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Trails in London - Your Guide to London's Best Hiking for Health

Spring is coming.

 

While we are also enjoying the rest of all that the winter season has to offer out on the trails, we wanted to reshare a great article published last year by Dr. Hardick.com about Trails in London - Your Guide to London's Best Hiking for Health.

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Finding new volunteer leaders for TVTA

Are you interested in developing your skills or trying something new? Have you thought about taking on a volunteer position with our Thames Valley Trail Association Board of Directors?

 

By Judy Kwasnica

 

My plan as Past President during 2017 is to help fill vacant Board of Director positions through succession planning and finding new committee volunteers so that our organisation can continue to run smoothly. We're 80% of the way there now, but we do have some immediate portfolios open that we are working through with succession planning. At the same time, we need new volunteers to come forward to tell us if they are interested in joining as a board member, helping in another capacity, or just learning more.

 

Time commitment

Much of our work can be done by email correspondence now. We have defined roles and responsibilities for each director portfolio and other positions.  Three people currently chair the ten monthly board meetings held on Monday nights.  All members are invited to observe at these meetings if you would like to come out to get a sense of who we are and what we do.

 

We have also identified some jobs and duties available below to if you aren’t ready to commit to becoming a Board member just yet. This will not only assist the TVTA Board to continue to develop and meet the needs of the association but give you a chance to get involved with no set commitment other than the particular task at hand.  

 

Board positions also come with training and transitional information sharing from the

previous person who held the position. What a great opportunity for people to learn something new, share expertise or take on a leadership role!

 

It's important for TVTA to plan and prepare for succession planning so that the work of our volunteer board members, liaison, hike leader or other, continues to help our organisation to thrive.

 

What are your interests?

Let us know if you are interested in any of the following volunteer Board positions or jobs with TVTA.

Current open Board positions:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Trail Development Director
  • Trail Captains and Trail Maintenance Workers

 

Possible TVTA Volunteer Jobs - 2017

  • Assist with our upcoming June picnic – ticket sales, supplies, setting up, BBQ lunch
  • Assist with Public Relations – we always need help with our Twitter, email newsletters, blogging and more!
  • Help to assist with our Trails Open event in April
  • Help us apply for awards
  • Volunteers are needed to help with our AGM to be held on Thursday, November 7 at the Riverside United Church.
  • Join our Constitution Committee
  • Represent TVTA at the London Environmental Committee meetings (4 times per year plus attend a free workshop)
  • Trekker Newsletter – seek advertisers, proofread, and help us drop off newsletters to Canada Post
  • Pick up and help distribute mail from Grosvenor Lodge (once per week)

 

Contact Judy Kwasnica (kwasnica@sympatico.ca) or our webpage www.tvta.ca to learn how you can get involved.

 


About Judy Kwasnica, past president, TVTAPictured: Judy Kwasnica, past president, TVTA

 

Judy has served on the TVTA Board for five years and has been a member since 2008 when she first began hiking with the group and then helping to lead Tuesday Rambler Hikes. She is an active and avid hiker. Her favourite TVTA trail hike is Komoka Park.

 

Judy has also helped to update and distribute TVTA Guidebooks and became a Certified Hike Leader in 2011.

 

She is a retired elementary school teacher (since June 2008) and enjoys the outdoors and nature.

 

She encourages everyone to come out to the TVTA AGM meeting to hear about the club's accomplishments and contact her if you are interested in getting involved by emailing kwasnica@sympatico.ca.

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Suggestions to reduce TVTA's Overall Footprint - by Teresa Rutten

 

1. Offer ONE monthly hike in 3-4 neighbourhoods, where the expectation was for people to walk or cycle to the hike destination.

We have several members that actively pursue long hikes (Camino, etc.) and cycle long distances outside of TVTA events.

 

London, has been actively attempting to strengthen neighbourhoods and invested heavily in developing trail systems adjacent to neighbourhoods.  We could start within neighbourhoods that have the highest membership and availability of leaders. 

 

TVTA offers numerous options to hike. Splitting the groups up once a month, does not significantly reduce hiking options and has the potential of acquainting ourselves with our neighbours.

 

Social media, the Urban League, London Environmental Network, various local media and the city - would have a strong interest in RECOGNIZING & SUPPORTING such an endeavor.

 

The TVTA is a member of the London Environmental Network - what is our focus?

 

Congestion in London in an ongoing problem.

 

If we set a specific day of the month and time - coordination would be easy. i.e. The first Sat., or Sun. of each month beginning at 10 am so as to give people time to reach the hike destination.

 

I would be willing to lead either Sat. or Sun. from Thames Park.

 

2.  Either have reusable (dishes, utensils) on hand OR habitually have members BYO reusables (food container, plate, cup, bottle & utensils - tupperware works well!

 

WHY? 

  • This would empower individuals to habitually reduce their waste.
  • Place pressure on businesses to incorporate the PLANET, people and profit within their business plans.
  • Offer inspiration to others!
  • Normalize aiming for ZERO waste.   Waste and recycling contribute pollution and green house gases during every step of their life cycle. As well as uses non-renewable resources throughout the life cycle of each product.  Conflict over resources will escalate given rising population and poverty rates. Waste, recylcable, and litter do not add value. If we developed a contagion in this area, how many value items could London target as a result of the savings?

 

3. Source local, organic, seasonal, non-packaged produce for our TVTA functions, as this has a lower footprint.  We have lots of creativity within the TVTA membership. This could be a fun challenge.  Suggestion: Hire a member or a local business to provide this service, as they would be able to reuse containers. 

4. Have individual hikers bring a plastic bag, so as to pick up small items of garbage along the hikes.

5. Other?
 

Most IMPORTANTLY! It is my hope for TVTA to adopt these suggestions as POLICY.  I believe, TVTA would be commended for taking the lead and inspiring other groups within the London Environmental Network to replicate some of our efforts. As well as encourage OTHER LEN groups to provide additional creative ACTION oriented initiatives.

 

These suggestions would take very little effort, and over time would become second nature.

 

Your feedback would be appreciated.  I am not techno savvy, yet made an attempt at the following short survey. Hopefully - it works.

 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y3DQQRK

Reducing TVTA's Overall Environmental Footprint Survey
www.surveymonkey.com

Thanks for your time, attention and consideration.

 

Teresa

 

 

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Get Out and Enjoy the Warm Weather! (But watch for ticks!)

The warm weather is finally upon us! That means more time outside, hopefully more time to be outside, and the lush, beautiful foliage all along the Thames Valley Trail.  But where there is foliage, especially tall grasses, the season also means we must watch for ticks!

 

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation's website has loads of information about ticks, lyme disease prevention, and diagnosis.  For example, did you know it's a myth that lyme disease always presents with a rash?  

 

According to the Foundation, here are 5 Tick Habitat Precautions:

 
  1. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting inside your pants.

  2. Check your clothes for ticks often. Ticks will climb upwards until they find an area of exposed skin.

  3. Wear light coloured clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.

  4. Walk on pathways or trails when possible staying in the middle. Avoid low-lying brush or long grass.

  5. Apply insect repellent to your skin and clothing, especially at the openings such as ankle, wrist and neck.

Check out the website for more information (click the green text above!).  You can even order a Tick Removal Kit, just in case.​

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Be a Hike Leader!

It’s often been said that enjoying a hike is increased by the presence of a leader. Not just someone who knows the way, but someone who applies safety, best practices, fun, local knowledge and the ability to work with his or her group to make a successful outing.


Certified Hike Leader (CHL) is Hike Ontario's certificate course for day hiking that is used by community colleges, universities, hiking clubs and outdoor training organizations. Participants will learn skills to be a confident hike leaders that ensure a safe, environmentally responsible and enjoyable hike for all participants. The certification issued to successful participants is a sanctioned standard and will assist candidates in leading club hikes in addition to finding employment and volunteer opportunities.

 

The Safe Hiker Course is the prerequisite for the Certified Hike Leader Course unless exempted by demonstrated previous experience (a minimum of 5 day hikes within the last year and a reference/recommendation from a recognized authority). Verification of prerequisite is required prior to the course date.


Current First Aid and CPR are recommended.
 

Register at: http://hikeontario.com/services/training/course-calendar/ 

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Experience of Hiking the TVTA Trail through the Delaware - Miller Road to Gideon Drive section

The Exploration Project blog has a new post about hiking a section of the TVTA. Read all about it on their Documenting Journeys blog

Have a look through Heather's other posts about hiking in Ontario

 

Want to share your own experience? Be a guest blogger and share your thoughts, knowledge, photos and more, especially if its about being on the TVTA trail! Contact d@daniellegrandine.com.

 

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Bill 100 Supporting Ontario's Trails Act, 2016

If you’ve been out hiking the Thames Valley Trail recently, you may have come across signage about closure of trail section(s) like the picture (right). Some landowners have placed signage as a result of concerns about easements in Bill 100, Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, currently being debated by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

 
The TVTA continues to build relationships with local landowners, and is supporting the work of Hike Ontario to resolve their concerns. We are also sharing information to help correct some of the misinformation about easements in Bill 100 that has been published in news media articles. Tom Friesen, President of Hike Ontario, submitted a letter to the Ontario Farmer to help address some of the confusion about easements in Bill 100. With his permission, we are providing his letter below for your information. As this issue develops, the TVTA will continue to keep members informed.

Tom Friesen

MISINFORMATION ABOUT EASEMENTS – by Tom Friesen

Erroneous information about two Bills that are before the Ontario Legislature has been recently circulated to various media (including the Ontario Farmer weekly newspaper) by the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA), a group committed to the cause of property rights in rural areas. This misinformation, if not corrected, stands as a threat to all types of trails on private land throughout Ontario.

 

In spring 2015, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Coteau, put an Ontario Trails Act out for review. An internet search for “Bill 100 Ontario” will bring up the text of the proposed Act.  Section 12 of the Act (Easements) would provide a new ability for landowners and incorporated trail groups to voluntarily enter into easements to secure the route of the trail. Section 12(3) entitled “Granting of Easements” states “An owner of land may grant an easement….”, clearly indicating a voluntary choice on the part of the owner. The OLA misrepresentation is that with the passage of the legislation, the Government would force easements onto all owners with existing footpaths and snowmobile trails.  This misrepresentation has already resulted in the closure of 10 snowmobile trails in Muskoka and threats of closure to long standing portions of the Thames Valley Trail.

 

In response to concerns raised by the Ontario Trails Council (OTC), Minister Coteau issued a statement (attached) on Feb. 10 on easements that makes quite clear the voluntary nature of this provision in his Ministry’s proposed Bill 100. 

 

The OTC issued a detailed press release which can be seen on their website, which also makes it plain that any easements under the legislation would be entirely a landowner’s decision.

 

Secondarily, an Opposition MPP had introduced a private members’ Bill 118 that clarifies an existing right of the public to walk below the high water mark on most shores of the Great Lakes and their “connecting channels” such as the Detroit River. On Jan. 1, the OLA’s website erred and misrepresented this term to mean that the Government would give the public the right to walk inland along the length of every single watercourse draining into the Great Lakes. (Incidentally, private members’ bills are rarely supported in the Legislature by the Government and instead die on the “order paper.”)

 

I have tremendous respect for the generosity of rural land owners who allow our trails to cross their property. I can understand their mistrust of the provincial government when the farm subsidy on diesel fuel is removed, wind farms are erected over local objections and policies seem to be directed to satisfy urban areas.

 

Trail associations whose existence are dependent on the generosity of farmers and other rural users, insure the trails to protect the owners, close the trails one day a year to maintain farmers’ property rights and inspect and maintain them for the best experience of the users. The truth about trails is that they actually enhance the property value of lands they exist on. They also enhance the quality of life for all Ontarians. 

 

We need to clearly refute the misinformation, communicate clearly and often with landowners and stand beside them to advocate for their rights. Hike Ontario asked for a tax credit to recognize their ongoing gift of the free use of their property to the people of Ontario. I believe that goal should be re-emphasized to correct the damage recently done and reverse the loss of private land for trails.

 

Related information:

Lot's of opinion here. Landowners were involved. It was a public process. I'm a landowner, our President and other...

Posted by Ontario Trails on Tuesday, March 1, 2016
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Members Only - Columbia Winter Clearance Sale Event!

Being a TVTA Member sometimes (often!) has its perks!

 

From Friday, February 26th until Sunday, March 6th, Columbia stores will be having a special promotion eligible to our membership!  Log in to the Member's Section of the site and scroll to just below the Welcome Message for a link to details and the coupon!

 

Happy Hiking!

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Upcoming Events with MEC

MEC London organizes a variety of events and courses 

throughout the year that may be of interest to us outdoorsy folk. Alethia Hazaras, Outreach and Learning Coordinator at MEC, has been kind enough to share a schedule of those events.

 

RACE SERIES 2016 |  $15.00 online registration 

day of registration varies depending on course length

  • MARCH 12 - MEC London Race ONE - 5k/10k/15k Road, Springbank Park
  • APRIL 16 - MEC London Race  TWO - 5k/10k/15k Road, 6k/12k Trail, Stoney Brook Area
  • MAY 28 - MEC London Race THREE - 5k/10k/Half & Full Marathon Road, Pottersburg Park, $20 for HM - $25 for FULL
  • JULY 10 - MEC Century Ride – 60k/100k/160k, Toboggan Brewery
  • SEPTEMBER 10 - MEC London Race FOUR - 5k/10k/15k Road, 6k/12k/Half Marathon Trail, Fanshawe Conservation Area - $20 for HM
  • OCTOBER  22 - MEC London Race FIVE - 5k/10k/15k Road, 5k/10k Trail, Gibbons Park

 

BACKCOUNTRY 101 SPRING SCHEDULE | Saturdays 11am-12pm

  • Saturday Feb 20th – Dressing for cold weather
  • Saturday Feb 27th – Snowshoe 101
  • Saturday March 5th – Backcountry Navigation
  • Saturday March 19th – Hiking & How to Pack a Pack
  • Saturday  March 26th – Know the Stove
  • Saturday  April 2nd – Succeeding at the Camino
  • Saturday  April 9th – Intro to Digital Navigation
  • Saturday  April 23rd – Overnight Canoe Trip
  • Saturday  April 30th – Hiking & How to Pack a Pack
  • Saturday  May 7th – Learn to Camp (Car Camping)
  • Saturday  May 14th – Know the Stove
  • Saturday  May 21st – Intro to Digital Navigation
  • Saturday  June 4th – Succeeding at the Camino
  • Saturday  June 11th – Hiking & How to Pack a Pack
  • Saturday  June 18th – Learn to Camp (Car Camping)
  • Saturday  June 25th – Overnight Canoe Trip

 

BIKE MAINTENANCE 101 SCHEDULE | $10.00 Thurs 7-8pm  &  Sat 10-11am
BIKE MAINTENANCE 201 SCHEDULE | $20.00 Saturdays 11am-12pm

 

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Welcome to the Thames Valley Trail Association's new Website!

Ready to lace up your hiking boots and explore local trails? The Thames Valley Trail Association (TVTA) is making it easier for you and your family.

 

For those that crave fresh air and nature, there’s nothing like hitting the trails. While hiking and computers seem like they are unrelated, the internet can easily

 connect us to get in touch with nature. It all begins with the click of a button or tap of your screen to check out Thames Valley Trail Association’s new website – www.TVTA.ca.

 

Plug in to get out

As a volunteer-led charitable organization, the TVTA is fortunate to have a strong and growing membership. As membership increases, so does the need to better serve members’ needs including access to news and schedules for a variety of activities, hiking resources, convenient membership renewal, and more. This site also enables sharing through social media and a blog, offering a fully mobile responsive experience for those using a smart phone or tablet device.

 

Since the TVTA offers new and seasoned hikers or walkers over 300 activities every year, this enhanced website has been a much anticipated and needed resource. This empowers the association to keep supporting the development of, and encouraging use of walking trails within the Thames River Valley area.

 

We can all see the hard work and dedication that volunteers and partners have put into planning and constructing this website. Thank you to those who have helped build and launch the site. Check out the schedule of activities, learn about the trail, submit your photos or summary of a hike experience, and get involved – come hike and walk with us!

 

We’ll see you out on the trail.

 

 -- Danielle Bruce, Volunteer

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