||"A Short History of the National Trail" - the first 25 years (1971 - 1996)
A firsthand account of the origin and development of Canada's national hiking trail movement by founder and past president Douglas Campbell
|"Age matures a trail"
– Founder, the National Trail of Canada
||The National Trail movement
was born on 29 April at a meeting of leading national
outdoor and youth organizations convened in Toronto
to consider a cross-Canada trail.
||The National Trail Association
of Canada was registered as a national society under
Letters Patent dated 23 August.
||National coverage was
given to plans in a full feature article appearing
in Outdoor Canada.
||First national meeting
funded by Fitness Canada was held in Ottawa, resulting
in creation of a national executive with regional
representation: Atlantic Provinces, Quebec, Ontario,
Prairie Provinces, and British Columbia.
||Premiere of the NTAC's
audio visual Challenge of a Lifetime was
shown at the International Congress on Trails and
Waterways Recreation in Vancouver.
||First National Hiking
Trail marker was posted on Parliament Hill at an
inaugural ceremony involving international environmentalist
Maurice Strong and Speaker of the House John Fraser.
A message from Prime Minister Brian Mulroney reads
"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am
delighted to extend my warmest greetings and sincere
best wishes to the members of the National Trail
Association of Canada on the occasion of the launching
of the trans-Canada recreational trail corridor.
||Hike Ontario endorsed
the National Trail route and recommended completion
of marker posting on the existing system in Ontario.
||Sentier national au Quebec
(La Federation quebecoise de la marche) inaugurated
the first 42 kilometre section of the National Trail
|An 18 kilometre section of the City
of Medicine Hat's trail system was declared part
of the National Hiking Trail, the first in Alberta.
||National Trail marker
was posted at Banff's Cave and Basin, heart of the
national park system, in a ceremony dedicating the
70 kilometres "Gateway to the Rockies"
|The exceptional walk of Susan Oleskevich from Ontario's Devil's Glen to Tobermory and back, posting Sentier National Trail markers on the Bruce Trail section of the National Trail.
||The 55 kilometre section
of the National Trail in Quebec's Gatineau Park
was dedicated and marked, linking at the Ottawa
River with Ontario's Rideau Trail.
|National television coverage was
provided on CBC's Midday programme in a segment
devoted to the National Trail.
||In the Cypress Hills,
a 40 kilometre section spanning the Alberta-Saskatchewan
boundary was opened at a ceremony at Fort Walsh,
a joint project involving park authorities from
both provinces as well as Parks Canada.
||Posting of National Hiking
Trail markers was completed on the entire 58 kilometres
of the Dobson Trail in New Brunswick.
||Quebec opened three new
sections, bringing the total to 150 kilometres in
|National Trail marker was redesigned
with a hiking motif, then distributed and posted
where necessary on existing route.
|The Federation of Mountain Clubs
of BC at its AGM in June accepts the challenge to
build the BC section of the National Hiking Trail.
||Federation of Mountain
Clubs of BC at its AGM in June approves a northern
route through central BC as the best possible route
||The Federation of
Mountain Clubs of BC meets in April and gains
approval and cooperation from local hiking clubs
and organizations to route the trail from Crescent
Spur to Bella Coola using five historic trails:
the Historic Goat River Trail, the Historic 1861
Gold Pack Trail, the Blackriver Trail, the Telegraph
Trail, and the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail (Alexander
Mackenzie Heritage Trail). Opening ceremony for
the Crescent Spur to Bowron Park section of the
National Hiking Trail. Thirty kilometres of this
portion includes the historic Goat River Trail.
|The National Trail Association designed
and set up a display booth at the National Trails
Conference at Owen Sound and directors participated
in conference sessions.
|Multiple trail openings in Quebec
finalized 650 kilometres of the province's planned
||The Federation of Mountain
Clubs of BC met in Nanaimo, BC to finish planning
the Port Hardy to Victoria route. The seven island
clubs of the Federation were able to agree on a
route. Well over half of the trail is now outlined
on existing trails.
||In September directors
from all regions of Canada met in Ontario to build
momentum to finish this hiking trail.
|Trailmarker posted on the East Coast
Trail at Cape Speare, Canada's most easterly point.
|In the Spring, members of Hike BC
met to discuss plans for trail development in Dunster
and Quesnel. About 40 people were in attendance.
||In October, directors
from most regions of Canada attended the AGM in
Moncton. The delegates finalized the name of the
trail as the Sentier Pedestré National/National
Hiking Trail. The Hike Canada En Marche logo was
|Hike BC delegates met in Quesnel
and Dunster to do the planning for the upcoming
summer. About 40 people were in attendance.
|Delegates put in about 30 kilometres
of rough trail up the East Twin Creek area towards
Jasper. The last 48 kilometres to Jasper still needs
to be developed.
||In October 2004, our
Third Annual General Meeting was held in Canmore.
Several important issues were covered including
revamping our constitution and a production of an
annual report which is bilingual (French and English).
||Banff and Jasper National
Parks approved for undefined passage of trail, a
corridor in excess of 350 km.
|Québec hosted the AGM in rural
||Following the AGM of
Winnipeg, discussions were initiated with Saskatchewan
|Québec opened two sections
totalling 44 km.
||Hike Nova Scotia Society
founded at provincial meeting, representing interest
at hiking community.
|With additional trail openings of
28 km, Québec route now extends a total of
||At Calgary meeting, representative
of 16 hiking groups initiated formation of Hike
||Financial setbacks to a major golfing development in Alberta's Bow Valley led to subsequent insolvency and further delay to the 18-year wait for closing the gap in this scenic section of route.
||Negotiations between Alberta government and forestry industry opens up the prospect of route continuity between Barrier Lake and the Bragg Creek area, completely traversing Kananaski Country to the prairie region.
||BC Provincial Govermment "fully supports Hike BC and the National Hiking Trail, and the guidance provided in the Trails Strategy for BC will serve to help pave the way for this important trail initiative."
||Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation provides reassurance that trails approved for NHT use in 1991 within Kananaskis and Cypress Hills are fully recognized and remain intact.
|At the Hike Ontario 40th AGM in Guelph in November, Certificates of Recognition were awarded to Bruce, Ganaraska, Oakridges, Rideau and Voyageur trail systems for their contribution over the last 40 years, inclusive of 15 clubs that actually maintain the NHT route. The entire section of existing route is around 1800 kilometres.
||The HCEM AGM was held on June 14 via internet in a coast-to-coast conference with 14 participants participating in the 2-hour video face-to-face session, with discussion on broad agenda covering many topics including consistent trail-signage and internet mapping. Patrick Harrison was returned as President.
||On December 16, Hike Nova Scotia met with the provincial Minister of Natural Resources to work together towards recognition and support for the National Hiking Trail and its linkage to the Appalachian trail system.