Canada's Nearly 15,000-Mile "Great Trail" Aims To Be Connected Next Year

Sep 13, 2016

Long-distance hiking trails have an adventurous attraction to them. People set out on the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail with dreams of endurance, austerity, wilderness and distance. 

In Canada, they've been working on a slightly different kind of project called The Great Trail. While it doesn't have the same claims of wilderness as the AT and PCT, the Great Trail wins hands-down when it comes to distance covered.

Valerie Pringle, co-chair of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation, spoke to Vermont Edition on Monday about the project. She explains that the Great Trail's scope is 24,000 kilometers, or about 15,000 miles.

"So it stretches from coast to coast to coast – this is Atlantic to Pacific to Arctic Oceans – and links 15,000 communities across Canada and heads north," Pringle says.

The Great Trail is multi-use and covers all kinds of terrain. Pringle says there are a variety of trail types that comprise it, including urban trails, bike trails, hiking trails, even water trails.

Pringle explains they are careful to not refer to when the project will be "completed," instead focusing on the goal for "connecting" the Great Trail. "We're working very hard at this moment for connection – and we're very careful about the use of that word – connection in 2017," she says. "And 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation, so there'll be great celebrations across our country next year.

"And this project began, in essence, after the Canada 125 celebrations in 1992, so there's a symmetry to kind of push and get connections there and link all these recreational trails across the country."

Pringle also talked about how the project got started, some of the key players and why she in particular cares about this project, as well as shared suggestions for what Vermonters can check out in the Quebec section.

Listen to the full interview above.