MUSKOKA — Cross-country skiing trails are not yet open in Gravenhurst, but those looking to head outdoors to ski can do so at the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre.
All of the ski trails at the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre are currently open and groomed.
Photo courtesy of Leo Broere
Many areas are suffering from a lack of snow. The popular Gravenhurst KOA cross-country ski trails are closed for now, awaiting at least a foot of snow before opening, according to owner Paul Cook. Once Muskoka gets more snow, there are some 15 kilometres of groomed and track-set trails to take advantage of at the Gravenhurst KOA, but as of last week, the Reay Road East facility wasn’t able to offer the winter pastime.
However, Leo Broere, director of the culture and recreation department for the Town of Bracebridge, which maintains the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre, was pleased to announce the trails there are open and groomed.
“We’ve been getting a lot of calls from Huntsville to Orillia and all over to see if the trails are open,” he said. “And yes, we are open; we’ve had crews out there since over the new year.”
Volunteer crews have groomed all 17.5 km of trails at the centre, located on the east side of Highway 11, just north of the Highway 117 overpass.
He said the trails are hard-packed right now with some slush in a few areas, but otherwise OK. There are four skiing trails of varying length, between three and eight km long. All loop back to the parking lot.
“The next snowfall everything should be good and lush out there,” Broere said. “So far the trails are being very well used.”
In addition to ski trails, there is a snowshoe and walking trail as well, something Broere described as a “winter-white trail” through the trees of the resource centre. It is about 1.5 km long in a loop, just off the parking lot.
“It was designed as an alternative for people to snowshoe or for the people who bring their dogs,” he said. “We encourage people to bring their dogs out there for a walk, but we want to keep them off the cross-country ski trails.”
Maps of the centre’s trails are accessible from the parking lot. The centre is located on almost 610 hectares of Crown land and features a covered picnic area as well as posted information about some of the natural resource features there.
Broere added for the young ones looking for a bit more speed in their winter activity, the toboggan hill at Kerr Park is open and well used, while the TransCanada Trail, at the back of the park, is also covered well enough to ski on now. Although not groomed, that trail, he said, is being used fairly frequently and would be a rougher pack than that found at the resource centre.