Friday, January 30, 2015

Ontario Trails News - find you favorite trail and plant tress on trails says OTC in support of Tress Ontario

Find your favorite trail by location!

Idle land? Plant trees with new subsidies urges Trees Ontario

MANITOULIN—Looking to increase the value of your land? Generous tree planting subsidies are now available in Northern Ontario. Trees Ontario, the forest restoration arm of Forests Ontario, will arrange site visits and supply planting crews.

“Significant tree planting subsidies provided by the 50 Million Tree Program can help landowners increase property value, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat, among other benefits,” says Peter Gagnon, Trees Ontario’s Field Advisor supporting the Northern Ontario programs.

Supporting landowners in conservation efforts is a top priority for Trees Ontario. Trees increase property values and improve the health of your land in so many ways. The 50 Million Tree Program makes planting very affordable. In most cases, about 75 percent of the costs will be borne by the program. Landowners with a productive area of one hectare or larger may be eligible.

The 50 Million Tree Program can support landowners who want to fully utilize some of the less productive areas of their farms, particularly those not well suited to agriculture. Trees can shelter livestock and help control stock movement, help with soil management, and reduce flood risk. A Trees Ontario representative will work with you to find the best solution for your property. Planting windbreaks, pond and stream edges, or marginal land can add value to your property.

Contact Trees Ontario for a planting scheme tailored for your land, including advice on tree maintenance and management. Ontario is committed to plant 50 million trees by 2025. Visit to find out more about the 50 Million Tree Program.

Talk to your Northern Ontario Field Advisor, Peter Gagnon, at 705-779-3796 or to discuss your needs and arrange a planting consultation. Peter Gagnon is a retired Registered Professional Forester. He worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources in several capacities: as Unit Forester, Timber Supervisor, and in Education, Public Consultation and Marketing. Peter has years of experience with tree planting and forest management in the north.

Idle land? Plant trees! They will give you and your land a lifetime of benefits.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ontario Trails News - respect the law, snowmobile trail users.

Find your favorite ice-climbing trail!

Respect the law, cops tell snowmobilers

Tuesday, January 27, 2015   by: Staff
City police have issued a news release asking snowmobilers to respect the laws of the municipality.
Where snowmobiles are permitted
You may drive your registered snowmobile on your own property, on the private trails of organizations to which you belong, on private property when you have the owner’s permission or in permitted City zones. (see map).
Snowmobiles are only permitted on public highways when you are crossing it directly, provided that you come to a complete stop before crossing and that you yield the right of way to all vehicles on the highway before doing so.
Where snowmobiles are not permitted
In accordance with the City of North Bay’s municipal by-law, snowmobilers are not permitted to drive:
• on sidewalks, pathways, footpaths, or other pedestrian ways within the city limits;
• in any parks, except those areas illustrated;
• in any school yard or playground within the city;
• on any lake within 500 feet of the closest building on the land,unless you are driving to a direct point on the land to a permitted area, or vise versa.
Permits required to drive a snowmobile in Ontario
You can drive a snowmobile if you have a valid Ontario driver’s licence (any class).
If you do not have a driver’s licence and you are 12 years of age or older, a valid motorized snow-vehicle operator’s licence (MSVOL) will allow you to drive on trails established and maintained by a recreational organization for the use of snowmobiles.
However, you must be 16 years of age or older and have a driver’s licence or a motorized snow-vehicle operator’s licence to drive a snowmobile along or across a public road where snowmobiles are allowed.
Permits required to drive a snowmobile on approved trails
An OFSC (Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs) snowmobile trail permit is required to be displayed on the windshield of your snowmobile in order to ride on the trails. For information on pricing and availability of the permits, visit the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs at or the Near North Trail Association at

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ontario Trails News - find snowshoe and backcountry trails and ATV regulation changes

Find your favorite snowshoe trail at Ontario Trails!

MPP Clark seeks support for ATV regulation change

St. Lawrence News
News – Steve Clark believes it’s an issue of treating new classes of ATVs fairly.
The Leeds-Grenville MPP has launched a petition in support of a private member’s bill to update a section of the Highway Traffic Act. The bill was introduced by Clark’s Progressive Conservative colleague, Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller; it proposes to amend the act by allowing side-by-side, four-seat side-by-side and two-up ATVs on Ontario roadways under the same conditions as other all-terrain vehicles.
Clark emphasized that updating the act would not increase the number of roadways on which ATVs could operate in Ontario; that remains the authority of municipalities.
“This is an issue I have been speaking out about and calling for action on since the legislature unanimously supported a motion to change this regulation more than a year ago,” the Leeds-Grenville MPP stated in a release.
Miller’s private member’s bill is scheduled to have second reading debate at Queen’s Park on Feb. 26. Clark indicated he is disappointed that the Liberal government has not acted on the matter but pleased that the bill will be discussed next month. “I look forward to bringing the support from ATV enthusiasts across Leeds-Grenville to that debate,” the local MPP stated.
Clark noted that the proposal, which is supported by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, would provide a boosts to rural Ontario’s tourism sector because it increases opportunities for new classes of ATVs.
“Owners should be able to legally use their vehicles to access woodlots, trails and hunting and fishing destinations,” the petition reads in part.
Copies of the petition can be downloaded from Clark’s website at The MPP is asking that signed copies of the petition be delivered to his office at 100 Strowger Boulevard in Brockville.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ontario Trails News - Ontario becoming Best Trails Destination Worldwide -

Ontario Becoming Best Trail Destination Worldwide

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.

Ontario Trails News - take a trails course on-line, cycling and trails communities find collaboration works to improve conditions

Lot's of great trail courses - on-line through Algonquin College check our availability today!

Community groups finding collaboration a great way to strengthen neighbourhoods

Toronto neighbourhood associations are finding rewards in reaching across borders with the common purpose of solving urban issues.

Gathering on the West Toronto Rail Path, from left, Bruce Gavin Ward, Liz Sutherland, Donna Cowan and Suhail Barot got together to develop a road safety program.
Gathering on the West Toronto Rail Path, from left, Bruce Gavin Ward, Liz Sutherland, Donna Cowan and Suhail Barot got together to develop a road safety program.
Donna Cowan was appalled at the anger in the streets she witnessed when she started commuting on her electric bicycle a couple of summers ago.
“It wasn’t car against bike only, it was car against car, bike against bike, walker against bike, everywhere,” she said.
So Cowan did what she’s grown accustomed to doing since the neighbourhood association she leads, DIGIN, launched a little more than a decade ago: she reached out to other local groups.
More and more neighbourhood associations like DIGIN — which is committed to the cultural, social, environmental and economic vitalization of the Bloor Street West neighbourhood around Bloordale — are breaking down boundaries and working together to strengthen their areas, Cowan said. She believes collaboration is a must if neighbourhood associations want to get anything done.
“Your community doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Just because you have a border to your group doesn’t mean you cross the street and nothing’s happening,” she said.
On Sunday, Cowan, representing DIGIN, met Liz Sutherland of Ward 15 Cycle Toronto; her Ward 18 counterpart, Suhail Barot; and Bruce Gavin Ward, from Friends of West Toronto Rail Path, to work on a street safety initiative aimed at boosting civility and respect among all people who use the road.
People need to come together to improve an area, she said.
DIGIN has had its successes. It was the group’s idea to launch the BIG on Bloor Festival, a bi-annual street festival aimed at getting people in the neighbourhood talking about how to develop their stretch of Bloor.
“It brought together not only community residents’ associations but also social service agencies, the Bloordale Village BIA (Business Improvement Area), the Bloorcourt BIA, councillors, provincial and federal elected officials. From it, people are still talking; other collaborations are still going on. It was quite fruitful,” she said.
Many community groups that neighbour DIGIN subscribe to her group’s email list to keep up to date, Cowan said.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ontario Trail News - TCT tackles development issues, OTC sent letter of support, we await New Tecumseth Membership

Find your favorite cross country ski trail!

TCT approval to push forward with eye on spring construction

Posted January 20, 2015

The Trans Canada Trail (TCT) coordinator for Southern Ontario reassured New Tecumseth councillors last night that most of the route between Windsor and Ottawa, and Niagara Falls to North Bay was built along abandoned rail corridors (ARC) and had to overcome many of the same concerns and obstacles raised locally by adjacent landowners and farmers.

Jim Paterson's delegation to council was an 11th hour effort to avert passage of the previous week's committee decision to suspend any further work on the TCT in town "until all matters pertaining to the whole phase two of the trails are resolved." Because the motion did not include a deadline, there was a sense it could be delayed indefinitely.

"Over 2,000 km of (TCT) in southern Ontario, and knowing the geography of southern Ontario, the majority of that is through rural agricultural land. A great deal of that trail has been built on abandoned rail lines. So, there has been a lot of public consultation on the development and completion of those trails, and during that consultation, there has been a great deal of similar issues and concerns that have been raised there that have been raised here in the town of New Tecumseth," said Mr. Paterson. "Those are issues such as trespassing, the impacts on agricultural activities, and crops and livestocks, concerns about unauthorized use of the trail, so they're very common. ... And as a result there has been a great deal of efforts to mitigate those issues. Things such as clear and proper signage, control of access at rights of way road crossings to control unauthorized use. Also a number of agreements in place for fencing, and that takes a different variety of forms to mitigate trespassing and crop and livestock issues."

Mr. Paterson said he was in attendance last week when Ward 5 councillor Donna Jebb raised a concern for food safety/security, which propelled him to review how Leamington dealt with similar issues raised by its tomato and cash crop farmers adjacent to their proposed trail, which opened last summer.

"Now, they did have some issues raised, and they were dealt with, with the adjacent landowners - fencing, and signage." When Ms. Jebb suggested "we have not had a full crop year to see if there are any issues," Mr. Paterson replied, "the trail was built over last summer; it was built during the growing of the crops... they did deal with those."

He told Ward 1 councillor Marc Biss that realistic cost estimates put trail development at between $80,000 to $100,000 per km, while assuring Ward 7 councillor Shira Harrison-McIntyre there are many other properties intersected by the TCT.

"With the abandoned rail line, which is the nature of that strip of land that cuts through so many agricultural farms, there are so many crossings," he said. "Where I'm from, we have 44 km of abandoned rail line trail as part of the TCT. We have over 56 agricultural crossings, those crossings are all posted and signed where trail users would come up to it, we have worked with the landowners to make it proper. People know they're coming up to a crossing. On the other side, we recognize the farmer's historical rights to use the trail to get to one side or the other. We honour those."

Ms. Harrison-McIntyre also asked how he would deal with the property issues in New Tecumseth.

"The option to go around is quite costly," he said. "But I think there are always going to be deviations, and it's council's decision to do that. I think the WD Potato, the access along the driveway and back up the road to bypass it, I don't think it's unreasonable. I think from a trail user perspective, it's not as safe as staying on the trail. From our perspective, trail use and trail safety and the quality of trail, is first and foremost, but we know that we can't always have the trail in the best location. And other factors come into play, but we do have areas where it does deviate and go onto roads as long as its safe..... Those are reasonable options."

The approximate hour long debate regarding the trail's fate, circled around "friendly" amendments to Ms. Jebb's original motion. Ward 4 councillor Fran Sainsbury's attempt failed to win support because it didn't provide a sunset clause on negotiationing with the adjacent landowners.

Ward 6 councillor Richard Norcross pointed to a draft recommendation that was prepared for council as part of the 2015 budget package. It stated the Town proceed to tender the trail between the 9th and 10th Line, and between 10 and 20 Sideroad for spring 2015 construction, while simultaneously directing mitigation measures and easements for trail section reroutes be worked out with WD Potato and the bison farmers on the 13th Line. It was approved by council.

Click here to send a Letter to the Editor.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ontario Trail News - some event listings from Ontario Trails!

Be sure to join us for the latest in trails - Trailhead Ontario 2015

New Events Added to our Calendar

Date: 2015-02-01 
Event: Credit Valley Conservation - Hiking 
Type: Hike - Winter 
From beginner to expert, explore our trails! Credit Valley Conservation, along with our partners, manage over 52 km of trails, which includes parts of the Bruce, and Trans-Canada trail networks.

Date: 2015-02-07 
Event: 2015 Tubbs Romp to Stomp 
Trail: Scenic Caves Trails 
Type: Snowshoe 
On February 7, 2015 the Tubbs Romp to Stomp Snowshoe Series will be hosting its annual 3/5KM snowshoe walk and 3KM race at beautiful Scenic Caves

Date: 2015-02-14 
Event: Winter in the Wild 
Trail: Algonquin Lookout Trail 
Type: Hike 
Winter in Algonquin is unforgettable and Winter in the Wild highlights the best of what the season has to offer the whole family!

Date: 2015-02-15 
Event: Red and White FlagFest 
Trail: Brock Isles Trails 
Type: Festival, Sleigh Rides 
Organized by the 50 Years Of Our Flag Committee, Red and White Flag Fest is a winter carnival and festival aimed at all ages as we celebrate the 50th year of our Canadian Flag.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ontario Trails News - more on snowshoeing in Muskoka, and join the discussion on our snowshoe page

Find your perfect - snowshoe trail, and join our discussion on this activity!

Huntsville Forester
LAKE OF BAYS - The snow is thick across Muskoka and that makes it perfect weather for a snowshoe.
The first of six guided snowshoe adventures was held Jan. 17 and hosted by the Township of Algonquin Highlands. The different trips each have a unique focus and cover topics including surviving winter, the ecology of winter and the history of forestry.
Craig Mcdonald, a former recreation specialist at Algonquin Park, led the first class of about 15 people through the history of snowshoeing.
“The emphasis was on getting a better appreciation for the Aboriginal heritage of snowshoeing in North America. It gives people perspective of how finely developed it is. There are so many different types of snowshoes for different conditions and different terrain conditions. This is something that’s evolved over thousands of years,” said Mcdonald.

"There are so many different types of snowshoes for different conditions." 
- Craig Mcdonald

The adventure started at the Oxtongue Lake Community Centre before participants embarked on a guided snowshoe trek of a nearby property. McDonald has spent years working around Ontario and shared his in depth experience on things like traversing the wilderness and why snowshoes are designed the way they are.
An expert with a wealth of knowledge on snowshoes, Mcdonald told participants about the many different types of snowshoes, how they’re made, why they were so crucial to native tribes and even provided a number of stories of his own experience.
Mcdonald believes that the snowshoe has stuck around both for it’s utility and its ability to provide unique experiences for those looking for winter recreation.
“It allows you to access areas that you couldn’t otherwise,” said Mcdonald. “They are ideally adapted to North American forests. We have a lot of fallen timber, and skis, without a highly prepared trail, aren’t as good for travelling in these types of conditions. Snowshoes can handle virgin snow with no previous packing.”
For more information, or to book attendance in a future snow show adventure call 705-766-9968. Or, visit the website at
The last snowshoe adventure is scheduled for Feb. 22.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ontario Trails News - meetings on Toronto Trails, snowmobiling trails issues and OTC on Wikipeida

Find out which snowmobile trails are open

Wiarton Echo

Riders ready, but trails need work in Grey-Bruce
As of late Monday afternoon, the interactive trail map showed no open trails in southwestern Ontario. The closest with "limited availability" were in the ...

Custom ATV Stolen in Howick

Police say it appears someone got in through an unsecure main bay door; found the keys to the ATV in the garage cupboards; and drove it away.

Brantford Expositor

Groups eager for Greenbelt Act review
The Greenbelt Act is up for a 10-year review this year, and farm, business and ... TheOntario Federation of Agriculture will push to strengthen Premier ...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ontario Trails News - a lot of snowmobile news, and a profile of Yours Outdoors

Lot's of snowmobiling news - check out our page!

More than a Snowshoe Hike: An Experience with ‘Yours Outdoors’

Snowshoeing is an ideal winter activity in many ways because it doesn’t take ideal conditions, it is inexpensive, and it is easy to do just about anywhere. While many people appreciate the sport for its simplicity as a get outdoors and be active kind of outing, others need more. If you’re looking to get children and teens to fully embrace the fun of a snowshoe outing, or have friends who need a reason to get out, experiential tourism with Yours Outdoors may be the answer.
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Yours Outdoors
Located in the Haliburton Highlands in central Ontario, Yours Outdoors is focused on providing people with more than an outing. Experts in Experiential Tourism (not just seeing something but immersing yourself in it and becoming a part of it), the company and its guides have been bringing the outdoors alive with their unique and customizable packages since 2004.
Haliburton Highlands
Haliburton Highlands is one of the most beautiful settings in central Ontario. Famous as a tourist and cottage area, the region shares the same remote natural beauty as its neighboring Algonquin Park, combined with 600 lakes and rugged hills that gave it the highlands name (comparable to the Scottish highlands and named by early settlers).
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The region boasts a strong visual and performing arts community, miles of cross-country ski trails and miles of hiking trails, perfect for snowshoeing. Many of the trails are connected to local resorts, making them very accessible, and in some cases providing stopping places along the way.
The Highlands are filled with bed and breakfast lodgings, small and larger resorts and cottage opportunities so it’s possible to find a variety of options to make a snowshoe trip here into a weekend or even week-long getaway adventure.
More than a Tour
Under the direction of Experience Broker and company owner, Barrie Martin, all of Yours Outdoors’ adventures are designed to incorporate elements of the art, culture, heritage and nature that make up the region. Martin himself uses his more than 28 years’ experience as an educational specialist backed by a degree in wildlife biology and a keen interest in the highlands to create outings that are educational, engaging and filled with local history and highlights.
OTTP -atthecabin_002
Many experiences are supplemented by experts in a variety of fields who bring authentic and distinct flavor to the adventure. While some packages have been pre-planned, Martin takes pride in creating unique and interesting custom packages to suit the group, time of year and specific interests.
One pre-set package Martin created for the regional government is called the Story of Snowshoes. This experience includes time with local snowshoe collector Craig MacDonald who shares stories about his incredible collection of heritage snowshoes, followed by a hike and the opportunity to personally compare both traditional and modern snowshoes. For a family or a group of people just being introduced to the sport, this is a great way to explore the idea that snowshoeing is about more than an aided winter walk and is a chance to connect to the history and craftsmanship at the heart of the sport.
During the Art and Syrup of Maple experience, participants take a snowshoe hike through a sugar bush to check out modern and traditional methods for collecting and processing the syrup. When the spring snow is too soft for skiing and the lake ice too thin for skating, this is a great way to spend a warm, late winter, early spring afternoon outdoors.
Martin’s Family Fun on Snowshoes experience can include active games, animal tracking and role-playing games. Experiences like this provide a great snowshoe introduction for kids because they will be engaged, entertained and active.
Another experience, called Walk into Winter, can be planned for either a full or half day. Customizable, as with everything else, the tour might include a glimpse at the history of snowshoes, a hike with tips on winter travel and survival along the way, and a campfire with a bush lunch for a truly authentic feel.
For a really unique outing, the Heritage Adventure includes a snowshoe walk to a fur trade post and a visit with an 18th century  fur trader who will take you back in to Canada’s history with stories and a traditional meal of baked beans, wild rice and bannock (a traditional flatbread).
More than Just a Day Trip
For those who are looking for more of an adventure, overnight and weekend outings are a great way to fully experience nature and the region.
“Snowshoeing itself has merit,” says Martin. “But when you can add in education and interpretation, it makes it more than an activity. It makes it an experience.”
He says he gets requests from school groups who use his programming to make curriculum come alive, from families looking to create unique memories, and from groups of friends looking for an experience beyond the ordinary.
For a snowshoeing adventure that is about more than a winter hike, check out
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