The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve has received a grant from Mountain Equipment Co-op to improve infrastructure and access to several of the Amazing Places.
Ten Amazing Places were nominated by the public to showcase special features of the Georgian Bay Biosphere region. The program wants to connect people to nature, and is developing a route with community partners to encourage people to get outside and experience the 30,000 Islands area.
The $14,368 from MEC will go towards signage, bike racks, and trails to enhance access to Amazing Place locations. Partners at each place will install trailhead signs that highlight activities year-round, natural wonders, and cultural history.
Maps of cycling routes will accompany the bike racks – designed by Active Transportation – for downtown Parry Sound and throughout the region. Finally, the grant will support the work of volunteers at Killbear Provincial Park by improving trails and wheelchair accessibility on the Twin Points Trail, and by providing over 200 wayfinding signs for Georgian Nordic’s trail system.
As the project grows, it will encourage more people to get out and explore the Amazing Places in eastern Georgian Bay, highlighting unique species, geology and views that depict the character of the region. Photo contests, school field trips, and citizen science programs are all planned, as well as expansion of the website, visitamazingplaces.ca.
“We are happy to see partnerships that strengthen trails and active living,” says Lynn Middaugh, Director, Development and Leisure Services for the Town of Parry Sound. “Our Trails Master Plan highlights the need for infrastructure and trail maps. Residents and visitors will benefit from the Amazing Places program which is spread throughout the region.”
Activities supported by the project extend to all ages and abilities: in-town cycling on the popular Rotary and Algonquin Regiment Waterfront Trail in Parry Sound; hiking, walking, jogging, biking, and skiing at the Georgian Nordic Activity Centre and and extended access to provincial parks, spring through fall.
Wil Smith from Get Outdoors Parry Sound says he’s excited about the year-round trail signs at Georgian Nordic: “New signs will help skiers, hikers and mountain bikers stay on the right trail loops. They will help people navigate better and improve their safety.”
“Amazing Places is focused on improving access by developing and promoting areas that can handle visitor traffic,” said Allison Graham, project intern. “The grant from MEC will help us to improve the experience with light infrastructure while minimizing impact to the natural environment.”
1 French River Gorge: Check out the pedestrian bridge for an incredible view.
2 Lynx Loop: Venture over to the Georgian Nordic Activity Centre to find 30 km of year-round trails.
3 Twin Points Trail: This 1.8 moderate trail showcases the breathtaking scenery of Killbear Provincial Park.
4 Hole in the Wall: Cruise through this narrow channel of steep rock cliffs and ancient trees.
5 Waterfront Trail: An accessible 8km trail on the Town of Parry Sound’s shoreline.
6 Tower Hill Lookout: Climb 30 meters up to enjoy a spectacular 360° view of the Sound.
7 Park to Park Trail: Stretching 230km in total, this multi-use trail invites hiking and biking.
8 The Massasauga: Paddle through this cluster of islands to witness incredible geological patterns.
9 Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh: Provides tours and trails of the vast cranberry bog, year-round.
10 Christian Beach: The west side of Beausoleil Island in Georgian Bay Islands National Park provides incredible sunsets.