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.

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Trailhead North – promoting trails and trail activity!

Embrace the winter!

Come for a Weekend Visit – Yes, in the Winter! No we’re not kidding! Winter is a great time of year for a short getaway to Ontario. The cities and towns in the region have some great accommodations and there are many fun activities that you can do. Winter is one of the best times of year to play outside and your getaway weekend can include a bundle of different activities. Why not consider: A Ski/Shop Combo – try our ski trails and enjoy some great shopping and dining! Snowmobile Touring – visit a couple of communities over a weekend on your sled! Ice fishing and New Year’s Celebration – party at night, catch fish during the day! Second Honeymoon…

Your Future includes “A Relaxing Stay in Thunder Bay’s Waterfront District”

by  Jim Byers

The scenic backyard view at McVicar Bed & Breakfast walking distance to downtown Photos by Jim Byers

The front porch is big enough to play a game of rugby. There’s a beautiful garden with an iron sculpture of a cyclist, and bright orange tiger lilies and lavender and yellow flowers. And a gorgeous, old-time main floor with beautifully polished wood and high ceilings and an oh-so-solid-they-don’t-make-‘em-like-this-anymore feel.

For more information and to the see the full article visit: http://www.northernontario.travel/thunder-bay/charm-of-bb-part-of-a-relaxing-stay-in-thunder-bays-waterfront-district

Jim Byers

Jim Byers recently retired from the Toronto Star after 32 years (and a day) at the paper. He served as travel editor during the last five years at the Star. Prior to that he covered municipal politics and was twice the paper’s City Hall Bureau Chief. He also covered the Blue Jays in the glory years and was the paper’s Olympics Editor for years, leading the Star’s team at six Olympic Games.