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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ontario Trails News - Trailwise, Week of December 24, 2015

Seasonal Best Wishes and Our Thanks
It's that time of year where we should reflect a bit and give thanks to all the folks that have helped the OTC over the last year. to those who have helped who are not mentioned - my apologies and regret at the forget.

The President Jack de Wit, the Old and New Board - they all work hard, participated in many important meetings, networked and took hundreds of calls from the office, while working on behalf of all trails.

The Members - thanks we can't do this work without you!

The Trailhead Ontario support team - Wayne, Wayne, Alexa, Carli, Krupesh, the McMaster University Staffs - a fantastic job - thanks - and to the Hamilton Burlington Trails Council, RTO3-Hamilton-Halton-Brant, for their community support and ongoing partnership.

Our Ontario Government partners - from Minister Coteau, to Carol, Anna, Stephen, Craig, Steve, Gillian and the whole team - thanks for all your support, the OTCC, Bill 100 and 31 - and an implementation plan

To The Niagara Trails Committee and Tracey-Lynn for persevering, and to all the Niagara area communities that we talk to regularly about trails and trail issues, SHCC, UCHA, OFTR, QuadN, Niagara Falls, Thorold, Welland, St. Kitts and 'Port'; as well as all the other Trails Councils and leaders in Oxford, Haldimand, Selwyn, York, Vaughan and Clarington.

To Simcoe for their most generous donation of a HETAP Unit to the OTC so we can audit and assist in the auditing of trails! And all our SMBA pals.

To All at Fontasy Signs, Edge Auditor, Get Out There, Context Creative, Simplicate Interactive, Web2Studio, HWL Fine Art, PODesign, your timely advice and professional guidance keep us showcasing trails.

To The staff at Ministry of Economic Development, Infrastructure and Employment for all the work they put into making Ontario more accessible and helping us do the same for trails.

To the National Trails Coalition and Canadian Trails Federation for working together and making Canada better through collaboration and cooperation - and to INFC and Gov. of Canada for funding trails.

To the Georgian Bay Coast Trail for bringing people together, through trails to support a great vision and new opportunity, with P2P, Explorer's Edge, Muskoka Trails Council and the towns we love up there!

The Trails Education Program and Partners - our faculty, Paul Ronan, Shelley with Ontario Parks Association, Graham Burke, Zane, Matt, Jeff, Algonquin College - thanks for bringing trails knowledge to folks, in Ontario and coast to coast, the folks that helped with the education posters and Trails Talk - + Kate and Robert at Orland Conservation - thanks.

Our Trailhead North partners in Thunder Bay and now Marathon - your places are "Canada wild and free" and we are glad to assist in putting new ideas in play, with you the VTA, Nipigon, Thunder Bay, Path of the Paddle and more.

To Joanna Milarczek, who must love trails more than anyone because for 5 years she's regularly and voluntarily posted new content to the OTC FB page.

To our new friends and supporters, Irena, Jana, Jennifer, and Bob + Bob's team, King Township Horsemen with LSRCA and TRCA, Rare, Gamiing and Ontario Nature.

To my family and friends for their constant support, free overnights at homes on the road, Barry, Kirsten, Steve, Dave, Bonnie, Jack, Wayne and everybody else that makes OTC work -

Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday and a prosperous 2016!

Ontario Trails Council forwards message from MTCS on Trails Strategy

Hello Members of the OTCC

I am pleased to attach the Trails Action Plan for the Ontario Trails Strategy, which is being released today to trail stakeholders.

I wish to thank the members of the OTCC that contributed to the development of the Trails Action Plan through consultations, other engagement sessions, written submissions and many other forums. Your input helped inform its priorities.

The Trails Action Plan will be implemented collaboratively in a consensus-seeking approach with stakeholders, with whom we will continue to engage. A number of Action Items are well underway and others will be scoped in early 2016. Progress will be reported on through the OTCC. Ministry staff will be rolling up a summary for your review at three key points:

i)             Summary of Trails Action Plan Year One Action Items by Scope, Key Milestone Tasks and Target Dates
ii)            Summary of Trails Action Plan Year One Action Item Interim Progress Reports; and
iii)           Summary of Trails Action Plan Year One Action Item Year-End Progress Reports.

You are invited to participate, to the extent of your interest, in scoping and implementing Action Items. Please let Julie Mayorov know of your interests no later than January 8, 2016. Julie may be reached at or by phone at 416 327-0398.

If you have inquiries about specific Action Items please contact Carol Oitment at or by phone at 416-314-7205.

Finally, we are consolidating the results of the Review of the OTCC that was undertaken at the facilitated session in October and will be reporting back with our recommendations at the next meeting. More information on meeting dates for 2016 will be forthcoming in the New Year.

I wish you a happy holiday season!

Steve Harlow
Assistant Deputy Minister
Sport, Recreation and Community Programs Division
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Click the image for links to reports

ontario trails coordinating committee action plan

Trail User Survey 2014

ontario trails user survey 2014

OTC Supports Communities Developing Trails!

Ontario Nature - Trail Development

Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement.

Ontario Nature has two main priorities for our nature reserves: to protect provincially significant ecosystems and species and to connect people to nature. We excel at locating important conservation lands and protecting them.

ontario nature workers adjust trailOntario Nature has taken advantage of the need to work with the communities containing our reserves to establish a partnership that includes outdoor recreational opportunities that foster a strong conservation ethic. Our priority is to work with local community members and businesses to create a network of safe, well-maintained trails and substantially increase promotion and visitation. We hope to inspire people to care about conservation by providing an opportunity to experience natural beauty first hand.

Through this project we were able to rethink our trails from the ground up. This involved evaluating all aspects of our trail work including widths, uses, marking systems, signage, branding, etc. and we are moving into construction phase. We are working to improve our existing trails to meet the new standard and create new trails.

Ontario Nature created new trails at Reilly Bird Nature Reserve and Malcolm Bluff Shores Nature Reserve, as well as improved existing trails at Willoughby Nature Reserve, Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve and Petrel Point Nature Reserve.ontario nature finished trail

Trail improvements included repairing boardwalks, including a short accessible trail, creating new signage that promotes a conservation ethic as well as other local hiking opportunities, and ensuring the width and slopes of the trails are safe and appropriate to the use on all five reserves.

The Ontario Trails Council was pleased to assist through our working relationship with the Canadian Trails Federation, the National Trails Coalition and through direct OTC staff support.

OTC Ramping Up Regional Trail Symposiums

Trailhead Ontario - Renfrew 2016

ontario's highlands tourism organization logoPlanning has begun for Trailhead Ontario 2016. Our hosts are Renfrew County and Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO). Both are long time Ontario Trails Council supporters, and Jason Davies from Renfrew sits on the OTC Board of Directors.

The OHTO is one of 13 regional tourism organizations (RTO) in place to attract visitation to Ontario.  The region is one of the largest in the Province and is located just south of Algonquin Park.  They have been promoting opportunities for visitors to disconnect from the stress of a busy life, throw away the schedule and wander into the breathtaking scenery of the region.

renfrew county logoAs an organization they have acknowledged that having well established and properly maintained trails throughout their region enables visitors to wander Ontario’s Highlands in a variety of ways.

Whether you wander to experience the speed and excitement of ATVing and Snowmobiling or to take in the tranquil surroundings by foot or bike, Ontario’s Highlands has the trail systems to accommodate.

All Sessions at Calabogie Peaks Resort

Program Outline - Calabogie Peaks Resort
June 20, 21, 2016 

8:30-9:00AMRegistrationCoffee Served
9:00-9:15AMWelcome remarksDignitaries
9:15-10:00AMPresentationRenfrew County's Eastern Ontario Trails
10:00-10:30AMPresentationOntario's Highlands Tourism Organization
10:30-10:45AMBreakCoffee Break
10:45-11:15AMPresentationPetawawa - the development of our Regional Trail Association
11:15-11:45AMPresentationOttawa Valley Outdoor Experiences
11:45-12:15PMPresentationParks of the St. Lawrence
12:15-1:00 PMLunch 
1:00-2:00PMPresentationUpdates on the Trails Act and the Ontario Trails Strategy with the Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport
2:00-2:30PMPresentationCity of Ottawa Trails
2:30-2:45PMBreakCoffee Break
2:45-3:15PMPresentationTrans Canada Trail Ontario
3:15-3:45PMPresentationNational Capital Commission
3:45-4:15PMPresentationCycleON - Updates and Progress
4:15-4:45PMPresentationUnderstanding and Preventing Lyme Disease
4:45-5:15PMPresentationSentiers Prescott Russell and Glengarry Trails
5:15-6PMNetworkingCash Bar
6PM - 9PMDinner & Keynote SpeakerFederal Climate Change Initiatives and Trails
8:30 – 9:00AMRegistrationCoffee Served
9:00-9:15 AMWelcome remarksDignitaries
9:15-10AMPresentationTrails Risk Management - Principles
10:00-10:15AMBreakCoffee Break
10:15-11:15AMPlenary SessionTrails Risk Management - How to Say Yes to Trails
11:15-12:00AMPlenary SessionParamedic Wilderness Rescue
Noon-1PMLunchNetworking Lunch
1:00-2:00PMPlenary SessionWater Trails - Developing trails for Use
2:00-2:45PMPlenary SessionOttawa River-Keeper - programs and plans for development
3:00-3:30PMPlenary SessionHunting and Fishing Trail Use of MNRF Lands
3:30-4:00PMPlenary SessionMattawa Trail Development
4:00-4:30PMPlenary SessionFirst Nation Tourism and Trails
4:30PMWrap-up and Next StepsTrailhead Canada 2017!

(subject to change)

Trailhead North - Marathon 


Program Outline 

April 13, 14, 2016 

8:30 – 9:00AMRegistration 
9:00-9:30AMWelcome remarksCoffee Served
9:30-10:30AMPresentationMarathon, Pic River and our Northern Trails
10:45-12:30AMPresentationParks Experiences – Pukaskwa National Park and Neys Provincial
 PresentationGroup of Seven Trail
 PresentationNorthern Ontario Experiences
 PresentationNorthern Ontario Tourism Organization
12:30-1:00 PMLunch 
1:00 – 2:00PMPresentationMinistry of Tourism Culture and Sport
 PresentationFrench River Trail Development
2:00-2:30PMPresentationPath of the Paddle and Trail Auditing
2:30-2:45PMBreakTrans Canada Trail Ontario – Sponsor
2:45-3:15PMPresentationImportance of Trails for Northern Ontario Tourism
3:15-3:45PMPresentationWorld Class Cross Country – Destination Marathon
3:45-4:15PMPresentationOFSC/CCSO and Snowmobile Trails
4:15-4:45 PMPresentationOAC – Ontario Access Coalition – Places to Climb
5:30-6PMNetworkingCash Bar
6PM – 9PMDinner & Keynote SpeakerMy Experience in the Outdoors.
 Silent Auction 
8:30–9:00AMRegistrationCoffee Served
9:00-9:15 AMWelcome remarks 
9:15-10AMPresentationFundraising for Trails and Non-Profits
10:00-10:15AMBreakCoffee Break
10:15-11:15 AMPlenary SessionHunting and Fishing Trail Use of MNRF Lands
11:15-NoonPlenary SessionPresentation: Timiskaming and Nastawgan Trails
Noon-1PMLunchNetworking Lunch
1:00-2:00PMPlenary SessionOutfitters and Tripping – How to Get North
2:00-3:00PMPlenary SessionVoyageur Trail – Developments along the Trail
3:00-3:30PMWrap-up and Next Steps 

(subject to change)

Trailhead Georgian Bay - with GBCT!

georgian bay coast trail

Program Outline - Killarney Mountain Lodge

May 11, 2016 


8:30 - 9:00AMRegistration 
9:00-9:30AMWelcome remarksCoffee Served
9:30-10:30AMAbout The Georgian Bay Coast TrailSponsor
10:45-12:15AMPresentationKillarney Provincial Park - A Lead Partner in Development
 PresentationFriends of Killarney
 PresentationTrail Experiences - Explorer's Edge
 PresentationAuditing and Planning our Route
12:15-1:00 PMLunch 
1:00 - 2:00PMPresentationMinistry of Tourism Culture and Sport
 PresentationIndigenous Peoples Economic Development
2:00-2:30PMPresentationTrail Inventories Georgian Bay Partners
2:30-2:45PMBreakTrans Canada Trail Ontario - Sponsor
2:45-3:15PMPresentationImportance of Variety of Trails
3:15-3:45PMPresentationGreat Lakes Guardian Plant and Trail Inventory
3:45-4:15PMPresentationMinistry of Natural Resources and Forestry
4:15-4:45 PMPresentationRelations with Local Landowners
4:45 - 5:15Wrap-upThanks

(subject to change)

Trails Talk

man using megaphone to call ducks

Join us every other Tuesday at 1pm EST for a lively half hour discussion on trail issues of importance to the trails community. We are pleased to have added an additional topic to the Agenda - see January 12th.
We will be using our Google Hangout to facilitate our Trail Talks. So make sure you have a gmail account and the hangout app added to your gplus account.

Invited presenters include:

January 5th, 2016 - Kinghorn Trail Association - all about the development of this important northern trail with Kirsten Spence.

NEW - January 12th - Land Use Planning - all about securing land for trails, when, how to, and potential pitfalls and problems - with Kate Potter and Robert Orland from Orland Conservation.
January 19th, 2016 - Fundraising for Non-Profit Organizations - with Thomas Allgoewer - a half hour discussion about how to facilitate your organization goals and objectives through fundraising efforts.
February 2nd, 2016 - Edge Auditor - the program that helps you know and log in all the facts about your trail, with Niall Lobely.
February 16th, 2016 - Explorer's Edge - all about the great trails in RTO 12 with James Murphy of Explorer's Edge.
March 1, 2016 - The Georgian Bay Coast Trail - who supports it, what is happening and all about our spring community meeting in Killarney. With Luke Wassegijig and Kirsten Spence.
March 15, 2016 - Trans Canada Trail - with Jane Murphy and Al McPherson. You've heard about it, how is it progressing? How can you support it?
March 29, 2016 - Hiking, what is it? Who does it? What you need to know about community programs, and trail leadership programs - with Bill Mungall
April 12th, 2016 - Trail Building - are you interested? What is trail building all about? Who does it and the skills you need, with stories from trail builder Zane Davies.

2016 Membership Renewal Notices Out!

Thanks to these folks for their paid renewals:

Uxbridge Township
uxbridge township trails map

Village of Hearst

algoma country tourism outdoors things to do village of hearst

This past year the OTC Membership grew beyond 240 members, with over 220 being organizational supporters.

Your support of our work helps us to:
  • travel to communities
  • update the website
  • answer the phone
  • seek other funds for special projects
  • write grants for members
  • mitigate conflict
  • guide users with a where to turn
  • update the youtube, and other social media
  • engage with government
  • promote the design, use and management of trails
  • coordinate meetings
  • manage the education program(s)

Please consider supporting our work
Please consider making a donation or taking out a membership today! We rely on the generous support of the Canadian trail community to allow us to do our work.

Our Mission - to promote the preservation, management, use and development of trails.

folks walking a trail carrying a basket of apples
Everyday, somewhere in Ontario we educate, support a group, lead or assist a community improving its quality of life through trails.

Ask us how we make a difference!


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