Preparations continue to reopen some trails in the Ganaraska Forest for current paid members with area’s conservation authority on Sept. 30.
The forest — which includes much of Northumberland County and sections of Peterborough County, City of Kawartha Lakes and Durham Region — sustained significant damage following the severe windstorm on May 21.
The storm, known as a derecho, downed trees covering an area of 250 hectares (600 acres), according to the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority which closed all public access to the 4,452-hectare forest (11,000 acres) immediately after the storm.
Officials reported one person was found dead after being struck by a falling tree during the storm.
As of Sept. 30, the GRCA says some “designated trails” will reopen for its members. Motorized access will end on Nov. 30. Certain areas of the East Forest will only allow non-motorized use. A Ganaraska Forest annual membership or day pass has always been required to access the property. A forest user must present a day pass or membership when requested by GRCA staff and enforcement officers.
A map of the designated trails will be available before Sept. 30, the authority said Wednesday.
In mid-July, multiple logging operations (salvage and annual harvest) began throughout the West and Central Forests and will continue into the fall.
“Progress has been made but, out of an abundance of caution, the GRCA feels limiting trail users to members only will allow ongoing efforts to safely continue, while also providing some access to Ganaraska Forest Members,” the authority stated Wednesday.
The conservation authority says trail recovery will continue into the fall months, and additional trails will be opened for use once they are deemed safe by staff.
Ganaraska Forest memberships will be extended as follows:
- Memberships (except for cross-country ski memberships) purchased between June 1, 2021 and May 21, 2022, will receive a 12-month extension from the original membership expiry date.
- Ganaraska Forest cross-country ski memberships that expired during the closure (between May 21, 2022, to the re-opening date) will be given a six-month hiking membership.
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