By Chad Ingram
The south side of the Gull River at the Minden Whitewater Preserve isbeing restricted to members of Whitewater Ontario due topandemic-related insurance requirements.
This new measure onlyapplies to the private property owned and managed by Whitewater Ontario the provincial kayak and canoe association but it does not apply toproperty owned by the Township of Minden Hills which is located alongHorseshoe Lake Road and the Gull River. This area is accessible without a membership.
Whitewater Ontario’s president David Gillespie said this decision helps to keep the preserve open and safe.
“Our volunteer organization has run for 50 years without any major incident however the new normal in the insurance industry means we have tofollow this practice. Following COVID protocols set by the health unitand the ministry of sport we are fully operational and have had a surge in membership of people coming out to whitewater kayak and canoe” hewrote in an email to the Times . “We are pleased to continue keeping ourfacility open for hikers dog walkers and facility rental for meetings courses and weddings. As in the past we will continue working with[Minden Hills] council township staff and local stakeholder groups toimprove the trails and to mitigate hazards in the rapids caused byflooding. Despite social distancing etc [the preserve] is a great place for regular recreational use as well as we plan to continue hostingregional and national events. This means [Minden Whitewater Preserve] is still a hotspot for drawing tourists and helping local residents getout and have fun.”
Some of the COVID-19 related measures taken at the south side property include sanitizing stations at the front ofwashrooms the sign-in kiosk and every outhouse. Unless it is immediate family washrooms are for one person at a time. The outside sinks areavailable for potable water but it’s recommended dishes to be washed at sites to ensure the area remains clean.
Anyone who wishes to accessthe river from the south side via Bethel Road or use the hiking andmountain bike trails can buy an annual 12-month hiking membership at$20. The two-person annual membership is $30 and a full family annualmembership is $40.
Registration for memberships can be done byjoining your local affiliated club registering online using Zone 4 orregistering on site at Minden Whitewater Preserve. Day-use seasonalmemberships are available for purchase online using Zone 4 or on site at the preserve.
Members will all need to sign in as they arrive at the preserve. This is a required protocol to aid with contact tracing.