Patrols to prevent vandalism
Help prevent vandalism to trails - report any suspicious activity
Patrols to keep eyes on South Huron Trail to prevent further vandalism
Vandals damage South Huron Trail, Storytime Trail; Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority reports vandalism to OPP; Public encouraged to call Crime Stoppers; Patrol officers, volunteers to watch trail
There have been many years when there has been little or no vandalism along the South Huron Trail. Trail spokespersons say it’s disappointing to learn of recent damage that puts a stain on that good record. The vandalism was discovered in late March. A number of signs along the trail, near Pryde Boulevard in Exeter, are damaged. A sign on the South Huron Reunion Kiosk was reported missing. A large trail map was broken in two sections. Damage along the trail included the removal of a story board wooden post on the popular Storytime Trail and removal of story board frames from wooden posts which were installed by volunteers.
Anyone caught damaging property on the trail may be charged with Mischief under Part XI of the Canadian Criminal Code. They could also face other charges under other laws as well, Convictions could include fines or imprisonment. The vandalism has been reported to the Ontario Provincial Police. OPP officers are investigating and patrol officers with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) will be patrolling the trail. Several volunteers with Friends of the South Huron Trail have offered to look out for any suspicious activity on the trail and to report this activity or any other damage.
“The people in the local community have invested a lot of time, effort, and funds to create a beautiful trail to enjoy nature and improve their health by getting active,” said Kate Monk, Manager of Stewardship, Land and Education with the ABCA. “It’s very discouraging to see pointless and destructive acts like these.” Most people in the community are careful not to damage property or hurt the trail in any way, according to Monk. “It is very upsetting that an individual or individuals have acted to ruin something that benefits their friends and neighbours so much.”
The person or persons who committed the acts of vandalism may have done their destruction during the evenings or after dark, she said. Monk has been in contact with community members who have volunteered to keep an eye on the trail, especially in the evenings and report suspicious activity. “I’m hoping that this increased public presence on the trail will deter any future offences,” she said.
The South Huron Trail is formed by linking two trails: the MacNaughton-Morrison Section beginning at MacNaughton Park in Exeter and the Morrison Dam Conservation Area trail east of Exeter.
The Storytime Trail was created in 2016 by Healthy Kids Community Challenge Huron and partners including Huron County Library; Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority; Friends of the South Huron Trail; Huron County Children’s Services; and the Province of Ontario. Volunteers donated their time to create story boards for the Storytime Trail, which supports literacy and healthy activity by families.
If you have information about these acts of vandalism on the trail you are invited to contact the ABCA at 519-235-2610, Huron County OPP at 1-888-310-1122, or submit a tip online to Huron County Crime Stoppers at www.hc-cs.ca or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).