Mindemoya trails open to the public

Matthew Bedard, a member of the Manitoulin Special Olympics (MSO) team, is shown snowshoeing on one of the newly opened MSO trails last winter.

MINDEMOYA—Over the last year, Manitoulin Special Olympics (MSO) partnered with Community Living Manitoulin (CLM) to extend and improve the trail system through the maple bush on CLM and adjacent landowner’s properties. With the support of CLM, Charles Love and John and Cheryl Seabrook (who provided additional land to use) the group developed a marked trail system for walking, snowshoeing and skiing.

“This trail has been a gradual process,” said Judy Olacke, a coach with MSO. She pointed out the trails were opened very recently. “It is a really special place right in the middle of Mindemoya, so it makes it easy for people to access and use.” 

MSO uses the trails for its snowshoe and Nordic ski athlete training. Community Living individuals also use the trails for various activities. “This is a shared trail. In the winter, volunteers groom to accommodate one side of the trail for classic skiing and the other half is for snowshoeing,” Ms. Olacke said in a release.

All this work was made possible with the support from TD Friends of the Environment and several local businesses and organizations; Cranston Tree Service, H & R Noble Construction, DA Williamson and Sons Hardware, Taylor Sawmill, Central Manitoulin Lions Club and the Providence Bay-Spring Bay Lions Club.

“Now the trails can be used by the general public,” the release notes. “Our group formed the Maple Ridge Trail Club and affiliated with Cross Country (Ski) Canada, which has important insurance coverage for the property owners and club members. A yearly single membership costs $30 and a group membership costs $38. These prices include the $18 that goes to Cross Country Canada and Cross Country Ski Ontario for insurance reasons.”

It is also explained that all members under one group membership can use the trails by signing in at the trailhead (i.e. family, school group, health programs group, hotel customers, etc.). If someone just wants to use the trail on a daily basis there is a day use fee of $2 per child, $5 for an adult or $10 for a family. The Maple Ridge Trail Club has kept costs low to encourage active outdoor use. Due to insurance restrictions, no biking by the public is allowed. A convenient and easy way to join the club can be done on-line at zone4.ca. One just needs to type in “Maple Ridge Trail Club” and follow the steps.

“The Mindemoya trails begin in an open field at the old ‘Hope Farm’ property of CLM (at the new CLM administration office),” the release explains. “The trailhead box offers a trail map and sign-in sheet. The start has a gentle climb through maple forest onto a limestone ridge. There are views overlooking parts of Mindemoya and opportunities to see wildlife. Along the trails you can spot fossils, huge boulders (glacial erratics) and, for the little ones, fairy homes. There is a paved portion of one of the trials that takes you to a picnic area; ideal for persons with mobility issues. Over time, the club will be adding more interpretive spots/signs to heighten user enjoyment of the area.”

“The trail system includes four well marked trails with mild elevation changes, making the system safe for family and senior users,” the release continues. “The main trail loop from the parking area and back is 1.5 kilometres long but greater distances are possible with additional two kilometre and 0.5 kilometre loops.”

“The primary goal of our group has been to enhance the opportunities to walk/ski/snowshoe within the heart of Mindemoya,” the release notes. “We have tried to develop safe, easy to follow trails of varying lengths. Our hope is that users will have a quality trail experience that fosters an appreciation of the maple forest around them and have fun being active outside so they return to the trails frequently.”