Spring movement on our 150KM of Trails
North Grenville Times, by: Barb Tobin; Issue #12 March 26th 2014
The Trails Advisory Committee, like most of North Grenville, is happy to see spring arrive so that the projects we are working on can continue. There have been dollars allocated for two major areas this year that will continue to enhance the trail commitment Council has made to our 150 km trail system. The Settlers Grant Trail link behind the subdivision to County Rd #44 was cleared last year, and final preparation for use this year is on target. This will be the biggest expenditure for the year ahead.
When the weather cooperates, we will be looking to lay the surface to create a walking /bicycling trail that will take up most of the budget dollars. This is a key link to the FFC Forestry Trails and a good link into OldTown Kemptville. The Ferguson Forestry Centre have been great partners as we worked through this next phase of the system. One of the concerns the committee had was the signage for trails and the variety of signage. As a part of last year’s budget, and along with FFC, we have been able to produce some clear, modern signage that is ready for posting and that we believe will be very user friendly. The signs will be installed as the weather permits. The committee will have a booth at the Sustainable Fair in April to continue to get our message out. The new signage will be on display and the booth will be overseen by committee members.They would be very happy to have you stop by to share your ideas and view our pamphlets and new signage.
An important next step in our trails plan has seen dollars allocated this year to get the drawn design prepared for a trail that will link Rotary Park along the west side of the Rideau to the bridge on Hwy 43. Having the completed design prepared and approved will allow for this section of the trail to proceed when dollars are available. This particular trail area has been on the table since the 150th Anniversary Celebrations. It was agreed by the committee it will be an excellent enhancement to that particular area of the community.The committee feels we are making progress in the community and are now even seeing theengagement of our partnerships as one of the areas of strength we have in place to help promote using our trail connectors.
We heard a presentation from the Safe Travel to School Organization. This group is already piloting projects with the Upper Canada District School Board and they are hoping to do one in our community soon. This initiative is encouraging, something many of us remember, walking and biking to school. Their program and data highlighted for our committee the important work having a trail system that links to major areas like our schools is.They are encouraging less vehicle transportation and promoting self-propelled focus is somewhat environmental, which is a bonus, but leans heavily on the healthy lifestyle approach we hope that people using our trails will benefit from.
Our committee will continue to be interested, and assist where possible, this project as it develops. Interesting to note was that their statistics read that an extra hour a week in a vehicle translates into an extra 5% rise in obesity rates over an extended period of a year. Healthy active living is, and will continue to be, what our committee wants to encourage and support. We had a presentation from Geoff McVey from Limerick Forest. He reminded us of the great recreational trails and facilities available to our community. They host walking, biking, cross country skiing, horseback riding, motocross trails, and tobogganing activities in Limerick. They also have active logging in the forest. He detailed the many partnerships they have that are an integral part of managing this asset. This is a very key component that our staff and committee & council hope we can move toward with our trails. The partners mentioned here along with our staff and new partners will be key to keeping our trails system vibrant and a real network within our community. He reinforced our need to continue seeking and ensuring active partnerships, which gives the community active ownership of our trails structure.
This is a component that will be integral to our committee, staff, and council as we move forward on the trails. Our trail structure is unique to North Grenville. The 150-kilometer designation is not just wooded trails and pathways but links through our large community with sidewalks and roadways. It speaks very clearly to the rural urban make up of North Grenville. As the weather continues to improve, we will continue to work toward the enhancement of the trails, with a focus on communicating the trails system. The committee also hopes to encourage the importance of a healthy active lifestyle. Here is to the next seasons of getting out and active in our community.