Celebrating Local Trail Champions

To celebrate National Volunteer Week this April 14-20, Discovery Routes is shining a spotlight on local trail volunteers who further the positive growth and development of the trail network across Nipissing and the Almaguin Highlands. These dedicated volunteers serve on committees, champion important trail issues, maintain and manage local trails and coordinate trail events and programs. Throughout the week, Discovery Routes will spotlight a new Trail Champion every day on Facebook and Instagram @DiscoveryRoutes.

Across the Discovery Routes region there are over 50 separate community trail groups responsible for the stewardship of local trails – most of these groups rely entirely on volunteers who donate their time, energy and talents to our trails. The Near North Trail Champions Program brings attention to volunteers like Tom Cook who has devoted over 50 years to building ski and snowshoe trails at North Bay Nordic Ski Club, and Rick Jeffery who doesn’t leave home without his clippers when hiking the Forgotten Trails in the South River area. 

Man with clippers clearing branches from a fallen tree on w winter snowshoe trail

Rick Jeffery on Tom Thomson Portage Trail one of the Forgotten Trails

A common thread that continues to surface when asked why these folks volunteer is that they want to share their love of the outdoors and give others the opportunity to experience the trails that they cherish.  Steve Todoroff knows how important it is for kids to be active and engaged in outdoor activities and has channeled his energy over the past two decades into developing a publicly available trail system at Almaguin Secondary School.

two men dressed for winter in front of two snowmobile groomers

Steve Todoroff and Tim grooming Almaguin Community Ski Trails

Connie Hergott has a contagious enthusiasm for cycling. She has created a risk-free point of entry for women in the sport of mountain biking through the North Bay Mountain Bike Association and other cycling advocacy work.  Scott Taylor is out at first light on frigid winter mornings to groom the cross-country ski trails at Wasi Ski Club.

Connie Hergott installing trails signs on the Old Nipissing Ghost Road

A new Facebook Group called Near North Trail Champions connects would-be volunteers with trail opportunities across the region. The opportunities are as endless as the trails, from volunteering at a trail event like The Voyageur 200 Gravel Bike Race or Louise de Kiriline Nature Festival at Laurier Woods, to trail work parties with Forgotten Trails and the North Bay Mountain Bike Association.  Help tune up bikes, plant trees, pick up litter or become a decision maker by joining a trail committee or board of directors.

volunteer bike mechanics

ReCycle Bikes volunteers

Discovery Routes’ goal with the Near North Trail Champions Program is to recognize the diverse community of volunteers that contribute to the trails network and inspire more individuals to get involved in their local trails community.

Find opportunities to Get Involved in your trail community.

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.