Trails and Greenways

 Canada was founded along the many waterways utilized by the native people, early explorers, fur traders and pioneers. As Canada became a more developed nation, the automobile and roads began to dominate the landscape and trails were almost forgotten, except in our protected areas and parks.

Today, Canadians in increasing numbers are participating in trail related activities spurring the growth of trails all across the country for hiking, walking and cycling.

Trails take many different forms, from a simple natural surfaced footpath through the wilderness, like the Great Divide Trail in Alberta, to the popular paved "urban" trails or bikeways.

Many early trails were developed through the work of volunteer trail organizations, such as the Bruce Trail Association in Ontario. As interest grows for the development of more trails, different types of groups representing specific trail use, such as SNOWMOBILING, hiking, cross country skiing, and trail biking are becoming more active. In addition, many communities are acquiring trail access along abandoned rail lines. "Rails to Trails" is becoming a popular movement across Canada, following the successful example of the Rails Trail Foundation based in Washington, DC, where a program to develop trails over abandoned rail lines has been in place for over 25 years.

Today, trails are becoming popular tourist attractions generating economic benefits for communities or regions which encourage their development and upkeep. Trails are also the catalyst for improving deteriorated urban lands or river corridors, with many groups, service clubs and dedicated individuals taking charge of their development.

Trails can encompass a single path or route such as the Gold Rush Trail or represent a network of linkages connecting a variety of natural and constructed features or trail experiences such as the 200 km trail system in the 100 Mile House-Williams Lake region of BC or the proposed multi-faceted trail system in Haliburton County, Ontario. Many communities across Canada from Halifax to Victoria are developing trails for "commuters" travelling by bicycle.