Our History

Brooks Falls

Supporting the Trails Community for over 30 years

A Few of Our Proud Accomplishments:


  • $1.47 million to Kate Pace Way
  • $172K for trailhead signs on 65 trails
  • $900K for local Trans Canada Trail projects
  • $700K for Voyageur Cycling Route infrastructure and marketing
  • Advocacy resulting in paved shoulders on Hwy 654, 64, 94 and municipal roads


  • ReCycle Bikes Program – 861 bikes donated
  • Trail Maps and website with 690K page views since 2007
  • Trail Experiences pairing trails with local businesses

In the Beginning

The original concept of Discovery Routes evolved in the late 1980’s from a group of individuals and representatives of local and provincial agencies who were committed to implementing a recreational trail system in Ontario’s Near North area.  The goal of enriching community life was presented by linking communities across the region through traditional trails and rights-of-ways. Established in 1992, Discovery Routes Trails Organization was a trails advocacy group, the first of its kind in Ontario taking a regional approach to the development and coordination of a multi-use trail system.

The Early Days

In 1994, a study was completed for Discovery Routes which highlighted the importance of trails not only for their recreational value, but as an activity that contributes to the economic vitality of the region. Facts that remain even more relevant today with increased awareness of the need for healthy, active lifestyles and a new generation seeking active and experiential opportunities.

Discovery Routes was granted its not-for-profit incorporation in 1998 established for the purposes of promoting and coordinating a shared-use recreation trail network in cooperation with Trail Partners across the region. Charitable status followed in 2001.

Trails Partners became the heart and soul of the organization.  Trail Partners are community interest groups, including trail users, service suppliers, educators, business operators, health promoters, environmental activists and volunteers that build, maintain and use the vast network of regional trails. Trails Partners active in the organization over the years represent the communities of Loring-Restoule, Mattawa, North Bay, Powassan, South River, Magnetawan, West Nipissing, Callander and East Ferris, as well as stakeholders in the health, environment, tourism, transportation, and recreation sectors.

In the early stages, Discovery Routes defined its role in trail development with the Trails Partners being responsible for the planning, development and maintenance of local routes, and Discovery Routes being responsible for the trail corridors linking the local routes. A primary focus of Discovery Routes since 1994 has been the designation of local trails as part of the nation-wide Trans Canada Trail. Discovery Routes has been actively pursuing funding opportunities for trail development of these corridors and has brought more than $4 million into the region for various trail projects.

In addition to trail development, Discovery Routes provides its Trails Partners with the opportunity to participate in a variety of trail marketing and promotional programs.

Evolving to Meet Our Communities Needs

In 2015, Discovery Routes assumed the role of coordinating agency for the implementation of the Véloroute Voyageur / Voyageur Cycling Route. Cycling route development benefits local communities as a vehicle for increased tourism, infrastructure investment, improved recreational opportunities and greater community connectivity.

Rooted in the principles that have guided the development of Discovery Routes from its beginnings, Discovery Routes continues to be a leader in trail development locally, regionally and across the Province.  Today, Discovery Routes promotes a network of land and water-based trails and active transportation facilities in excess of 1000km connecting all communities in the region with connections to Eastern Ontario, the National Capital Region and Quebec.

1000+ kilometers of trails; 40+ communities; 56+ trail partners; $4 million in trail infrastructure

The vast network of trails we celebrate exist on the traditional lands and waterways of the Anishinaabe people within the territory protected by the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850 and Williams Treaties of 1923.