Our Response to Concerns Over the Use of Roadway on the Trans Canada Trail
We offer our deep condolences to Edmund Aunger whose wife as tragically struck by a drunk driver after having left the Trans Canada Trail in 2012. We agree with Edmund that safety is paramount, and are committed to ensuring the Trail is as safe as possible as we continue to develop this multi generational project. The long-term objective of dedicated pathways remains part of the core mission of our organization. Mr. Aunger is certainly free to express his opinion, however, we would be remiss if we did not respond to his inaccuracies, especially as they reflect on the work & support of thousands of volunteers and donors across the country who have invested in this national project.
CLARIFICATION ON THE USE OF ROADWAY
While sections of roads are part of the network, the Trans Canada Trail is not a motorway. In some areas, roadways are interim links chosen in consultation with our partners and local authorities until greenway can be developed; in others, they are currently the only feasible route of the Trail. Our strategy is similar to that taken by other major Trail networks such as the East Coast Greenway (Florida to Maine) and the Camino de Santiago. Decisions regarding the use of roadway are not taken lightly or hastily and without the safety of users being a prime directive, either through reduction of risk or alerts to users where we are aware of those risks.
Given that the trail is a “living, breathing organism” we appreciate first-hand knowledge coming from trail users. Whenever any trail user points out an issue with a section of Trail, we contact that front line trail group, and inform them of the situation. As you can imagine, with over 21,000 km of trail to date, there is a lot of trail to maintain.
- Shared ATV use, referred to as “quadway” in a video promoting the petition, make up 1,825 of the 24,000 km of Trail, and not 5,000.
- Blueway, referred to as “waterway” in the video, makes up 5,775 of the 24,000 km of Trail, and not 7,000 km. It is important to note that the Trail is not only for cyclists,, and canoeing is one of the promoted activities. In certain areas docks have been built to accommodate canoeists, and in others hoists have been installed for individuals with mobility issues who would like to experience the waterways.
- Currently the Trail includes 8,265 Km of roadway, consisting of highways, side roads or country roads. The highest percentage of highway can be found in remote northern regions, where no other option exists.
The Trail is not perfect. However, to cancel or halt development until perfection is achieved would be a mistake. This is why we continue to persevere on an imperfect Trail, and continue to rely on supporters who believe in it.