Guelph Hiking Trail Club fundraising to build a bridge on popular trail

The Guelph Hiking Trail Club is raising funds to build a bridge on the James Street Trail to make it safer.

Even for experienced hikers like club president John Fisher, it can be difficult to cross the section of the trail where it is cut off by a storm water crossing.

“It’s impossible to comfortably cross this stream bed without having some hazard,” he said.

The Guelph Hiking Trail Club manages and maintains the trail through a license agreement.

Fisher says the section is unsafe for hikers and cyclists. 

“It’s just impossible to pass for a lot of people, like a stroller can’t get over here,” he said. “We have heard of stories of people that fall and slip.”

The group is fundraising with the Speed River Cycling Club to build a bridge by Labour Day weekend to make the trail more accessible. 

“We are kind of fed up with it, it’s not getting fixed all by itself,” said Lorenzo Calcagno with the Speed River Cycling Club. “We would like to get shovels in the ground as soon as it is ready for us, as soon as spring dries up a little bit.”

The fundraiser has already raised more than $40,000, with a set goal of $50,000. 

Marcus Horowitz walks the trail every weekend and often with his six-year-old child by his side.

“I think it’s long overdue,” he said.“Getting across here can be really difficult if it’s raining because these boulders get quite slippery.”

While a safety fence has been installed, Fisher said it is not enough long-term. 

“It’s still not easy for people and you can still slide on the other side," he said. "At least you’re not going to fall four feet under the concrete.”

The section of the James Street Trail is not on city property, but the City of Guelph says they have contributed $5,000 to the fundraiser through a community grant.