Responsible trail management in Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park offers some 200 kilometres of official trails for hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and skiing. But it also has an unofficial trail network that exceeds the Park’s official network, and continues to grow.

The unofficial trail network that has developed over the years is having a significant environmental impact on sensitive habitats in this conservation park. To address this issue, we are seeking to reduce the overall negative impacts on the Park’s ecological health, while improving the trail network to meet user needs. This exercise will help us to do the following:

  • Respect the Park’s conservation mandate.
  • Enhance the recreational offer by providing diversified outdoor experiences.
  • Identify unofficial trails that must be closed because of environmental sensitivity, and/or health and safety risks.
  • Propose a select number of new trails that could be made official.
  • Encourage frequent users and Park residents to become ambassadors and guardians of these trails.
  • Inform the review of the Gatineau Park Master Plan.

Consultations

We have held several workshops and sessions with Gatineau Park users, interest groups, stakeholders, resident associations and elected officials to share information and find solutions to reduce the environmental impact caused by the use of unofficial trails.

Round 1: Kick-off workshops to present issues

  • June 16, 2014: Gatineau Park user groups
  • October 1, 2014: Residents and Pontiac elected officials
  • October 9, 2014: Gatineau Park user group representatives

Round 2: Workshop on protected habitats and collaboration options

  • April 16, 2015: Gatineau Park users, interest groups and stakeholders

Round 3: Workshops on specific user groups’ needs and level of involvement

  • October 21, 2015, and February 3, 2016: Mountain bikers
  • November 4, 2015, and February 10, 2016: Hikers
  • November 16, 2015, and February 17, 2016: Winter trail users
  • November 23, 2015, February 22, 2016, and April 25, 2016: Residents close to Gatineau Park

Round 4: Sessions on proposed changes to the trail network

  • Winter 2017

Next steps

We will report on the changes to be made in the Park’s trail network following the winter 2017 consultations. Stay tuned.

The results of these consultations will also inform the review of the 2005 Gatineau Park Master Plan, due to begin in 2017.