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Guelph Hiking Trail Club honours trailblazer Dave Hull

'You need legs to carry it, and he was certainly one pillar of experience and continuity, which is very important,' says club president

The name of a new hiking trail in Guelph belongs to a man who has contributed about 50 years to maintaining trails within the community.

The Dave Hull Side Trail, a three-kilometre loop trail, was recently unveiled in the area of Arkell Spring Grounds in a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Guelph Hiking Trail Club (GHTC).

The trail, which is located in an area used by the City of Guelph water service department, was installed this year with the help of two GHTC members, Brian Von Nostrand and Frank Schoenhoeffer. Prior to this year, the trail had not been formally recognized by the water works department.

John Fisher, president of the Guelph Hiking Trail Club, said it was "not a tough decision" by the club executives to name the trail after Hull, a retired member.

“It was a very easy thing to do,” said Fisher about the decision. “When we got permission for the trail, 'What are we going to call it?' and it was like, 'Well, let's call it the Dave Hull Side Trail.'"

A GHTC news release explains Hull spent 42 years as the trail captain for the Radial Line, which runs through the water works Arkell Springs Ground. In that role, Hull worked with the city and the water services department to help maintain good relations and navigate changes within the property.

Fisher said he first met Hull when they were both trial captains, but got to know him better when Fisher took over the role of radio coordinator in the early '90s.

“He would come to me and say, 'What should we do about this trail? What should we do about this trail?'” said Fisher, mentioning he and Hull helped to open two side trails within the community.

Describing Hull as a "passionate supporter of the Ontario Trail Network," Fisher explains Hull played multiple roles within their organization, including being an executive member to being the club’s archivist.

“It's (the Guelph Hiking Trail Club) not exactly a three-legged stool, it's more like an eight-legged spider. You need legs to carry it, and he was certainly one pillar of experience and continuity, which is very important,” said Fisher.

Despite retiring from the GHTC two years ago, Fisher explains Hull continues to be passionate.

“He is still very passionate about trails and stuff, still very interested in what's going on and wanting to be a part of it."

Hull, who was in attendance that day for the opening ceremony, said it was a great experience.

“I felt really great about having a trail named after me,” said Hull, who adds he likes being part of a group of like-minded people.

Part of an early group of members within the GHTC, Hull explains he was encouraged by an earlier GHTC member, Kathleen Brown, to join and has stayed on since then. In 2016, Hull received  an honorary lifetime membership for his contributions.

“I'm very proud of the fact that number one, we were able to stay alive for that long, and two that we we were able to stay together as a group,” said Hull.

Looking to the future of the GHTC, Hull said it is a very active group with a good group of hike leaders.

“Hiking will continue to flourish in this area,” he said.