Port Hope closes Ganaraska access, trails before salmon migration

by Editorial Staff | September 2, 2020
ganaraska river covid 19

Port Hope has closed public access and trails along the Ganaraska River ahead of this year’s salmon migration. 

The fish ladder at Corbett’s Dam and trails from Molson street to south of Robertson street, and to the south end of the east pier are closed as of Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The boat ramp, parking lots near the fish cleaning station and at Riverside Park, and Waterfront Trail will remain open, councillors decided during a regular meeting held on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Closures in place until Oct. 15

The decision was made to prioritize safety ahead of this year’s salmon migration amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes will remain in effect until Oct. 15.

The restrictions come after a public consultation period that laid out two options, one for a partial closure and one for a complete closure of municipal access.

Overall, there were 207 participants and the majority of responses (114 people or 62%) supported the full closure. An online poll led to similar results, with 144 (70%) or respondents favouring that choice.

Locals spoke up

Staff have installed temporary fencing, barricades, and signage along the river’s path to alert residents and visitors of the restrictions, the municipality stated.

“After a lengthy community consultation, it was clear that most residents who shared their comments and feedback with council preferred the option to restrict access to the river in response to the ongoing global pandemic,” Municipality of Port Hope Mayor Bob Sanderson stated in a press release.

“While temporarily restricting municipal land is not a common practice, it is a measure that we have taken to reduce the anticipated number of residents, tourists, and anglers from gathering in and along the Ganaraska River during the annual salmon migration. From experience we know that our annual salmon migration attracts thousands of people from far and wide. This year, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

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  1. Ed Hotte wrote: So only the rich people with boats get to go up river and catch salmon .... 2 or three of those could feed me and my two kids for many meals as I am on Ontario works to supplement income being a single dad.
    • Editorial Staff wrote: Hi Ed, luckily there are many other creeks that will remain open along Lake Ontario's north shore until Sept 31st. When considering harvesting fish, you may want to consider the province's recommendations guide to eating sportfish, found here: https://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/eating-ontario-fish
  2. David Jack wrote: Great idea. The only salmon caught are ones that are snagged. Let them spawn. They aren't fit for human consumption anyways
    • Editorial Staff wrote: Hi David, an interactive guide/map to eating sportfish in Ontario can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/sport-fish-consumption-advisory?id=43507840 Hope this helps.
  3. Greg wrote: Great idea. Most salmon caught are illegally caught anyhow and who would ever eat one of those? This is great for the salmon!