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Hikers urged to stay away from the Bruce Trail until further notice

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March 29, 2020 – On Friday morning members of the Bruce Trail Conservancy received an email from CEO Michael McDonald CEO requesting that walkers and hikers stay off the Bruce Trail for the time being.

“We didn’t think we’d ever be encouraging people to stay off the Bruce Trail, but unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures,” said McDonald. “For the safety of our communities, and to assist the province with its efforts to keep our communities safe as the COVID-19 pandemic quickly evolves, I have an important request:

“Please postpone your use of the Bruce Trail for walks or hikes until further notice, to minimize the spread or contraction of COVID-19,” says McDonald.

“We realize that we cannot close-off the Bruce Trail. We cannot bar access to all trailheads nor enforce closures. We can and do, however, urge everyone to please stay away from the Bruce Trail until further notice,” the statement reads.

The official announcement comes on the heals of reports from a very busy Sunday on Halton trails through conservation areas. With city parks closed, residents have been taking to the woods to get some exercise outdoors as advised by public health officials, but the problem is when so many people take to the trails it is a challenge to practice self distancing, especially where trails narrow.

The statement confirms that many parks, conservation areas, municipalities and other landowners along the Bruce Trail have already made the difficult decision to close their facilities and access to trails. In these areas, hikers should consider the Bruce Trail closed. We support these organizations and landowners in their closures to halt the spread of the virus.

McDonald continues by saying, “Many popular areas have seen increased crowding in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. And even beyond these areas, travelling to and on the Trail puts local communities, hikers, and our health system at risk.”

As McDonald says the trails for a lot of people are an escape from this stressful time and it is heartbreaking for the CEO of the Bruce Trail Conservancy to be dissuading people from exploring their incredible 900 kilometre footpath.

“I know this is hard. For many of us, the Bruce Trail is an escape from the stresses of difficult times. We know hiking is good for our overall physical and mental health. It is heartbreaking to dissuade people from using our wonderful footpath, but it is absolutely crucial that we all do what we can to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

“Our public health officials have sent us a clear message; stay home, and stay safe,” says McDonald.

Although our Bruce Trail Conservancy office is closed, their staff are working remotely and will continue to be available by email and phone. Their main contact is: info@brucetrail.org or 1-800-665-4453.

For any questions or more information about the Bruce Trail Conservancy, getting involved or becoming a member, visit brucetrail.org

Visit here for Bruce Trail COVID-19 updates.

For hiking advice during COVID-19 pandemic visit here.

story by Terry Lankstead

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