Winter use trails in Ottawa are expanding
While Gatineau Park is a beacon for cross-country skiing and other winter activities in the national capital region, an expanding network of winter trails in Ottawa are becoming popular for cold climate fun.
Nancy Shaver has been looking forward to snow.
"Yeah, I was waiting for the snow to be deep enough; and today, the final dusting has made it kind of smooth," said Shaver.
On Friday, she was skiing on a trail next to the Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa's west end.
"I used to go to Gatineau Park, but now we have so much good skiing in the west end, that I haven’t been in about three years," Shaver tells CTV News Ottawa.
The network of groomed multi-use winter trails in Ottawa continues to expand. According to the National Capital Commission, there are over 100 kilometres of trails groomed for shared winter recreational activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat-biking and walking.
"The Ottawa west trails are great, especially early in the season - because they’re on the bike path," says Shaver.
"I live in Kanata, and I think this is great," says Nigel Wallis, president of the Kanata Nordic Ski Club. "I think it’s one of the unique features that Ottawa has, that almost no city in Canada has."
The Kanata Nordic Ski Club grooms the Ottawa West Winter Trail where the two networks meet.
"So we thought we could use our capital equipment, our groomers, our snow machines and work with the NCC - the National Capital Commission to groom a much bigger and broader set of trails," he says. "That makes it even more accessible.”
"The ski club has seen a surge in membership," says Roger Colbeck, coordinator for the Ottawa West Winter Trail.
"They’re just so many people wanting to get out; and, this just provided an extension for the club, but also we’ve just seen the general public are just looking for places to get out and do winter activities that are right in the heart of the city"
He says the Ottawa West Winter Trail continues to grow.
"Last year was actually our first year, where we created the name and tried to brand it a little bit; and this year, we’re expanding it by another 5 km," said Colbeck
Those additional 5 km will link the trail from March Road to Carling Avenue at Andrew Hayden Park, where it will now link up with the Britannia Winter Trail Association.
"Last year, we added a pilot extension through Andrew Hayden Park to the edge of Dick Bell Park, and in the east, out to Deschênes Rapids," says Marlene Cross with the Britannia Winter Trail Association. "Those have become permanent this year."
And, while that trail doesn’t quite make it all the way to the Kichi Sibi Winter Trail, that one goes all the way downtown. It does offer some scenic views too.
"It’s an amazing addition to our neighbourhood,” says Cross.