill off a substantial number of ticks since most species are dormant. A milder winter won’t create a larger tick population, but it can change the normal behavior of deer ticks that are active and looking for a host whenever the temperature rises above 32 degrees. Ticks found in winter and early spring were born the previous year. Nymphs are dormant during the winter months and become active in the spring. Adult females also lay their eggs in the spring.

During a warmer spring, it’s possible for them to hatch a week or so earlier. However, the key to tick population is how many survive, which is dependent on the relative humidity and weather for the next few months. A humid spring has the potential to create a tick outbreak in early summer instead of late summer because it gives newly hatched eggs a greater chance of surviving – increasing the tick population. A dry, cooler spring could kill some of the larvae off before they find a host.

Another factor in tick population is the number of mice and deer from the previous summer, because both are favorite hosts for ticks at each stage. Larger populations of mice and deer mean more hosts. Ticks will also find a blood meal on birds, other animals and humans.

Climate change can have an impact on tick populations in certain regions of the US, by speeding up and extending their developmental cycle, causing an increase in eggs which increases the tick population. More ticks put us and our pets at greater risk of tick borne diseases, especially Lyme disease.

Ticks can’t fly or jump, and don’t drop down on a host from trees. They climb up on fence posts or vegetation and wait patiently to hitch a ride on an unsuspecting human or animal passing by. Flea and tick prevention products are effective at keeping both off your pet, but make sure you use the proper product for your pet. Never put a flea and tick product made for dogs on cats, and never use an insecticide spray meant for use on humans or clothing on dogs or cats.

The best and safest way to remove a tick is with tweezers.Grab it as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull straight back. If you pull off the head don’t panic. Once the tick is removed it can’t continue to transmit pathogens and the bite wound should heal on its own. Don’t toss the tick down the toilet or sink; that won’t kill it and it could crawl back out. After it’s been removed, kill the tick by putting it in rubbing alcohol. Forget the old wives’ tales (a hot match, petroleum jelly, baby oil, nail polish etc.) on how to remove a tick. They don’t work - and could harm your pet.

Watch your pet for any adverse reactions like vomiting, weakness, rapid heart rate or excessive drooling.

For more information, please go to: https://www.canidae.com/blog/2015/06/how-weather-plays-a-role-in-tick-outbreaks/


Upcoming Training Course

A Certified Hike Leader training course taking place Saturday, March 17, 2018 in Elmira.

GVTA Members Price: FREE! (Check with club rep for EXCLUSIVE discount code)

For full details or to register, please go HERE.

To see all the future training courses that will be offered in the following months, be sure to check out our COURSE CALENDAR.


Hike Ontario would like to thank all those who tirelessly volunteer their time to support our mission of promoting hiking and trail development throughout this beautiful province!