Lots of signs of spring at Ontario Parks – some in the north too!

JIM FOX, SPECIAL TO QMI AGENCY

Mar 31, 2015

, Last Updated: 11:43 AM ET

You know it’s spring in Ontario Parks when you discover these 10 signs.

Lori Waldbrook of Ontario Parks has put together this list, starting with seeing moose that are salt-depleted by the end of winter.

They head to roadside ditches to lick up road salt especially along Highway 60 in Algonquin Provincial Park.

Then there’s hearing the great horned and eastern screech owls and seeing mourning cloak butterflies in forests on sunny days and spotting spring tails, tiny insects that look like black powder on patches of snow and downed wood.

Listen for a chorus of spring peepers – tiny frogs on warm evenings – seeing the sap flow and turning into maple syrup, hearing the chickadees sing and the tundra swans return en route to the Arctic.

You can see buds forming on trees during a spring park hike and see experienced paddlers on an ice-out adventure with higher water levels that allow them to explore areas not accessible by canoe or kayak in the summer.

More details on the Ontario Parks blog.

Full Article Here http://www.canoe.ca/Travel/Canada/2015/03/31/22318891.html

Ontario Investing in Cycling Infrastructure – should help tourism and trails

NEWS RELEASE

Ontario Investing $25 Million in Cycling Infrastructure

Province Supports Safe, Active Transportation

April 1, 2015 8:00 A.M.

Ministry of Transportation

As part of Ontario’s 20-year #CycleON strategy, the province is moving forward with a $25-million investment over three years to create a more cycling-friendly future for the province.

This includes $15 million for cycling routes that provide key connections and linkages on provincial highways, such as paved highway shoulders and barriers on bridges that separate cyclists from vehicles. Early proposals include:

  • Highway 33 west of Kingston (part of the Waterfront Trail)
  • Highway 137 structure over the 1000 Island Parkway (part of the Waterfront Trail)
  • Highway 6 on Manitoulin Island and south of Highway 17 at Espanola (part of the Georgian Bay Cycling Route)
  • Highway 17B and Highway 17 between Sault Ste. Marie and Espanola (part of the Lake Huron North Channel Cycling Route)

The province has also dedicated $10 million to the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program to help municipalities:

  • Expand their local cycling routes
  • Connect with provincial cycling routes
  • Launch pilot projects to make cycling improvements

Consultations on the municipal program have concluded and the launch is on track for spring 2015. Work is also underway to identify a provincewide network of cycling routes in collaboration with a broad range of cycling stakeholders.

Investing in infrastructure is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • According to the National Trauma Registry, Ontario has the second-lowest cycling injury rate of all Canadian provinces.
  • Ontario has enhanced the Driver’s Handbook to include information about sharing the road safely with cyclists.
  • Ontario’s public education efforts to promote cycling safety include Cycling Skills, Young Cyclist’s Guide, a partnership with TVOKids targeting children and parents and support for stakeholders to deliver public education resources at the community, regional and provincial level.
  • According to the Canadian Medical Association, a 10 per cent increase in physical activity could reduce direct health-care expenditures by $150 million a year.

Additional Resources

Quotes

Steven Del Duca

“We know that working with our partners is key to creating a more cycling-friendly Ontario. We’ll continue to engage municipalities, road users, businesses, advocacy groups and non-governmental organizations to make sure we get it right.”

Steven Del Duca

Minister of Transportation

Kathryn McGarry

“Cycling helps to build more healthy, active and prosperous communities as it generates a wide range of health, economic, environmental, social and other benefits.”

Kathryn McGarry

Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation

There is some debate in the cycling community that this is a re-commitment to an announcement made in April 2014.

Baited traps on recreational trails? – caution needs to be used and postings examined

2015-03-28-1427564070-9791215-iStock_000057806914_small.jpg

The trapper feels he took ‘reasonable precautions’ to protect the public. Well, I strongly disagree.

Last December, a friend and I were walking along a public snowmobile trail on Crown Land just north of Peterborough, Ont., with my two yellow labs. My dog George was killed that day by a baited conibear trap set beside the trail.

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), through a local Conservation Officer, has investigated the death and informed us by telephone that the investigation is closed; the trapper broke no laws.

I have to ask: How can it be completely legal to put a lethal, baited trap right on a public trail? It was bad enough with my pet. What if I’d been walking with a child?

Link to full article – http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/valerie-strain/baited-trap-dog_b_6961554.html

Trailhead North – connecting northern trails, connecting northern communities!

Developing regional trail network can have tourism benefitsLOCAL

Area trail development coordinator Kirsten Spence says developing a regional trail network can help boost tourism.

Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
Area trail development coordinator Kirsten Spence says developing a regional trail network can help boost tourism.

By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY — An area trail development coordinator sees a vast amount of untapped potential in Northwestern Ontario.

Kirsten Spence gave a presentation to the Thunder Bay District Municipal League and said trails are overlooked when it comes to their ability to enhance regional tourism.

“They’re an excellent product that’s already developed which can be used to keep people half a day long or an hour longer in a community, that’s a success,” Spence said.

“A lot of municipalities are looking at trail development as a way to diversify their economies moving from single sector to multi sectors. Trails are one of those offerings that can help municipalities with attraction.”

She said there’s an extensive inventory of existing trails through Northwestern Ontario that can all play a part in showcasing the region.

There’s already evidence showing trails can serve as an attraction.

“You look at the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. That park has a lot of trails and that’s a large reason why people visit that park,” she said.

Nipigon Mayor Richard Harvey has been working on developing both local and regional trail development strategies as a tourist draw.
Having a network benefits the entire region.

“What people have to realize is if you have one good tourist attraction you’ll get some people to come in for a day,” Harvey said. “If you have attractions through a whole region people will stay an awful lot of longer and that money they spend is not only multiplied, it’s multiplied exponentially.”

Development is ongoing with the Kinghorn Rail Trail, which would use a discontinued rail corridor to provide a path from Thunder Bay to Nipigon.

Spence said the project is a “work in progress” as developers are trying to get it right.

“Most people aren’t going to travel the 111 kilometre trail at one time,” she said. “We have to make sure it’s well planned out in terms of access areas and logical starts and stops.

Harvey sees the Kinghorn Rail Trail, which has been discussed since 2005, as having the potential to be a significant draw.

“That could easily become a world-class trail where people would come from around the world for things like the Pass Lake Trestle, the incredible vistas and views, the lakeside experience you can have on that trail,” Harvey said.

The rails have already been cleared from the trail while the ties are in the process of being removed. There are also a number of hurdles which need to be cleared, which Spence hopes an upcoming Provincial Trails Act will help address.

Tags in this story: LOCAL NORTHWEST
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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…..

Epic Adventures – hiking date Feb 7.

Hi Hikers – http://www.epicadventures.ca/

Putting together another Hike Club outing.  Looking at going this Saturday, February 7 at 12 noon.

Destination will again be in the Baldspot Trail System, however we will be doing a different loop.  Will be starting at the MNR and proceeding up to do the Widowmaker.

This trek will be fairly short 3-4 km, but I imagine we will have to break trail on the Widowmaker, so this will slow down the pace.  We may skip into one of the already packed side trails, this depends on how much effort we use to break the Widowmaker.

Remember to pack snacks, fluids and snowshoes. Also dress accordingly for weather.

Please advise if you will be attending or not.

Michael – Epic Adventures

Trailhead North – a discussion amongst users and managers, April 17, 18, 2015

A a group of trail stakeholders

We want to encourage this – http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/2015/01/14/more-snowmobiling-trails-expected-to-open-in-coming-weeks

We want to avoid this: http://www.saultstar.com/2015/01/26/chapleau-groups-demise-has-ripple-effects