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LETTER: TBM trampling trail access

'Where can families take themselves and their children now to enjoy the escarpment?' asks letter writer
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CollingwoodToday welcomes letters to the editor. They can be sent to [email protected]. Please include your full name, address and phone number for verification. The following letter is in response to The Blue Mountains parking bylaw prohibiting parking on some roadways near trailheads. 


I am writing to express consternation at the drastic actions of the Town of The Blue Mountains in barring access to four of the most popular hiking trails within its boundaries. The new bylaw forbids parking anywhere near the trailheads, and additionally, exorbitant fees have been levied where any parking at all is permitted.

I hold the Town of The Blue Mountains responsible for a  grave injustice towards the people, and especially the children, of Ontario, depriving them of the  natural world sitting at our doorstep. Ontario Parks are protected and maintained by the province of Ontario at the expense of taxpayers. The multitude of trails, which exist thanks to decades of hard work by the visionary members of the Bruce Trail Club, is taken away in one fell swoop! Something is not right here.

Walking through our beautiful forests and along the escarpment is virtually the only physically and mentally healthy activity a family, and persons of any age or ability, can do that does not cost money. People live in this area specifically to be able to access the outdoors, regardless of economic status. Visitors and friends from elsewhere are shocked that a municipality like the Town of The Blue Mountains has the power to prevent us now from entering and enjoying these valued resources.  

Where can families take themselves and their children now to enjoy the escarpment? 

Blue Mountains Sideroad 12: no parking, both sides of the road, tow away zone!

Mission Road: a dead end and occupied by only three private properties, no parking, both sides, tow away. 

Pretty River Road: no parking and tow away, both sides of the road. The snowmobilers’ parking lot at Pretty River is 1.5 kilometres away from the much-loved trailhead which follows the river. There is a small parking area 1onekilometre away from the snowmobilers’ parking lot, but it can accommodate no more than five cars.  

Margaret Paull Park, another local favourite, no parking and tow away. Both approaches to this park are now cut off from hikers.  

Loree Forest, where it now costs $10 an hour for a walk in the woods! 

The Town of The Blue Mountains cites safety concerns with too many people parking. Yes, parking has become a challenge as our population increases, and parking on main arteries like Grey Roads 19  and 119 is obviously dangerous and inappropriate. But parking on smaller country roads which have few residential properties and therefore little traffic, shouldn’t pose the same safety concerns.

There will always be the occasional thoughtless person who parks unsafely or blocks a driveway, we all know that. But with appropriate signage and some common sense, surely some of these problems could be solved. And furthermore, when we talk about safety on these local roads, how about enforcing speed limits, instead of penalizing all the drivers of parked cars? It would be helpful to know how many accidents or injuries have actually occurred on these roads, which are, after all, not busy highways or main arteries. 

In an era of rampant mental illness among both children and adults, is this the wise way to go? 

We hear the buzzword “wellness” a lot these days, and we are all familiar with the profitable “wellness” industry, but the most effective healing therapy is to spend time in nature. This should be a human right and not dependent upon wealth, and at the mercy of unreasonable municipal bylaws. Let the children connect with the earth and trees, absorb the tranquility, observe living creatures, and breathe fresh air.  

I support the letters written by Patricia Dunbar, Heather McCleary and Sandy Tulloch, and applaud their efforts in appealing to the Town of The Blue Mountains. According to what I have read, council plans to discuss the high parking fees. But that is not enough. I ask the councillors of the Town of The Blue Mountains to recognize the deleterious effect their decisions have made on our community, and we ask that you remove the parking restrictions at trailheads and parks. Please do not leave us feeling betrayed and deeply sad.  

Glenn Velick
Collingwood, ON