News Local

County opens portions of Algonquin Trail

By Celina Ip

On Dec. 20, local dignitaries and members of the public attended a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of a section of the Algonquin Trail in Renfrew.

On Dec. 20, local dignitaries and members of the public attended a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of a section of the Algonquin Trail in Renfrew.

The County of Renfrew has officially reached the end of the road for sections of the Algonquin Trail, just in time for the new year.

 

On Dec. 20, local dignitaries and members of the public attended the two monumental ribbon cuttings ceremonies to mark the first official openings of sections of the trail in both Renfrew and Arnprior.

Renfrew County, Lanark County and the Township of Papineau-Cameron formed a partnership in 2011 and recently signed a lease and donation agreements to acquire ownership of the 296-kilometre abandoned Canadian Pacific Rail between Smiths Falls and Mattawa. The County’s portion of the corridor runs from the Arnprior/Ottawa border in the south to the Renfrew/Mattawa border in the North.

This past June, County of Renfrew Council passed a motion recommending that the 219 kilometre Algonquin Trail portion of the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail (OVRT) be designated as multi-use, which includes all methods of self-propelled transportation, as well as horseback riding, snowmobiles, ATVs and side-by-sides.

“This trail is an emerging major attraction for tourists engaged in hiking, snowmobiling, cycling, all terrain vehicle (ATV) touring, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and nature observation especially with new the connection to the K&P Trail to Calabogie,” said Peter Emon, councillor with the County of Renfrew.

Proceeds from the 2017 Pembroke Zombie Thrill Run combined with the partnerships established with the local snowmobile clubs, and ATV club provided funding for the necessary upgrades to allow these sections to be opened at this time.

“Without the OFSC/SnowCountry support of their volunteers and their success in obtaining $360,000 in grants this year, we wouldn’t have been nearly as far along in trail use as we are this year. Also, the great success of the Zombie Run demonstrates the importance of the Algonquin Trail to the citizens of Renfrew County and the tourism opportunities to come,” said Walter Stack, reeve with the Town of Arnprior.

The trail corridor passes through 10 municipalities within the county and the City of Pembroke, and will form the “spine” of a future county-wide trail network as contemplated in the County of Renfrew Trails Strategy.

Bob Sweet, Town of Petawawa mayor and chair of the Algonquin Trail Advisory Committee and the Development & Property Committee, expressed that it’s a great milestone to see sections of the Algonquin Trail now open for the public to enjoy.

“Partnerships have made today possible, as this started with a partnership between Lanark County, Papineau Cameron Township, and the County of Renfrew. It’s all about partnerships and some of our partners are here today, including the ATV Club, the Snowmobile Club, the Cycling Club, the OVTA, and the Federal Government through the CFDC,” said Sweet. “This is the beginning of a long journey of 296 kilometres that is going to be stone-dusted throughout Renfrew County. It’s a great economic development tool, it’s a great tourism tool, and it’s the backbone to a huge trail opportunity in Easter Ontario, connecting us to some 4000 kilometres throughout the Province of Ontario. This is an exciting day here in the County of Renfrew.”

cip@postmedia.com 



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