The Oak Ridges Trail Association (ORTA)
Come and join us on our hikes on over 300km of moraine trail!
ORTA is a volunteer based charitable hiking organization with a mandate to build and maintain a public hiking trail system on the Oak Ridges Moraine, off-road where possible. Additionally our mandate charges us with the responsibility of protecting the integrity of the moraine through trail development, maintenance, and increased awareness. To those ends we offer guided hikes of all difficulties and lengths, weekdays and weekends. Some are targeted at families; others are oriented towards adults while others have a strong nature focus. Hike schedules and related information can be found under the 'Hiking' tab.
We engage in partnerships with individual, municipal, provincial and federal landowners to accomplish our goals. To know more about the Moraine, please visit the 'Moraine' section.
ORTA is a member of Hike Ontario. Hike Ontario is a coordinating body for hiking trails in Ontario, Canada. Member organizations have more than 2500 kilometres of hiking trails for you to explore. Hike Ontario also has individual members who share its vision and mission, which is to encourage the development and maintenance of hiking trails and to promote hiking.
The Oak Ridges Moraine stretches for over 160 kilometres across the most populated area of Ontario. It is the source of 65 major streams or rivers and provides clean, safe drinking water to over a quarter of a million people living on the Moraine. The Moraine forest, wetlands and open meadow are vital in maintaining a healthy ecosystem for Toronto and the GTA. It also provides beautiful space for recreation use.
Please explore our website to find out more on how you can participate in protecting the Moraine for our enjoyment today and for future generations.
ORTA is a non-profit organization which started in 1991 by a group of volunteers. They gathered through the cooperation of STORM (Save the Oak Ridges Moraine), the Metro Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Hike Ontario and developed the idea of a system of public recreational trails along the full length of the Moraine, from Albion Hills in the west, to the Northumberland Forest in the East. They then formed The Oak Ridges Trail Steering Committee and following a series of meetings, the Oak Ridges Trail Association (ORTA) was officially inaugurated at a public meeting held at Albion Hills in May 1992.
The main objective of the Association is to develop and secure the Oak Ridges Trail, "....thereby promoting an appreciation and respect for the Moraine's ecological, cultural and scenic integrity, with the aim of retaining a trail corridor in its natural state." - Oak Ridges Trail Guidebook 1997
Efforts to establish a trail along the Oak Ridges Moraine first began in 1973. At present about 275 km of main trail, plus various side trails, have been completed. The trail starts in the west with a link to the Bruce Trail, north of Mono Mills (Hwy #9 & Airport Road), and continues through the Northumberland Forest in the east, before splitting to two gateways at Castleton and Warkworth.
ORTA is governed by a Board of Directors who have responsibilities for managing the various aspects of the organization. Directors on the Board are elected at an Annual General Meeting. Our Mission Statement is "To build and maintain a public hiking trail system on the Oak Ridges moraine, off-road where possible, and To organize and promote hiking on this trail system and encourage responsible stewardship of the Moraine's natural environment."
ORTA offers a membership to those individuals who would like to support the organization with a small fee. ORTA in turn, organizes hikes on the trail and makes available to its members a quarterly newsletter in which activities of the organization are communicated to its members. Non members are also encouraged to participate in the Association's hikes. We have now grown to over 700 members and ten chapters, namely: Caledon, King, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Uxbridge, Scugog, Clarington, Hope-Hamilton and Northumberland. Each chapter is responsible for a section of the trail and has a member on the Board of Directors.
ORTA Organization 2016
ORTA acknowledges the support of the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation