Web posted on May 19, 2015
Ontario will introduce new legislation today to protect and improve thousands of kilometres of the province's urban, suburban, rural and remote land and water trails network while encouraging its expansion.
The province has approximately 2,500 trails and more than 80,000 kilometres of trail; the second-largest network in Canada. This includes almost 20,000 kilometres of trails are located within municipalities. Thousands of kilometres of trails and roads are on provincial Crown land that are open for the public to use free of charge.
If passed, the Supporting Ontario's Trails Act would:
- Provide the trails community with enhanced tools to effectively develop, operate and promote trails
- Remove barriers to help connect and expand trails across the province
- Increase trail awareness and promote local tourism by enabling the recognition of trails of distinction, supporting communities and jobs across Ontario
- Enable the development of a classification system to help users find trails that match their interest and ability
"We are delighted to continue working alongside the Ontario government towards expanding the Trans Canada Trail across the province, and to improving the lives and communities of Ontarians. Our partnership with the Government of Ontario is vital to Trans Canada Trail achieving our Canada-wide connection goal by 2017, Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation." Paul LaBarge, Chair of Trans Canada Trail.
The proposed act would also improve, sustain and encourage the expansion of trails by addressing liability, trespassing and crown land issues. Since 2009, Ontario has invested more than $80 million in trails. Ontario will complete 250 kilometres of gaps in Ontario's Trans Canada Trail and connect communities from Ottawa to Windsor and Fort Erie to Huntsville.
"Each year, millions of Ontarians and visitors from outside the province experience the province's world class trail system. Our trails encourage explorers of all ages and abilities to visit our unique communities and support local economies and jobs. To ensure this continues and our trails remain vital for future generations, Ontario will introduce new legislation today that would, if passed, contribute to an improved, safer and more sustainable trails network." Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Expanding and improving Ontario trails is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.