Responsible trail management in Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park offers some 200 kilometres of official trails for hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and skiing. There is also an unofficial network, which has become larger than the Park’s official network, and continues to grow.

The unofficial trails that have developed over the years have a significant environmental impact on the sensitive habitats in this conservation park.

The Responsible Trail Management project aims to meet our environmental obligations and comply with the Park’s conservation mandate, while enriching the offer of recreational opportunities by providing a variety of outdoor experiences. To do this, we are undertaking the following:

  • Integrating approximately 100 kilometres of unofficial trails into the official trail network, and these trails will be accessible to users;
  • Naturalizing approximately 200 kilometres of unofficial trails, to protect sensitive habitats, and these trails will no longer be accessible to users.

We take our job of responsible trail management seriously, and we need the support of the public to succeed. Please help us by using only the official trail network and obeying all signage.

Integrated Trails

Proposed trails were evaluated according to the following:

  • Legally protected species at risk
  • Wetlands
  • Rivers, lakes and streams
  • Legally protected habitats
  • Erosion
  • Field and GIS analysis
  • Level of use
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Experiential appeal
  • Design and sustainability
  • Level of maintenance required
  • Accessibility
  • Active transportation

Project Implementation

Between 2014 and 2017, public consultations were held with park users, stakeholders, associations and elected officials to share information and find solutions to reduce the environmental impact caused by the use of unofficial trails.

Please note that trails identified for integration will not be part of the official trail network until their official opening.

The project will be implemented in phases from 2018 to 2021.

Summer 2018

14.43 km

Summer use: Biking, hiking
Winter use: Depending on the trail, winter biking and snowshoeing

Work begins: Mid-June 2018
Expected opening: Late summer 2018

Summer 2018-Spring 2019

16.49 km

Summer use: Biking and hiking
Winter use: Winter biking and snowshoeing

Work begins: Mid-July 2018
Expected opening: Spring 2019

Summer 2019-Spring 2020

18.25 km

Summer use: Biking and hiking
Winter use: Depending on the trail, winter biking, snowshoeing and back-country skiing

Work begins: Summer 2019
Expected opening: Spring 2020

Summer 2020-Fall 2021

61.73 km

Summer use: back-country hiking (self-guided)
Winter use: snowshoeing and back-country skiing

Work begins: Summer 2020
Expected opening: Fall 2021

Volunteers

We are currently working with volunteers from the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association to carry out the trail work for phases 1 and 2.

We will be seeking volunteer involvement in this project for phases 3 and 4, planned to begin in summer 2019. Sign up for our Gatineau Park newsletter to stay informed about volunteer opportunities.