South Huron Trail
Linking trails, communities, and people
The scenic, multi-use South Huron Trail is an eight-kilometre trail with two sections, one in rural South Huron and the other with an urban trailhead in Exeter, Ontario:
- Morrison Dam Conservation Area
- MacNaughton-Morrison Trail
For the map of the South Huron Trail please download the print-to-letter-size version of the trail brochure:
- South Huron Trail Brochure (PDF file)
The South Huron Trail is an eight-kilometre, all-season trail that winds through the scenic Ausable River Valley. This accessible trail links MacNaughton Park in Exeter, Ontario and Morrison Dam Conservation Area (MDCA), at 71108 Morrison Line, just two kilometres (km) east of Exeter.
The South Huron Trail combines the MacNaughton-Morrison and MDCA trail sections. Thanks to trail loops of different lengths (2 km, 4 km, or 8 km), you can spend 20 minutes or two hours enjoying nature.
The South Huron Trail trail is supported by volunteers through Friends of the South Huron Trail and through community donations through such efforts as the Conservation Dinner of the Exeter Lions Club and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation.
To find out how you can support this trail as a volunteer or donor contact Tim Cumming at Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 or e-mail info(at)abca.ca
Friends of the South Huron Trail
The next meeting of the Friends of the South Huron Trail is scheduled for Monday, May 6, 2019.
The Friends of the South Huron Trail is also scheduled to meet on Friday, November 1, 2019.
Trail benefits people, economy
Locals, tourists alike enjoy serenity, health benefits of trails
Trail users say they are spending money at local businesses, dining, shopping
A survey of people who use the MacNaughton-Morrison and Morrison Dam sections of the South Huron Trail finds that trail lovers are coming from local areas as well as from outside the area. The survey finds that people enjoy the peacefulness of the trail as well as the health benefits it brings.
The survey was done in person, with trail users, by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) summer student Lana Shapton. She interviewed people who were using the trail (walking, running, fishing, cycling, or using assistive devices). She asked them their home town, how often they use the trail, why they use the trail, and their comments and suggestions.
Shapton, of the Exeter area, said the survey was done during the month of July. People said they liked the personal enjoyment they get from the trail, the health and exercise benefits, the convenience of the trail, the fact it is accessible, and the beauty of the natural surroundings.
“People used words like gorgeous, quiet, and peaceful to describe the trail,” Shapton said. “They love to see the different species of plants as well as birds and other animals.”
Survey respondents also said they enjoy signs that identify tree species, the shingles on the bridge to provide better grip, the fact the trail is well-maintained and safe, and the fact it provides a way to bicycle into Exeter without being on a roadway. They also liked the activities the trail offered (such as fishing or hiking) and areas where children can learn and play.
The survey also revealed economic spin-offs of the trail. Most of the trail users were from the Exeter area but many were visitors to the area. Shapton said the trail has not only health and nature benefits but economic benefits as well. “I talked to people from London and other communities who come to the Exeter area regularly for day trips including visits to the South Huron Trail as well as shopping and dining,” she said. “I have received some great positive comments about the trail.”
Fifteen Years of the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail
In 2019, we celebrate fifteen years of the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail. This beautiful trail is a community success story as it has been created thanks to the vision, commitment, and generosity of local landowners, service organizations, donors, and people from the community.
The year 2019 marks 15 years since the watershed community completed construction on the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail, a trail that links an urban community directly with nature, with accessibility and offering social, recreational, health, environmental, and economic benefits to the community.
Tenth Anniversary of the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail
A community committee worked all year, in 2014, on projects to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail.
The community committee met and planned activities throughout 2014 to promote, honour, and celebrate this trail which has provided health and wellness, recreation, community fellowship, and much, much more.
The committee identified areas they wanted to address: new technology; education; promotion and communication; health and wellness benefits; celebration and recognition of partnerships; ecology, preservation, and care of the trail; and development of the trail. The trail anniversary committee created more than ten projects over the year to address those areas and celebrate the tenth anniversary of the trail.
Activities include a trail brochure; a documentary DVD; a photography project; a photography book; a series of newspaper columns; Paint the Town event by artaroundtown; a public breakfast; guided hike; landowner and donor recognition ceremony; a South Huron Trail Get-Active Challenge: Turn Over a New Leaf; a daffodil trail; volunteering at the Shunpiker Tour to showcase the trail; and much, much more.
Trail tenth anniversary committee members included Laurie Dykstra, Exeter Lioness Club; Kate Monk, committee chairperson; Bonnie Sitter, community member; Susanne Strang, Friends of the South Huron Trail; Dorothy Brown Henderson, South Huron Communities in Bloom; Dave Frayne, Councillor, Municipality of South Huron and member, Friends of the South Huron Trail; Jim O’Toole, Past Chair, Friends of the South Huron Trail; Craig Hebert, Exeter Lions Club; Wayne Deluca, Councillor, Municipality of South Huron; Bob Radtke, Chairperson, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation; Lorne Rideout, Co-Chair of the Friends of the South Huron Trail; and Tim Cumming, secretary, of Ausable Bayfield Conservation.
The completed projects, either managed by the committee or with committee member participation, included:
- South Huron Trail Brochure – print and web versions.
- Volunteers Jim O’Toole and Lorne Rideout have created a trail brochure with 1,000 copies printed thanks to a donation from the Exeter Lions Club.
- South Huron Trail Get-Active Challenge: Turn Over a New Leaf – a fun way for the whole family to get active both on the trail and around town or even at home. A healthy hike (see www.healthyhikes.ca).
- Volunteer Dorothy Brown Henderson has written a series of popular columns about the trail.
- MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail Tenth Anniversary Video on DVD (available for a freewill donation to the trail) as well as wildflower and tree videos on YouTube.
- Photography along the trail – Volunteer photographers Bonnie Sitter and Jim O’Toole have documented the past year along the trail with beautiful photos of flora and fauna and trail scenes.
- A photo book of the trail has been created and was available for purchase.
- Exeter Lions Club light breakfast.
- Paint the Town event by Artaroundtown.
- Daffodil Trail – thanks to memorial donation. With a citizen’s donation, daffodil bulbs were planted along the trail at Morrison Dam Conservation Area in the Morrison Reservoir (Morrison Lake) spillway to commemorate the trail anniversary and the 25th Conservation Dinner.
- Landowner and Community Recognition Ceremony.
- Guided hike.
- Exeter Lions Club light breakfast.
- Volunteering at Shunpiker Tour.