Celebrating Trail Champion Gerry Geisler

Discovery Routes Celebrates Volunteer Trail Champion Gerry Giesler

Trail champions from around the region gathered at The Pines trails in Powassan on June 29, 2023 to celebrate the contribution of volunteers to a thriving trails network across Nipissing and the Almaguin Highlands.

Group of volunteers in front of trailhead sign

Across the Discovery Routes region there are at least 56 separate community trail partners responsible for the stewardship of local trails – many of these groups rely entirely on volunteers who donate their time, energy and talents to our trails. Discovery Routes launched a Trail Volunteer Appreciation Program during the event to bring attention to the volunteers who devote endless hours to serve on committees, champion important trail issues and causes, maintain and manage local trails and coordinate trail events and programs that further the positive growth and development of the region’s trail network.

“The pandemic created a dramatic increase in demand for outdoor activities,” said Susan Christian, Chair of Discovery Routes. “We know that trails are powerful tools for individuals to improve mental, physical and emotional health and want to recognize and celebrate the countless volunteers in communities across the Near North who keep the trails we all love open and safe for all to enjoy.”

Two volunteers at lookout

The Pines Trails with volunteer Gerry Giesler and Discovery Routes Chair Susan Christian

One such volunteer is long-time Powassan trail champion, Gerry Giesler, recognized for over 16 years of service to the trails community. Gerry was instrumental in improving paddling access to the South River Water Trail successfully getting portage trails around a number of hydro dams between Trout Creek and Powassan. Volunteering with the Powassan Recreation Committee, Gerry has been involved in The Pines trail network, and is excited to see years of planning take shape in a new trail and water access at Love Lake in Trout Creek. When asked why he volunteers, Gerry responded: “I’ve always been an outdoors person and liked doing outdoor stuff. What it boils down to is I like sharing my knowledge and making sure other people can get to enjoy the outdoors too.”

Discovery Routes is a local charity that connects communities across the Near North through trails. The organization’s goal with the new Trail Volunteer Appreciation 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 the trails 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.