|Bruce Trail Conservancy Chief Executive Officer Michael McDonald is urging people not to use its trails during the novel coronavirus pandemic.In a statement on the conservancy’s website posted March 27, McDonald asked individuals to postpone any walks or hikes on the popular trail system to minimize the spread of the virus.
“We realize that we cannot close-off the Bruce Trail, ” he states. “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.”
He said travelling along the trail puts local communities and other hikers at risk.
The main trail is about 900 kilometres that stretches from Niagara River to the tip of Tobermory. There are also over 400 kilometres of associated side trails that predominately follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, one of the 13 UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in Canada.
The land is owned by Ontario, local conservation authorities, private landowners and the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
The Bruce Trail Conservancy office is closed, but staff is working remotely and still available by phone or email at 1-800-665-4453, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conservancy’s decision comes after the Hamilton Conservative Authority closed its conservation lands and parking lots to the public. The city has threatened trespassing charges if people are found on the land. The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority also closed its conservation areas March 26 to public use, including walking, hiking and birdwatching. It had originally allowed passive uses but closed all of its buildings.
Authority officials stated the decision was made in collaboration with municipal officials and public health staff.
Hamilton has also closed Albion Falls and the parking lot to the public to prevent public gatherings.