Multiple vehicle break-ins at various trail parking areas over the past few months have left would-be trail visitors wary of heading out on a walk. The organizations that manage the trails, however, say that if visitors follow a few easy-to-follow instructions, their trail outing should be safe.
In Uxbridge, there are three possible managing bodies for the trails - the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA), Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), and some are managed by the township itself. While these organizations do send staff on an ongoing and regular basis to inspect the trails and parking areas, there is no constant patrolling, which means incidents of importance must be reported to be dealt with.
Brian Moyle, manager of enforcement and compliance at the TRCA, says that while regular patrolling does happen, “It is vital to remember that within Uxbridge alone, there are over 120 km of TRCA trails, and it is impossible for our enforcement officers to be everywhere at once.” Joanne Doyley, communications specialist at the LSRCA, says that prevention is best, and recommends that all trail users “leave valuables at home, or hide them in your vehicle out of sight, carry a cell phone and refrain from using trails at night.”
Doyley says that, along with lots of signage indicating best practices on the trails, there have also been recent improvements to the parking area to have improved sight lines from Conc. 7 to deter incidents. Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) complete random checks from time to time of the parking areas, as well,” she noted.
If trail users do witness something suspicious, Doyley advises them to “notify DRPS immediately (contact information is included on signage on all tracts).
“Users can pass on their exact location to police using the emergency post system distributed throughout the Main Tract. If in the main parking area, the exact street address is posted on the gate, kiosk signage and at the base of the driveway.”
Moyle, of the TRCA, encourages the public to “report criminal and public safety activities observed on our landholdings directly to the police, while other matters should be reported to TRCA directly.” He also mentioned how invaluable the assistance of the municipalities and the police services are when it comes to helping with TRCA enforcement.
If suspicious activity is witnessed on a township-managed trail, Amanda Ferraro, director of Uxbridge Parks, Recreation, Culture and Tourism, encourages residents to email Parks@uxbridge.ca with concerns, and to always call 911 if there is an emergency.
Trail users are also encouraged to download a wayfinding app called Avenza, which shows your exact location, complete with coordinates.
Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos