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Monday, May 26, 2014

Ontario Trails News - hiking, waking, biking, camping - information from Ontario's 2600 trails!

Ontario Trails Council Supports Trail Programs

Thanks to Jessie Metelka of the Georgian Bay Coast Trail for her acknowledgment of OTC support for the Amazing Places program in the article below.

Search is on for area’s amazing places

‘People won’t protect what they don’t know about’ – Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve launches initiative to recognize region’s natural landmarks

PARRY SOUND – Last week nearly 40 interested parties from in and around the Georgian Bay Biosphere (GBBR) participated in a workshop that hopes to highlight the area’s amazing places. Hosted by the GBBR at Canadore College, participants came from Honey Harbour, Bala, Muskoka Lakes, Parry Sound, Almaguin, the French River and Sudbury.
The Fundy project’s executive director, Megan DeGraaf, spoke about the Amazing Places project and how it may work for eastern Georgian Bay, DeGraaf outlined the project saying that in their biosphere reserve in New Brunswick, conservation and environmental education were the focus.
“People won’t protect what they don’t know about,” DeGraaf said. “As an educational organization, we wanted to expose residents and visitors to some unique areas within the biosphere reserve and take tourists beyond the typical sites.”

Everything must be controlled to ensure that the highest quality product – accurate information, thinking about how the place tells a story, and promoting the places with outstanding photographs and high-definition video.” The goals of the GBBR are to celebrate the UNESCO designation, provide nature education and, with the implementation of this project, explore the value of the natural area along with partners, said general manager Greg Mason.
“If it is of interest, we will facilitate some planning with a group of partners that can make it happen,” Mason said. “At the same time, we are trying to coordinate this as a provincial project in the other biosphere reserves…which is quite a challenge.”
Because of the positive reception of the participants, GBBR manager Becky Pollock said the organization has outlined some next steps. “They include the pilot project, which is to nominate 10 amazing places and then promote them all summer,” Pollock said. “Then at the end of that we can do a feasibility study and say ‘how likely is this to work in our area? What would the costs be? Who are the partners?’ And especially for those who weren’t at the workshop, ‘How do we reach out to other organizations?’”
There were many positive comments following the event. “I know there is a huge amount of work that has to be done and has yet to be done, but today had a very positive feel to it,” said Julie Lee, owner of Mariner’s Rest Bed & Breakfast.
Jessie Metelka, with the Georgian Bay Coast Trail, said she saw how this project could assist with the potential expansion and promotion of hiking trails in the area. “I know that the Ontario Trails Council supports all the biosphere reserves in Ontario in growing this project,” said Metelka.
In addition to the many tourism operators in attendance, including Parks Canada and Ontario Parks, several marketing interests and private consultants were present, including: the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, the Georgian Bay Destination Development Partnership (, the Regional Tourism Organization (Explorers Edge) and Parry Sound Tourism – a new private enterprise. Each of these perspectives was shared throughout the day. Any organization still wishing to be involved should contact the Biosphere at 705-774-0978.

Tourism Industry in Consultation!

A 5 yr Review of the Sorbara Report

The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (“TIAO) is pleased to announce a province-wide consultation process that will result in a status update on the tourism competitiveness study: “Discovering Ontario: A Report on the Future of Tourism.” The report, released in the spring of 2009, contained four broad strategies and twenty specific recommendations to rejuvenate the industry.
One of the twenty recommendations identified in the report was the need for a single tourism industry association....a recommendation fulfilled by TIAO, which is now recognized as the umbrella trade association in Ontario. Given this role, the Ministry asked TIAO to lead this important consultation process which has been dubbed “TIAO Listens” in order to clearly communicate the primary objective: obtaining industry feedback.
TIAO has engaged HLT Advisory to assist with the facilitation process that will seek input in a variety of ways. Fifteen consultation sessions are planned across the province starting in early May and concluding in mid June.

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