Jan 27

Ontario Hiking and Backpacking Trails

Ontario Becoming Best Trail Destination Worldwide

La Cloche Silhouette Trail in Ontario Canada

La Cloche Silhouette Trail

If you are planning your summer hiking excursion, you may want to add Ontario to your short list. Over the past couple years,  Ontario has become one of the leading trail destinations worldwide. If you search trail information on Twitter, chances are, you’ll run across a number of trail-related Twitterites in Ontario. In general, Ontario provides a robust outdoor recreation scene with trails as one of their main focuses. Although hiking and backpacking trails make up the lion’s share of their trail system, bike trails are also beginning to pop up throughout the province. Whereas certain cities such as Amsterdam, Portland, Denver and Minneapolis are well known for biking and other areas such as Colorado, California and British Columbia are noted for hiking, Ontario is quickly and quietly becoming Trail Central by providing great trail opportunities including biking trails, hiking trails and backpacking trails. What sets Ontario apart among the various worldwide trail opportunities is their trail infrastructure and trail support system such as that provided by organizations such as Ontario Trails Council.

Trail Access via Parkbus

So what is trail infrastructure? Of course it includes the construction and maintenance of trails themselves, but where Ontario seems to have a distinct edge is trail access. A region can have thousands of miles of trails, but without access to those trails, many people will be left out of the loop. Consider that most trail users are quite environmentally conscious and big supporters of alternative transportation. Therefore, the idea of driving cars to trailheads goes against the environmental ethos of many avid trail users. That’s where a service such as the non-profit Parkbus initiative, in Ontario Canada, is way ahead of the game. Parkbus links major urban areas such as Toronto and Ottawa to nearby outdoor playgrounds such as Bruce Peninsula, Killarney, Georgian Bay Islands, French River and Grundy Lake. The Parkbus service is a boon to hikers, backpackers, canoeists and bicyclists.

Park and Trailhead Access

Take a look at the Parkbus website, and you’ll notice an award-winning system that connects both locals and tourists to the great Canadian outdoors. Start by checking out the pull-down menu below their DESTINATIONS link to find out information about recreational and trail opportunities in Algonquin Provincial Park, Killarney Provincial Park, Bruce Peninsula National Park and more. Each web page features useful information about outdoor recreation packages, canoe trips, backpacking information, campground availability, lodging and trail information. You will find information about everything from short day hikes to the spectacular La Cloche Silhouette Trail in Killarney Provincial Park. At 78 km (49 miles) this is truly one of the best long distance loop hiking trails in North America.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2015/01/27/ontario-hiking-backpacking-trails/

Jan 16

Safe Community Paths are the Answer

Walking to School Isn’t Inherently Dangerous

boy walking on trail

Encourage kids to walk!

Parents in Maryland are being investigated because they let their elementary children walk a mile home from school. If they really believe that the community isn’t safe for walking, then they should be using their time and resources to build safe community trails rather than hassling parents for doing something that they should be congratulated for. Kids should walk to and from school. It’s good for exercise, good for the environment and good for independence. Instead of avoiding issues, we should be meeting them head-on rather than treating the symptom. In this case, the only legitimate safety issue is cars, and that issue can be avoided simply by building safe paths around schools and throughout the community.

Build Community Trails One Mile at a Time

Community trails and bike paths are a wise investment. They are much cheaper than constantly building more roads and constantly battling childhood obesity. Trails can be built one section at a time and should be required infrastructure that is built every time new roads, bridges & housing developments are built. A modest up-front investment in community paths will save money over the long run and promote a more healthy citizenry.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2015/01/16/safe-community-paths-answer/

Jan 12

Sark Island: A Car Free Paradise

Island Trails

Sark island trail for bikes & pedestrians

La Coupee Route on Sark

The Island of Sark is tough to get to, but well worth the journey. It is located off the coast of Normandy, France, but accessed, indirectly from England. Since there is no airport on the island, the only way to get there is on a boat from England to Guernsey and then another boat from Guernsey to Sark. Once there, you’re still not home free. Since cars are not allowed on the island, your boat will land at one of the world’s smallest ports, you’ll walk through a tunnel, then you’ll ride a horse-drawn wagon to your accommodation. Now you’ve got to admit, that sounds fun.

Walk, Ride Bike or Ride Horse Drawn Carriage

Once on the island, you have three choices for transportation. If you are a hiker, you’re in luck, because whether you’re on a coastal path or one of the main ‘thoroughfares’ of Sark, you do not have to worry about traffic. Since cars aren’t allowed on the island, you have no fears of pollution, traffic jams or getting run over by a texting driver. If you’re a bicyclist, you’re also in luck, because you’ll be king of the road… well other than those pesky horse-drawn carriages. But don’t worry, you’re safe. The horses are quite friendly as are the carriage drivers.

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Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2015/01/12/sark-island-car-free-paradise/

Dec 29

Trailsnet Foundation

Vital Trail Infrastructure

Munro Trail on Lanai, HI

Island Trail

When we think of charitable causes for third world countries or for the environment, we often think of food, clothing, shelter & medicine. And these are fine charitable contributions. But these contributions are futile unless there is a way of getting them to where they are needed. Typically these contributions come from developed countries where transportation is as simple as getting in a car, truck or bus and going from point a to point b.  But what if neither roads nor vehicles are available? In many ways, no roads is  positive rather than negative. But some form of transportation is vital for people and supplies. It just doesn’t always have to involve roads and internal combustion vehicles. The transportation infrastructure can be trails and the mode of transportation can include foot travel, bicycles, and other personal transportation vehicles (PTVs). In many cases, the current trail structure is wonderful for basic pedestrian travel. However, just like developed countries have come to rely upon roads for their transportation/freight needs, smaller countries & island communities rely on a trail system for these same needs. However, they could use help in upgrading these trails. Over the next couple years, Trailsnet intends to focus our efforts on two specific geographic regions to help the local people improve their trail systems. It will be up to the locals as to whether they want the trails to be used for: foot traffic only, recreation, transportation, hauling supplies or tourism. (or, of course, a combination of the above)

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Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2014/12/29/trailsnet-foundation/

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