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Oh No! Mosquitos!

It’s springtime in Ontario, and we all know what that means – mosquitos.

For Ontarians, mosquitos tend to be a warm weather annoyance. At a minimum, their bites cause itchy bumps that can put a damper on outdoor activities. In some areas of the world, these pests can transmit serious viruses to humans, such as West Nile virus and malaria.

Did you know that there are more than 3000 species worldwide? In Ontario, we have about 60 species. And while we may think that mosquitos seem to feast mostly on us (and horses, birds, and cattle), some species actually feed on plant sugars and nectar as well. 

What’s more, those “skitters do actually play an important role in our local environment. They are a source of food for various creatures, including frogs, dragonflies, birds, and bats.

Regardless, no one enjoys being hounded by mosquitos. Here are some tips to help avoid being a bug buffet while enjoying the beauty of the Lang Hastings trail:

  • Try avoiding the times when mosquitos are most active, which is between dusk and dawn.
  • Cover yourself! That means pants, long sleeves, socks, and shoes. Light-coloured clothing is more effective.
  • Insect repellent works well too. Choose types that contan DEET or other ingredients such as oil of lemon eucalyptus. DEET also works to protect from tick bites. 
  • For those children who are too young for insect repellent, cover strollers with mosquito netting. And speaking of netting…
  • …although you may get a few looks, you can purchase mosquito netted clothing to help prevent bites naturally.

By taking some simple precautions, you can still get out and enjoy the Lang Hastings Trail – even when battling the bugs.

Nature At Work

Earlier this week volunteers put in a few days hard work repairing a near washout on the trail between Villiers and Blezard Lines. It’s a very scenic area with a creek running alongside much of the trail, making it the perfect habitat for beavers. While the area is frequently monitored for beaver activity, with the heavy rains last week, the water did finally runneth over, flooding the trail. Dougherty Aggregates provided stones to shore up the trail side ensuring the base didn’t completely wash out.

 

 

Le Grand Portage

On Sunday, October 2nd, Devin Crago and friends will be portaging a canoe from Birdsalls through to Hastings Village along the trail.  40 teams will take turns portaging a canoe between Toronto and Montréal, each completing a 13 km section for a total distance of 700km, to support Multiple Sclerosis research. If you happen to be out on the trail this weekend and see any canoes, be sure to say hello! Here’s a link to some information on Le Grand Portage   https://legrandportage.ca/en/ and how you can get involved.

 

Keene Station Historical Plaque

 Barry Diceman and Joe Taylor smile as they unveil our brand new historical plaque

Last Thursday, under a haze of humidity, a crowd of community members and trail supporters gathered around the new Keene Station Gazebo to witness the unveiling of a brand new historical plaque and dedication to the gazebo donors. The ceremony, carried out by Lang Hastings Trail board president Barry Diceman and Mayor of Otonabee South Monaghan Joe Taylor, was the result of many months of hard work by board members and community volunteers alike. 

To kick off the unveiling, board member Christine Painter introduced Clementine MacLeod, the Engagement and Sustainability summer student, and expressed appreciation to Trans Canada Trail for a spring clean-up grant of $1,000.  Barry Diceman delivered a heartfelt speech, honouring the accomplishments of the committee and the vibrant history of the trail. 

In his speech, Diceman explained that the board decided that the Keene Station site “needed something to add some character and information to the location” to encourage trail users to properly appreciate its historical importance. Diceman went on to thank all those who offered their help and support in the erection and maintenance of the gazebo and trail, then invited mayor Joe Taylor to help him in unveiling the plaque for the first time. 

Taylor gave a meaningful short address, acknowledging the importance of the trail to the community.  Together, Barry and Joe pulled down the curtain and revealed the plaque to the group. With an enthusiastic cheer, the crowd welcomed a new era of the Keene Station and demonstrated the strong community brought together by the Lang Hastings Trail. 

The Retirement of Keene Station

76 Year Old Station May Soon Close

 

This article, appearing in the February 1st, 1958 edition of the Peterborough Examiner describes the Otonabee Township Council’s decision to retire the Keene Railway station. The station, which was established in 1882, functioned primarily as an outgoing and receiving depot for various types of freight and mail. However, throughout the years, the station demonstrated a lack of patronage and use that would eventually force the council to call for its retirement.

Though the historic nature of the station made its retirement a nostalgic and sentimental event, the unused railway would eventually transform into another beloved community landmark: our very own Lang Hastings Trail.

 

A (Literally) Trailblazing History

The above article, penned by D. Gayle Nelson, details the dramatic history of the Keene station and surrounding railway, as told by local newspaper articles. Nelson makes reference to a 1958 article describing the retirement of the Keene station, a 1967 council resolution, and the shocking 1884 accident where a freight train ran off its tracks straight into a swamp.

Nelson’s article, as well as the momentous events it describes, helps to illustrate the railway’s vivid past. Which, in turn, demonstrates the historical importance of what is now the Lang Hastings Trail.

Hiring Engagement & Sustainability Summer Student

The Peterborough-Hastings Trans Canada Trail Association is seeking to fill a term position for the Engagement & Sustainability Summer Student role. This position will play an integral role in providing support in the areas of public relations, communications, marketing, and event coordination. Training will be provided.

Compensation: $16.50 per hour (includes $1.00 per hour stipend for personal internet usage). 

Term: 15 – 20 hours per week; to a maximum of 250 hours between July 18 – September 30, 2022. 

Working Hours: Hours are flexible (3 – 4 per day, 5 days per week). Willingness to work evenings and weekends as required.

Location: You will be working remotely and on the Lang Hastings Trail.  Required to attend monthly board meetings in Keene or Elmhirst’s Resort.  Attend events as required in Peterborough, Keene and on the Lang Hastings Trail.

HOW TO APPLY 

The application deadline is July 15, 2022, at 12:00 pm (noon) EST. Learn more about the Lang Hastings Trail at langhastingstrail.ca.  Questions and Resumes can be submitted to board@langhastingstrail.ca or text/call 613-392-3233.

The Peterborough-Hastings Trans Canada Trail Association is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and inclusion. We consider all qualified applicants, without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or any other legally-protected factors. 

Geocaching – The Great Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

Just imagine – strolling through the great outdoors, among the trees, leaves, and rivers, searching for a small treasure left by someone you have never met?

That’s called geocaching.

OK, a little more detail. To go geocaching, you need just a few items:

  • A geocaching account. This gives you access to the coordinates of the general route for your scavenger hunt, as well as access to online clues for each treasure (the “cache”).
  • Some sort of GPS system, such as a mobile device, for entering the coordinates.
  • A sense of adventure!

Caches – which are small, inexpensive trinkets – tend to be hidden, but not buried – so you don’t need to dig! Also, they are usually located in small, waterproof containers, and typically there is a logbook where you can record your discovery for others to read. Take the cache, but make sure you leave one of your own caches behind for the next person.  

You can find a number of caches along the Lang Hastings trail, and throughout the Kawarthas. 

Anyone can participate in geocaching, either by searching for the caches or by setting them up. But whatever you do, please be respectful of both property and nature. Get outside, and enjoy!

The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

The weather is finally warming up, the trees are budding, the butterflies are out – it sounds like spring! If you have been cooped up over the long Canadian winter, then now is the time to get outside and hit the trails.

Whether it is a walk, a run, or some cycling, getting outside for any outdoor exercise is important for many reasons. Here are some of the benefits of outdoor exercise: 

  • Feel the burn: If you need to lose a few pounds, heading out on the trail will help you do just that. Remember that it doesn’t have to be Olympic distances – any time outside is better than none at all. 
  • Access to sunshine: Who doesn’t like the feeling of the sun on your face? What’s better is that the sunshine can help you have higher levels of serotonin, which has been shown to stabilize mood, and relieve some symptoms of stress. Even better, it’s a natural way of increasing your Vitamin D intake.
  • Improved mental health: Any physical activity releases chemicals called endorphins. They elevate your mood, help relieve stress, and can make you feel better in general. 
  • Cleaner air. Sure, walking in the city is exercise, but walking on a trail lets you enjoy cleaner air. It’s better for your lungs and your overall respiratory health.
  • Site seeing: Blue jays, butterflies, choke cherries, nesting osprey, beavers – who knows what you are going to sign when out on a trail. There’s only one way to find out – and that’s by getting outside on a trail.
  • Accessibility: Like other rail trails, the Lang Hastings trail is built on an abandoned rail bed. This means the grade tends to be flat or have only minor inclines. That, combined with crushed limestone, means that outdoor rail trail exercise can be more accessible for people with strollers or wheelchairs. Activity for all. 

Regardless of the activity or intensity, there is nothing like outdoor exercise on the Lang Hastings Trail to make a day seem better. Take advantage of the great weather to enjoy whatever outdoor exercise seems right. 

What outdoor activities do you enjoy on the Lang Hastings Trail? Give us a shout and let us know.