G2G Trail prepares for summer, IPM - Spring Home and Garden 2017
**To view the 2017 Spring Home and Garden section in its entirety, click here**
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
With plans for the Goderich-to-Guelph (G2G) Rail Trail to serve as a cycling/hiking highway for this year’s International Plowing Match (IPM), work on the trail has ramped up in recent months.
Chris Lee, one of the members of G2G Inc., which is carrying out the work on the trail, said that he hopes the trail will provide IPM-goers with an alternative route to the match this September. With the trail fully accessible for anyone wishing to use it, the Walton match will be the first in history to utilize this kind of option.
Those working to complete the trail have been busy lately, completing three new bridges.
The first bridge will be installed over the Blyth Brook sometime this month. It was co-funded by Huron County, G2G Inc. and Regional Tourism Organization 4 (RTO4).
The Limekiln and Sandhill Line bridge towards Auburn has also been constructed and will be installed sometime this month and the McCall stream bridge, just west of Walton has also been constructed and is ready to be installed in the next few weeks.
The Walton-area bridge, Lee said, is crucial, as it will clear the way for a route directly to the 2017 IPM in Walton.
Other significant ongoing infrastructure projects along the trail include the installation of gates to help control unauthorized access to the trail.
Lee said these gates will ensure that ATV users are not on the trail. It is provincially-mandated that motorized vehicles, such as ATVs, are not permitted on the G2G trail, or any other provincial trail for that matter.
The installation of the gates and continued monitoring of trail use, Lee said, will ensure that the trail remains in a suitable condition for those using the trail.
Further trail improvements were completed at the scheduled spring clean-up on April 22 and then the day dedicated to tree-planting on April 29.
Bridgekeepers, which is the stewardship group for one section of the trail, alongside Trees 4 Woolwich and adjacent landowner Calvin McCandless have all been working together to expand a parking lot along the trail and to plant 150 trees along that portion of the trail in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Work on the trail began several years ago when several local trail enthusiasts began exploring the concept of turning a former railbed into a trail that would stretch from Goderich to Guelph, over 125 kilometres.
Once complete, the trail would be one of the longest in the province. Lee also says that with the extensive work grading and packing the trail, it will be one of the few unpaved trails that’s suitable for most cyclists, not just for those with mountain biking equipment.
Lee says that plenty of work had been done along the trail to clear a wide path for those using the trail, clearing brush and ensuring a uniform width in the trail from end to end.
That extensive clearing, coupled with frequent get-togethers centred around the installation of posts and gates, has brought the trail a long way from where it was when the project first began.
Doug and Lynda Wilson were among the first to walk the trail from end to end. The couple’s exploits have since been recorded in Lynda’s book, Walking Home, which was released last year.
The G2G’s annual Spring on the Trail event is the organization’s next scheduled event, set for Saturday, May 13. It encourages residents to travel the trail and learn a little bit more about it in one of the first weekends expected to be warm enough for comfortable outdoor travel.
For more information on the trail, visit www.g2grailtrail.com.