Public Notice – Fitness is what Ontario Trails and Trailhead North, is all about!

The Ontario Government released its first update to Ontario’s Health and Physical Education curriculum since 1998 on Monday.

While the government came under scrutiny for the progressive health and sex education inclusions, other shifts in the curriculum also exist, including what appears to be a further shift away from formalized sport, toward fitness.

The new Health portion of the curriculum revamps an out of date document which made little to no mention of topics such as gender identity, self concept, and communications technology, and now encompasses an overall aim at understanding ones self, accepting others, and forming healthy relationships.

More…..

Trailhead Ontario – Program Outline Posted

Hi Northern Trail Users! Our program for April 17 and 18th has been posted to the website! Here’s just a snippet of Day One

10:45 – Noon Plenary Sessions Developing Paddling Tourism
Building Northshore
Noon – 1PM Lunch First Nations Trail Development Liz Michano Pic River FN
1PM – 2:15 Plenary Sessions Auditing & Mapping Trails
The Trail Experience

Check out the full presentation line-up at Trailheadnorth.com

Gear Bag Talk—Safety vs. Necessity on Northeastern Ontario Snow Trails

Talking safety in NE Ontario
Talking safety in NE Ontario

So you’ve got your ride planned and you’re heading out, do you have everything you need to be safe while out on your adventure? If you’ve ridden the Gold Rush Tour or The Abitibi Canyon Loop and areas like Timmins, Cochrane & Sudbury just to name a few, you will know first-hand that often your riding consists of “middle of nowhere” trails, often no cell phone signal exists, and you can go hours on trails without seeing other people. By Matt Corbeil

More…..

Petition captures support – No traps on trails

http://www.intelligencer.ca/2015/02/09/petition-captures-unexpected-support

When Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Bill Mauro reported to work Monday morning, he was likely trapped with more than 34,000 e-mails.

As of Monday afternoon, more than 38,500 people had signed the ‘No Traps On Trails’ petition, requesting Mauro to prevent more animal deaths on Ontario trails due to baited kill-trap (Conibear) set up near all-season multi-use trails.

The issue struck a nerve for Buckhorn residents Valerie Strain and her husband last December when their dog George’s head got caught in a trap located on Crown land, just a few feet from a side trail near their cottage and within 20 feet of a popular snowmobile/ATV trail.

Buckhorn is about 40 kilometres north of Peterborough.

“He died a slow death, while I struggled unsuccessfully to free him,” said Strain, who launched the online petition a week ago.

She noted the ministry (MNRF), through the area’s local conservation officer, was informed of what happened to George and investigating.

“However, they told us that there are no rules about how close to trails the trap can be set and no requirement to notify the public that they are there,” she added.

“There does not seem to be any way for the public to find out where traplines are. They could be anywhere on Crown land, on your neighbour’s property, even in provincial parks and you wouldn’t know.”

Ontario Tourism is currently running ads that show a family cross-country skiing, while their dogs run off-leash beside them.

“Where is it safe to do that?” asked Strain.

She and her husband no longer feel secure anywhere except on their own property.

The petition also hit the web in light of a similar incident where a dog was killed in Stirling after its head became stuck in a Conibear trap, near the Heritage Trail in mid-December 2014.

There, the “kill-trap” was set within 30 feet of the trail.

Stirling-Rawdon Police Chief Dario Cecchin stated the day following the incident a man was walking his mid-sized dog off-leash on the trail at the time.

“Keeping dogs on leash will keep them safe from traps, predators and from becoming lost,” Cecchin then stated. “Also, trappers need to understand and obey their obligations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.”

Strain and her husband both grew up in rural areas. The couple had no idea of the risk they were taking every time they took their dogs out on the trail across their home.

“One of our responsibilities as pet owners is to keep them safe,” she said. “We failed George in that regard.”

With ‘No Traps On Trails’, Strain wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to another family pet, “or worse” to a child out on a walk with their parents.

To prevent more deaths on Ontario trails and improve the safety of everyone sharing public outdoor spaces, Strain and thousands of supporters urge MNRF to launch a public awareness campaign about the danger to pets and people from active traps and improve trapping practices and regulations.

“Including publishing maps online that show registered trapline areas, setting a minimum distance from public trails and marking trails that run close to traplines,” she said.

While Strain is not surprised by the number of online signatures captured within a week, she did not expect her initiative would escalate “so quickly”. The couple think they have found a middle ground between those who support trapping and those who don’t.

“I think it struck a nerve,” she said.

“I think people care about this. They think the request that we’ve made to the MNRF is reasonable. Even people that support trapping can get behind this.”

Jolanta Kowalski, senior media relations officer with MNRF, says there are steps dog owners like Strain can take to ensure their dogs are not impacted by legally set traps.

“The most important step is keeping control of your pet at all times by keeping your dog leashed,” she said in an e-mail to The Intelligencer.

“I offer my condolences to anyone who has lost a pet under such circumstances.”

She noted MNRF officials will consider any recommendations brought forward that might ultimately reduce the chance of a pet being caught in a trap.

The MNRF’s website has detailed information about trapping laws and practices in Ontario. More information can be found here.

jerome.lessard@sunmedia.ca

Ski the Beaten Path in Atikokan!

Ski the Beaten Path in AtikokanImages by Bonnie Schiedel

Atikokan, 200km west of Thunder Bay, is home to the Beaten Path Nordic Trails ski club, boasting more than 50km of trails, so I made sure to wedge my cross-country ski gear into the car on a pre-Christmas visit to the in-laws. To be honest, the conditions were merely ok: low grey skies, temperature right around the zero mark, and a brisk wind blowing fine snowflakes around. Still, I had been craving a ski, and the fact that my four-year-old had just received a toy microphone for a gift confirmed my decision to get some fresh air for an hour or so.

Find out more about Nipigon Trails! A Trailhead North Partner.

nipigon trail

This 8.2 km hiking trail, which connects the Nipigon and Red Rock marinas, takes between 2 ½ to 3 hours to complete.

The trail from Nipigon hugs the shoreline of the Nipigon River as far as Sawmill Point. This part of the trail is easy walking and affords the hiker a chance to view the wildlife on the river, including bald eagles, blue herons, peregrine falcon, pelicans, and a variety of waterfowl. Moose, deer, otter and beaver may also be seen along the trail in the summer, and in the winter wolves and fox are sometimes observed on the frozen river.

At one point the trail crosses a causeway where there is a viewing deck giving the hiker views up and down the river. Interpretive signage has been provided along the trail…..more

Map here

Dorion – A Birding Paradise – and A Trailhead Ontario Partner!

Dorion – A Birding Paradise on Superior's Shore

Do you have an interest in Birds? Birding? Or Bird Watching?

If your answer is yes, you will want to plan a trip to the north shore of Lake Superior region to take in the annual Canyon Country Birding Festival in Dorion held each year in late May. The Dorion Birding Festival is your opportunity to spend two great days in Canada’s Great Outdoors experiencing bird watching in the majestic setting of Lake Superior and the proposed Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.

Dorion is a small community located on the northern shore of Lake Superior, with the Hurkett Cove Conservation Area andOuimet Canyon fast becoming known as North American hot spots for birding. Dorion is less than an hour’s drive east ofThunder Bay where you can connection into Thunder Bay International Airport with Porter Airlines, Westjet, Air Canada and now United Airlines out of Chicago.

This is your opportunity to enjoy two full days of guided birding excursions. Experience an outdoor wilderness experience like no other as you walk the trails and paths at Hurkett Cove, Ouimet Canyon and the Nipigon River Recreation Trail. TheHurkett Cove trails are maintained by the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority. Ouimet Canyon is an Ontario park while the Nipigon River Trail connects the towns of Red Rock and Nipigon and is part of the Trans Canada Trail.

2013 will mark the fifth year for the Canyon Country Birding Fesitival, with over 100 species of birds to see. With the help of experienced guides, all with a wealth of local knowledge, you can expect to see a wide variety of birds from eagles, hawks, ruffed grouse to chickadees, woodpeckers, jays, nuthatches, and finches plus waterfowl like ducks and geese.

Northern 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: BayToday.ca Staff

City policehave 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 athttp://www.ofsc.on.ca or the Near North Trail Association athttp://www.nnta.ca.

Hiking The Giant, Ontario’s Largest Network of Hiking Trails

Sea Lion - Famous View at Sleeping Giant Provincial ParkSea Lion – Famous View at Sleeping Giant Provincial ParkPhotos by Richard Boon

Local hiking enthusiast, Richard Boon, provides a guide to hiking the Sleeping Giant, noting Ontario’s largest network of hiking trails is located in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park a short drive outside of Thunder Bay.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, near Thunder Bay, is the place to go in Northwest Ontario for anyone who takes their hiking seriously.

The park, located on the Sibley Peninsula about an hour outside Thunder Bay, features more than 100 kilometres (62 miles) of trails, giving it the longest trail system of any Provincial Park in Ontario.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to gain a little experience, or you’re a seasoned hiker in search of new adventures, there is a trail that will suit your skill level and reward you with thrilling scenery, glimpses of wildlife, or hidden treasures such as secluded sandy beaches.

From and MORE at http://www.northernontario.travel/thunder-bay/hiking-the-giant-ontarios-largest-network-of-hiking-trails

Ontario becoming Best trail destination – worldwide, includes northern trails

Ontario Becoming Best Trail Destination Worldwide

La Cloche Silhouette Trail in Ontario Canada

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.
As written by trailsnet.com