The Dryden Observer

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Trans Canada Trail’s Path of the Paddle takes shape

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
A stylized look at the historic route which will traverse just part of a 900 kilometre canoe route between Thunder Bay and Kenora — Northwestern Ontario’s section of the the Trans-Canada Trail. Image submitted

By Chris Marchand

A regional organization has formed around the idea to complete the Northwestern Ontario leg of the Tran-Canada Trail in the form of a historic 900 kilometre canoe route.

The Path of the Paddle will run from Thunder Bay to the Kenora area making use of traditional pathways travelled by our ancestors. It’s an approach that has always made sense in the Northwest, as the region’s rocky, and swampy landscape would present significant challenges for traditional trailbuilders both in funding and executing an overland route.

Now comes the fun part for volunteers across the region who will finalize the route, clear portages, build bridges, and put up the signs that will hopefully establish a new eco-tourism destination for wilderness travellers.

On Oct. 19, a local group of Path of the Paddle volunteers will stage a work party to clear a portage between Trap and Dore Lakes. Those interested in volunteering can contact local representative Jack Harrison at 223-7216.

The Trans-Canada Trail is projected to open coast to coast by 2017. For regional trailbuilders, getting access to the farther-flung wilderness portions of the trail will be a challenge.

“It’s a big task, that’s for sure,” said Atikokan-based Paths of the Paddle consultant Ange Sponchia. “But it’s a really exciting project because it’s one of the longest water routes on the Trans-Canada Trail. It’s going to be great for the region.”

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