Monthly Archives: February 2015

Public Notice – Fitness is what Ontario Trails and Trailhead North, is all about!

The Ontario Government released its first update to Ontario’s Health and Physical Education curriculum since 1998 on Monday.

While the government came under scrutiny for the progressive health and sex education inclusions, other shifts in the curriculum also exist, including what appears to be a further shift away from formalized sport, toward fitness.

The new Health portion of the curriculum revamps an out of date document which made little to no mention of topics such as gender identity, self concept, and communications technology, and now encompasses an overall aim at understanding ones self, accepting others, and forming healthy relationships.


Trailhead Ontario – Program Outline Posted

Hi Northern Trail Users! Our program for April 17 and 18th has been posted to the website! Here’s just a snippet of Day One

10:45 – Noon Plenary Sessions Developing Paddling Tourism
Building Northshore
Noon – 1PM Lunch First Nations Trail Development Liz Michano Pic River FN
1PM – 2:15 Plenary Sessions Auditing & Mapping Trails
The Trail Experience

Check out the full presentation line-up at

Just outside Thunder Bay – lot’s to do and see in Oliver Paipoonge

Things to See & Do

Discover everything Oliver Paipoonge has to offer! From outdoor adventure to family fun, farm activities and comfortable accommodations close to local shops, we have something for everyone. Be our guest and let us show you why we’re Growing Naturally!

Kakabeka Falls

Known as Niagara of the North, Kakabeka Falls on the Kaministiqaui River plunges 40 metres over sheer cliffs and some of the oldest fossils in the world. Located in the Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, the area was first used by the Voyageurs as a trade route to the Northwest over two hundred years ago.

Outdoor Fun

Oliver Paipoonge is home to lush forests, clean and sparkling waterways, scenic trails and a diverse range of wildlife. We have something for everyone of all ages during every season. Outdoor lovers can canoe, kayak, snowmobile or go horseback riding or tubing. You can also fish, hunt and camp.

Gear Bag Talk—Safety vs. Necessity on Northeastern Ontario Snow Trails

Talking safety in NE Ontario
Talking safety in NE Ontario

So you’ve got your ride planned and you’re heading out, do you have everything you need to be safe while out on your adventure? If you’ve ridden the Gold Rush Tour or The Abitibi Canyon Loop and areas like Timmins, Cochrane & Sudbury just to name a few, you will know first-hand that often your riding consists of “middle of nowhere” trails, often no cell phone signal exists, and you can go hours on trails without seeing other people. By Matt Corbeil


Trailhead North – promoting trails and trail activity!

Embrace the winter!

Come for a Weekend Visit – Yes, in the Winter! No we’re not kidding! Winter is a great time of year for a short getaway to Ontario. The cities and towns in the region have some great accommodations and there are many fun activities that you can do. Winter is one of the best times of year to play outside and your getaway weekend can include a bundle of different activities. Why not consider: A Ski/Shop Combo – try our ski trails and enjoy some great shopping and dining! Snowmobile Touring – visit a couple of communities over a weekend on your sled! Ice fishing and New Year’s Celebration – party at night, catch fish during the day! Second Honeymoon…

Petition captures support – No traps on trails

When Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Bill Mauro reported to work Monday morning, he was likely trapped with more than 34,000 e-mails.

As of Monday afternoon, more than 38,500 people had signed the ‘No Traps On Trails’ petition, requesting Mauro to prevent more animal deaths on Ontario trails due to baited kill-trap (Conibear) set up near all-season multi-use trails.

The issue struck a nerve for Buckhorn residents Valerie Strain and her husband last December when their dog George’s head got caught in a trap located on Crown land, just a few feet from a side trail near their cottage and within 20 feet of a popular snowmobile/ATV trail.

Buckhorn is about 40 kilometres north of Peterborough.

“He died a slow death, while I struggled unsuccessfully to free him,” said Strain, who launched the online petition a week ago.

She noted the ministry (MNRF), through the area’s local conservation officer, was informed of what happened to George and investigating.

“However, they told us that there are no rules about how close to trails the trap can be set and no requirement to notify the public that they are there,” she added.

“There does not seem to be any way for the public to find out where traplines are. They could be anywhere on Crown land, on your neighbour’s property, even in provincial parks and you wouldn’t know.”

Ontario Tourism is currently running ads that show a family cross-country skiing, while their dogs run off-leash beside them.

“Where is it safe to do that?” asked Strain.

She and her husband no longer feel secure anywhere except on their own property.

The petition also hit the web in light of a similar incident where a dog was killed in Stirling after its head became stuck in a Conibear trap, near the Heritage Trail in mid-December 2014.

There, the “kill-trap” was set within 30 feet of the trail.

Stirling-Rawdon Police Chief Dario Cecchin stated the day following the incident a man was walking his mid-sized dog off-leash on the trail at the time.

“Keeping dogs on leash will keep them safe from traps, predators and from becoming lost,” Cecchin then stated. “Also, trappers need to understand and obey their obligations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.”

Strain and her husband both grew up in rural areas. The couple had no idea of the risk they were taking every time they took their dogs out on the trail across their home.

“One of our responsibilities as pet owners is to keep them safe,” she said. “We failed George in that regard.”

With ‘No Traps On Trails’, Strain wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to another family pet, “or worse” to a child out on a walk with their parents.

To prevent more deaths on Ontario trails and improve the safety of everyone sharing public outdoor spaces, Strain and thousands of supporters urge MNRF to launch a public awareness campaign about the danger to pets and people from active traps and improve trapping practices and regulations.

“Including publishing maps online that show registered trapline areas, setting a minimum distance from public trails and marking trails that run close to traplines,” she said.

While Strain is not surprised by the number of online signatures captured within a week, she did not expect her initiative would escalate “so quickly”. The couple think they have found a middle ground between those who support trapping and those who don’t.

“I think it struck a nerve,” she said.

“I think people care about this. They think the request that we’ve made to the MNRF is reasonable. Even people that support trapping can get behind this.”

Jolanta Kowalski, senior media relations officer with MNRF, says there are steps dog owners like Strain can take to ensure their dogs are not impacted by legally set traps.

“The most important step is keeping control of your pet at all times by keeping your dog leashed,” she said in an e-mail to The Intelligencer.

“I offer my condolences to anyone who has lost a pet under such circumstances.”

She noted MNRF officials will consider any recommendations brought forward that might ultimately reduce the chance of a pet being caught in a trap.

The MNRF’s website has detailed information about trapping laws and practices in Ontario. More information can be found here.

Ski the Beaten Path in Atikokan!

Ski the Beaten Path in AtikokanImages by Bonnie Schiedel

Atikokan, 200km west of Thunder Bay, is home to the Beaten Path Nordic Trails ski club, boasting more than 50km of trails, so I made sure to wedge my cross-country ski gear into the car on a pre-Christmas visit to the in-laws. To be honest, the conditions were merely ok: low grey skies, temperature right around the zero mark, and a brisk wind blowing fine snowflakes around. Still, I had been craving a ski, and the fact that my four-year-old had just received a toy microphone for a gift confirmed my decision to get some fresh air for an hour or so.

Explore Northwest Ontario on Snowshoes

Explore Northwest Ontario on Snowshoes

Looking for a new area of Northwest Ontario to explore this winter? Try Ignace!

tall trees

Related: Embrace Snowshoeing and Celebrate Winter with a Visit to Thunder Bay

Sandbar Provincial Park is about 11 kilometres north of Ignace on Hwy 599. Not staffed during the winter, it’s nevertheless a great spot for some accessible adventure.


Just northeast of the campground is the site of Ontario Rangers camp and a number of trails. There isn’t a chalet or a trail fee, but a handful of volunteers groom a 4.5-km loop for classic cross-country skiing. Grooming isn’t guaranteed, however, which is why snowshoes are an even better option for a tramp through the park. The site is blessed with towering red pines that remind me of a cathedral every time I visit.

on shoes

You can ski or snowshoe around Savitsky Lake, up and down some moderate hills or through a grassy open marsh (frozen, of course). Wildlife sightings are not hard to come by—once, I came across one big oval and one medium oval in a clearing, where a cow moose and her calf had bedded down in the snow for the night. Another time I was trekking along a silent, sunny trail when a ruffed grouse that had burrowed into the snow for insulation suddenly erupted into the air about a foot ahead of me. I shrieked and I’m pretty sure the grouse did too. I’ve also seen snowy pathways where otters had slid down to the river on their bellies, and any number of boreal birds, like chickadees and black-backed woodpeckers. Clearly, they know a great spot when they see it.

Your Future includes “A Relaxing Stay in Thunder Bay’s Waterfront District”

by  Jim Byers

The scenic backyard view at McVicar Bed & Breakfast walking distance to downtown Photos by Jim Byers

The front porch is big enough to play a game of rugby. There’s a beautiful garden with an iron sculpture of a cyclist, and bright orange tiger lilies and lavender and yellow flowers. And a gorgeous, old-time main floor with beautifully polished wood and high ceilings and an oh-so-solid-they-don’t-make-‘em-like-this-anymore feel.

For more information and to the see the full article visit:

Jim Byers

Jim Byers recently retired from the Toronto Star after 32 years (and a day) at the paper. He served as travel editor during the last five years at the Star. Prior to that he covered municipal politics and was twice the paper’s City Hall Bureau Chief. He also covered the Blue Jays in the glory years and was the paper’s Olympics Editor for years, leading the Star’s team at six Olympic Games.

Year-round roofed accommodations at Quetico Park (A Trailhead North Partner)


Year-round roofed accommodations at Quetico Park

Quetico Park

Imagine enjoying all the beauty and nature of Quetico without having to bring much gear or sleep in a tent.

Maybe you are new to camping and want to stay at a park without having to invest in equipment, or perhaps you used to be a camper and no longer want to sleep on the ground.

Whatever your preference or reason, Quetico Park has new digs to accommodate.

At Dawson Trail Campgrounds the artist studio gets converted for winter accommodations for visitor lodging. The artist studio through the summer months is used in our artist-in-residence program and was restored from an old pump-house. Lately it has been also used with a slight seasonal conversion to accommodate skiers and snow-shoers throughout the quiet seasons in the Park.

Another old pump-house in Ojibwa Campground is being converted and will be ready for year-round lodging beginning this summer.

Whether you want to ski from your doorstep, snow shoe out onto a frozen lake to auger a hole to drop a line, you can do it from your doorstep of a cabin right next to French Lake. If you’d rather wait for a day on the beach, swim or dip your paddles in the water, you will be able to access the beach and your canoe from your doorstep.

The latest and most exciting addition to their roofed accommodations is the log cabin adjacent to the main beach. It was once the Nature Centre and has been converted along with a small fridge, fireplace and rustic log furniture for lodging quarters. The log cabin is ready to rent and is available year round.

The Park cross promotes with the Beaten Path Nordic Trails and encourages visitors to try out the local ski trails and works jointly on events to draw visitors to the Atikokan/Quetico area.

With 35 km of hiking and ski trails and unlimited canoe and kayak routes, Quetico has much to offer and now includes a soft bed at the end of your day.

For more information, or to make an online reservation, visit To reserve by telephone, call 1 888 ONT PARK. For a copy of Ontario Parks Guide, call 1 800 ONTARIO

If you have questions about Quetico and its roofed accommodations please call (807) 597 2735.