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Ontario Trails Strategy

ISBN #: 0-7794-8872-5
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The Ontario Trails Strategy is a long-term plan that establishes strategic directions for planning, managing, promoting and using trails in Ontario.

What is it?

The Ontario Trails Strategy is a long-term plan that establishes strategic directions for planning, managing, promoting and using trails in Ontario.

Who developed it?

Government and stakeholders in a collaborative and highly consultative process
Ministries responsible for tourism, transportation, agriculture, food, and rural affairs; citizenship, culture, public infrastructure, finance, natural resources, northern development and mines, Aboriginal affairs, environment, former Management Board and the office of the Attorney General
Stakeholder organizations represented trails, the agricultural community, the municipal sector, landowners, foresters, fur traders, and environmental, cultural/heritage, conservation/stewardship, outdoor recreation and tourism interests

What types of trails will the Strategy focus on?

The Ontario Trails Strategy will focus on all single and shared-use outdoor designated trail networks in urban, rural and wilderness settings that are used for recreation, active living, utilitarian and tourism purposes including but not limited to:

  • Trails with natural (e.g. hiking, cross-country skiing) or treated surfaces (e.g. bicycle greenways/paths/lanes)
  • On-road bicycle routes
  • Walkways, boardwalks and sidewalks
  • Trails located on transportation and utility corridors
  • Access roads (i.e. for forestry and mining) “designated” for trail use
  • Trails that are integrated with public transit services
  • Waterway routes (e.g. along designated Canadian heritage rivers including the French, Humber, Mattawa, Rideau and Thames Rivers) and portage routes

Background

  • July 2003 – established an inter-ministerial Directors’ Working Group on Trails
  • December 2004 – established a Minister’s Advisory Committee
  • Winter 2005 – hosted workshops on trail related topics
  • February to March 2005 – hosted regional consultations
  • April to May - developed the Strategy
  • October 6, 2005 - the Strategy was launched which includes $3.5 million in funding over five years for implementation

Vision Of The Ontario Trails Strategy

A world-class system of diversified trails, planned and used in an environmentally responsible manner, that enhances the health and prosperity of all Ontarians.

Core Values

  • Respect private and public lands, including agricultural lands, Crown lands and the traditional land-use areas of Aboriginal communities
  • Protect, conserve and appreciate the environment and cultural and natural heritage features
  • Provide a variety of trail opportunities in keeping with the diverse nature of Ontario’s population
  • Value regional differences and support local decision-making
  • Adopt good planning principles and approaches

Key Strategic Directions

  • Improve collaboration among stakeholders
  • Enhance the sustainability of Ontario’s trails
  • Enhance the trail experience
  • Educate Ontarians about trails
  • Foster better health and a strong economy through trails

Progress Report

The Ontario Trails Strategy contains 52 deliverables that will support “a world class system of diversified trails, planned and used in an environmentally responsible manner, that enhances the health and prosperity of all Ontarians.” As of July, 2006 the status of key deliverables is:

  • A Coordinating Committee has been established that meets three times per year
  • The Miinistry and the Ministry of Natural Resources have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding to map Ontario trails
  • A review of legislation affecting trails is under way
  • A review of off-road vehicle use is under development
  • A total of 17 trails related grants were issued in 2005 -2006 and 17 grants have been issued in 2006 - 2007, totalling $440,000