Newsletter February 2012

Trail Talk

The Norfolk County Trails Advisory Committee was established in 2010 as an Advisory Committee to Council to provide advice and recommendations on the development and operations of trails throughout Norfolk County.

The committee is comprised of 11 members from various trail organizations, including two community members-at-large appointed by Council, all of whom either reside or own property in Norfolk County. The members are appointed for a two year term with no member holding a position for more than two consecutive terms. The Community Services Department has provided staff members to support the Committee and for coordinating input from other departments and/or agencies that have interest in Norfolk County trails or trails on other lands.

The key components and roles of the Committee are to:

  1. Provide assistance to the County in the planning and development of trails including the prioritization of various recommendations of the 2009 Trails Master Plan
  2. Coordinate volunteer trail maintenance efforts
  3. Develop or adopt a trails permitting system
  4. Assist in monitoring trail issues and conditions
  5. Liaise with the County on trail development/management/promotion
  6. Assist in securing funding for special trails project and capital development
  7. Assist in the development/operation of a monitoring and enforcement program
  8. Undertake a public education outreach program on trail etiquette and trail rules and regulations
  9. Develop a process and provide a forum to assist Norfolk County in building a consensus and resolving conflicts related to trail development and use.

Submitted by: Gordon Mason

Winter Trails

Whether travelling Norfolk trails wearing winter boots, snowshoes or skis, take time to enjoy the surroundings and what has been happening on or near the trail. Are there any tracks such as weasels, otters, possums, dogs, cats, turkeys, squirrels, coyotes, deer or other animals? Are there wing marks where an owl or hawk has touched down to catch a mole or mouse scurrying under the snow?

Are there tree seeds such as tulip, ash, maple, or basswood lying on the snow blown down in the last wind storm? Are the oak or chestnut copper leaves still hanging on the branches and the green of hemlock, white pine, spruce, and cedar dusted with fresh snow? What berries are still hanging on such as rose hips, bittersweet, mountain ash, viburnum or juniper?

What birds stay for the winter such as noisy blue jays, colourful cardinals, vocal chickadees, finches, owls, silent observer hawks or the “tap tap tap” of a striking red, black and white woodpecker? Look and listen. You may be surprised how much is happening in that soft, still, silent, wintery wonderland.

Here’s a website featuring animal tracks: wild wood tracking

Turkey Point Mountain Biking Club

The Turkey Point Mountain Biking Club [TPMBC] has had a successful first year with a membership of 57 active riders. The Club hosts group rides on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings on our trails in the Turkey Point area. The Club is a member in good standing with the IMBA [International Mountain Bike Assn.]

Last fall, 22 members participated in a trail day seminar to learn best practices when cleaning and maintaining our trails to prevent erosion and lessen environmental impact, as well as making the trails safe for all. TPMBC maintains 20 trails over 47 kilometres and each trail has been adopted by a member to look after.

The Club has successfully reached working agreements with property owners: Ministry of Natural Resources and Turkey Point Provincial Park. The Club is also cooperating with the St. Williams Conservation Reserve Community Council to create 3.5 kms of interpretive hiking trails in our trail network. We hope to continue our success in 2012!

Check out our website!

TPMBC Applying for Trillium Grant!

The Club is applying for an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant with expectations of improving and enhancing the trail experience on Turkey Point trails. There are two primary objectives for the Club.

  1. Signage – the club hopes to erect 12 map signs throughout the trail network to encourage more people to use the system. With 47 kms of trails, many users are hesitant and afraid of getting lost in an area of roughly
    800 acres. We want to draw different users such as hikers, birders, joggers and geocachers to the trails.
  2. Improved Bridges – currently our bridges across Gibson Creek are not safe or up to code. Bridges with hand railings and proper engineering will provide a safer experience for trail users. The bridges are important to keep our environmental footprint to a minimum.

Submitted by: Rob Luke

Waterford Heritage Trail

A crown jewel awaits you. The Waterford Heritage Trail is bursting to let people know they can safely use the Black Bridge. The panoramic views from our three outlooks offer some of the best views in Norfolk County if not south-western Ontario. We envision the bridge as a focal point for hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, geocaching and wedding photos. We’re even contemplating a half-marathon from the Black Bridge to Port Dover.

While enjoying the lookouts it will be easy to imagine a future paved trail into downtown Waterford, two spanning bridges joining our existing trail to Brantford and beyond, parkland with Carolinian species, canoe-kayak launches, fishing access points, parking lots and a stairway on the south side of the bridge joining the upper to the lower levels. Our Waterford Rail Lands Redevelopment Committee has no end of ideas including a downtown covered bridge.

The best access to our bridge is by parking at the west end of Nichol Street. Don’t let our soon to be improved parking lot discourage you because, after a short walk, there will be right-to-the-horizon vistas. The bridge, once only crossed by a daring few, now has sturdy railings and a decked platform to offer comforting safety. While on the bridge, be sure to look for our resident beaver that has been contracted to remove poplar trees.

Until recently, our gem was only a dream. A fortunate chain of events has benefited our small trail group and rewarded its hard work. We’re looking to expand, to share our new vision and hopefully get you involved.

Come join us soon and be sure to bring your friends and their cameras.

Submitted by: Frank Woodcock

Norfolk Pathways for People Members •

  • Joyce Flexman, Chairperson
  • Donna McMillan, Port Dover Enhancement Association
  • Gord Mason, Trail Advisory Committee
  • Al Ladd, Community member
  • Ruth Loughton, Community member
  • Anne Wynia, Community member
  • Rob Luke, Lynn Valley Trail
  • Sam Menhinick, Community member
  • Janice Robertson, Long Point Region Conservation Authority
  • Ingrid Zyma-Irvin, Norfolk County Community Services Dept. 519-426-8866 Ext. 2303
  • Bruce Robinson, Community member
  • Steve Weinstein, Delhi Rail Trail
  • Frank Woodcock, Waterford Heritage Trail
  • Michele Crowley, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit 519-426-6170 Ext. 3239

Lynn Valley Trail Association

We’re already well into 2012 and have yet to see much of Old Man Winter. We would actually like to see a real ‘freeze up’ to allow us to get on with some of our trail maintenance.
Our Annual General Meeting was held this past November in Simcoe with 35 people in attendance to hear Scott Gillies, Curator at the Eva Brook Donly Museum, provide a history of Norfolk County railways. The final freight train ran between Simcoe and Port Dover in 1962 leaving us the scenic Lynn Valley Trail corridor which 30 years later developed into the trail as we know it today.

The trail executive and directors thank outgoing director Bob Borthwick for his ten years of service to the trail. We also welcome a new director, Steve Tomajko, from Simcoe.

This past fall several tasks were completed. This included screenings in low/wet spots, fallen tree removals, planting some pagoda dogwoods and removal of invasive species (American buckthorn). As mentioned earlier, some winter weather will allow trail clearing of small shrubs and brush which are infringing on pathway width. A bush hog will be brought in to complete this. The job will require some short term trail closures for safe completion of this task, probably in late February.

We appreciate the letter in the Port Dover Maple Leaf, by Ken MacKay, asking everyone to help keep the trail clean. Thanks to everyone who helps keep our trail in good shape for all users to enjoy.

Submitted by Paul Beischlag

Norfolk Field Naturalists’ 50th Anniversary

The Norfolk Field Naturalists [NFN] was founded in 1962 by a group of concerned naturalists and conservationists, including well known Norfolk residents Harry B. Barrett and Monroe Landon. The NFN took on the role of educating  the public in all aspects of flora and fauna in Haldimand and Norfolk through educational monthly meetings and field trips.

The NFN was already respected  for its professionalism and integrity and recognized that the global aspects of environmental issues must be understood and addressed. Therefore it would be necessary to continually update ourselves and use persuasion to convince politicians and the public. Mankind is an integral part of our natural world and must not exploit our natural resources by using more than is necessary.

In 1987, the NFN hosted the 50th Annual Conference of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, now known as Ontario Nature. At the conference, it was noted by the president that on July 10, 1896 the Simcoe Reformer reported “work has commenced on the bicycle path from Simcoe to Port Dover“. And nearly 100 years after that news report, the Lynn Valley Trail was established in 1993. Trail development has continued and we now have the Delhi Rail Trail, the Rotary Sunrise Trail, and the Waterford Heritage Trail connecting Norfolk to Brant County and the Trans Canada Trail as well as many rural walking and bicycling trails. On all the trails we must enjoy, preserve and protect nature. Leave only footprints and take only pictures.

Happy 50th anniversary to the Norfolk Field Naturalists! Visit for special events planned for 2012.

Submitted by: Anne Wynia

2012 Slate of Officers

  • President: Paul Beischlag • 519-426-8591
  • Treasurer: Robert Johnstone • 519-428-9913
  • Secretary: Mike Davis • 519-429-3323
  • Past President: Paul Cunningham • 519-583-1378


  • Jane Ashenden…………………519-428-8615
  • Rob Luke………………………….519-428-2439
  • Scott Fletcher ………………….519-426-6218
  • Steve Tomajko ………………..519-428-2681
  • Bill Macdonald ……………….519-583-0324
  • Malcolm Meller ……………….519-583-1124
  • Peter Munzar …………………..519-583-1101
  • Gord Pennington …………….519-426-2676
  • Dan Robinson …………………519-428-2487
  • Charlie Upshall ………………..519-583-9544
  • Barb Boyko ……………………..519-583-3971
  • Diane Clark……………………..519-426-0339