By Zachary Roman
In a Facebook post made on June 9 the County of Haliburton announcedthat the Rail Trail will be opened to motorized vehicles as of FridayJune 19.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues we ask that all RailTrail users continue to respect each other and maintain appropriatephysical distancing and group numbers” reads the post. “Thank you stay safe and have fun.”
Liz Danielsen Haliburton County warden anddeputy mayor of Algonquin Highlands said the original decision to keepthe Rail Trail open for passive use only was made during a time when itwas the last remaining place where folks in the area could enjoy somefresh air and exercise.
“We understand that this was adisappointment to the ATV Association and its members particularlygiven that they have a formal agreement with the county for use of thetrail during the summer and fall months and that they contribute to itsmaintenance” said Danielsen in an email to the Times. “Unfortunatelyduring these difficult times a number of decisions have been made bydifferent levels of government that have disappointed people for avariety of reasons. Given that the province has now declared that avariety of public and recreational spaces can be open and that its state of emergency has only been extended to June 19 the county’s EmergencyOperations Group agreed unanimously that it was time to open the trailto all users.”
Danielsen said that it is the county’s hope thateveryone will continue to practice safe physical distancing and respectothers while using the trail.
Joel Bockneck president of theHaliburton ATV Association said he has already received a large amountof positive feedback from riders regarding the decision to reopen thetrail to ATVs.
“We are excited to hear that the Rail Trail will beopening to ATVs” said Bockneck. “It is an important link for ourmembers and other riding enthusiasts that want to travel into Haliburton from the south without having to ride on the busier public roadways.The Rail Trail also serves as a link to several HATVA trails in thecounty.”