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Canada’s trail capital walking on the wild side in Uxbridge

Tell Don Dye to take a hike and he will happily oblige. But he could be gone for days.

Tell Don Dye to take a hike and he will happily oblige. But he could be gone for days.

Dye is among the 85 per cent of Uxbridge residents who are a short hop from the trail system through more than 3,200 hectares of protected green space. It’s that proximity, along with the number and variety of trails, that recently earned the township the federal designation of “trail capital of Canada.”

With the legwork done, now they’re getting the word out, says Uxbridge’s chief administrative officer Ingrid Svelnis, citing new green and white signs proudly proclaiming the title with maps and details and a booth at the CNE.

Visitors of all ages and abilities can travel hundreds of kilometres on foot, bicycle, horseback, skis and wheelchairs on some trails, and on ATVs and snowmobiles along separate routes for motorized vehicles. The trails, which run through forests, wetlands, meadows, a rehabilitated gravel pit, historic villages and residential areas, tie into the major Oak Ridges and Trans-Canada systems.

“Being just an hour from downtown (Toronto), it’s so easy to come up for the day and scoot back,” says Wynn Walters, a local sculptor and volunteer trails ambassador who did the design and graphics for signs and brochures.

There’s a big educational component to the trails, he says, noting descriptive displays on habitats and history, and an art-in-the-park area where artists have painted scenes.

 
 
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