(CHATHAM, ON) – The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, used by thousands of bicyclists each year, has been named an Ontario Trail of Distinction by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport. The trail, a signature project of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, stretches for 2,100 kilometres.
In Chatham-Kent, that includes 99km on Lake Erie and 69km on Lake St Clair, making Chatham-Kent the single largest municipality in terms of trail length.
During the first week of August, the trail was visited by 156 participants from five provinces and 10 US states in the annual Great Waterfront Trail Adventure ride. Genevieve Champagne, the active transportation and special events coordinator for Chatham-Kent, said the municipality has a strong and growing reputation as a great destination for bicyclists.
“Cycling brings tourism to Chatham-Kent and every indication is that it will continue,” Champagne said. “We have terrain which makes it easy for cyclists of all levels, we have beautiful waterfronts, and a rural beauty that attracts people. From Mitchell’s Bay through Rondeau Bay and Erieau, it’s a beautiful ride.”
Champagne said in addition to the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure Ride, which has visited Chatham-Kent three times in the past five years, more than 200 cyclists took part in the 3Rivers Roll, sponsored by Community Living Wallaceburg, in July.
“Cycling is part of the movement toward a healthier lifestyle,” she said. “We’re fortunate to be part of something that will only get bigger.”
The trail protects, connects, and celebrates the world’s largest group of freshwater lakes, serves as a catalyst for the regeneration of Lake Ontario, and is a much-loved and well-used fitness, recreation, and tourism attraction. Other trails to receive this honour include the Greenbelt Route, the Trans Canada Trail Ontario, the Bruce Trail, and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs Trans-Ontario Provincial Trails.