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.

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 influence the review of the Gatineau Park Master Plan

Renewing the trail network

To follow up on the public consultation of April 27, 2017, we would like to receive your comments regarding the initiative for responsible trail management in Gatineau Park.

In order to complete the survey, we suggest that you read the following to familiarize yourself with the initiative.

Objectives

Meet our environmental obligations

  • Comply with the Park’s conservation mandate.
  • Reduce habitat fragmentation in the Park.
  • Comply with provincial and federal laws protecting species at risk and fragile habitats.
  • Target the unofficial trails that should be closed because of environmental sensitivity or risk to user safety.

Enrich the recreational offer

  • Offer users a diversified experience.
  • Meet the needs of the greatest number of visitors.
  • Enrich the recreational offer through the diversification of outdoor experiences.
  • Target a certain number of new trails that can be made official.
  • Reduce the safety risk for users (e.g. risk of getting lost in the unofficial trail network).
  • Encourage frequent Park users and nearby residents to become trail ambassadors. 

Several information documents are available if you would like to learn more about the proposed new trail network. Please see Maps and Publications section.

Proposal

Responsible Trail Management - Sector Map

Renewed trail network

  • The new network proposes approximately 310 kilometres of official trails, which represents a reduction of about 220 kilometres in terms of the total footprint.
  • Three- to five-year implementation period.
  • Creation of volunteer work groups to implement the initiative.

Three years of consultation

Stakeholder consultations

The NCC has held several workshops and sessions with interest groups, stakeholders, residents’ associations and elected officials to share information and find solutions to reduce the environmental impact caused by the use of unofficial trails.

Round 1: Kickoff workshops presented the 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

  • March 8, 2017

Public consultation

  • April 27, 2017

Next steps

We will report on the changes to be made to the Park’s trail network, following the spring 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.