BROCKVILLE -- The St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC), along with the Ontario Trails Council (OTC), will begin public consultations in June on the creation of a regional trails committee.

The goal is to create a Regional Trails Committee (RTC) to represent regional trail interests along the Thousand Islands Parkway.

"Creating a Regional Trail Committee for the Thousand Islands Parkway multi-use trail will formalize and strengthen the relationship between municipal, regional and provincial partners," said Hon. Bob Runciman, St. Lawrence Parks Commission Chair, in a press release on Friday. 

"St. Lawrence Parks Commission looks forward to this long-term commitment and working relationship with Front of Yonge Township and Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands to gain a better understanding of local issues and solutions that work for residents, frequent trail users and visitors alike," Runciman added. 

"We are grateful to the Ontario Trails Committee for providing their experience and expertise to help us navigate this important process."

The SLPC and OTC are working under a formal memorandum, with the OTC able to help guide the public consultation process.

This past winter, plowing concerns were raised along the paved and unpaved portions of the Thousand Islands Parkway Recreational Trail, which runs for nearly 40 kilometres from Brockville to Gananoque.

It runs through two townships, Front of Yonge and Leeds and the Thousand Islands, who each had different opinions on whether the trail should be plowed throughout the winter months.

"Front of Yonge Township is looking forward to the Regional Trails Committee partnership, and encourages all users to support the RTC and the regional trail system," said Mayor Roger Haley in the release. 

"The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is extremely excited by the proposed RTC partnership and how it will shape the use of our beloved regional trails," said Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke of the Township of Leeds and The Thousand Islands. "We encourage users, neighbours and visitors alike to look into supporting the RTC and the maintenance of the regional trail system. Everyone has a part to play in ensuring our trails are available for all to enjoy now and in the future."

The first public meetings are scheduled for June 2 and 3, and will be held virtually. The meetings are open to anyone.

Once the consultation process ends in September 2021, the RTC will be established as an independent body.

The full press release from the SLPC can be found here