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The Grand Watershed Trails Network Project is a joint collaboration between the researchers affiliated with the Trail Research Hub and the University of Waterloo's Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, as well as community partners, including the Grand Watershed Trail Network, Regional Tourism Organizations
(RTO 1, RTO 3, and RTO 4), and Six Nations Tourism.

GWTN Logo.jpg

The goal of the Grand Watershed Trails Network is to create a network of connected trails throughout the Grand River watershed, featuring the river itself as a signature trail. The network will include existing and new, land and water trails to form a unique recreational experience, highlighting natural, cultural and historical heritage in the area. The trails will connect communities, places of interest and activities. The network will also connect to other major regional trails, such as the Waterfront Trail, the Greenbelt Trail and the Bruce Trail.
 

The vision of the Grand Watershed Trails Network is to:
 

  • To develop the Grand River Watershed as a living storybook of adventure by partnering with all stakeholders to re-connect people and communities with the Grand River and each other, through intertwining trails on and off the river.

  • To be inclusive of everyone and accessible to people of all ages, interests, and abilities in all seasons.

  • To encourage community-focused cultural, heritage, educational, athletic, and spiritual events on and around the river, acknowledging Indigenous connections with the river.

  • To encourage people to live in harmony with the environment by allowing people to interact with nature and educating them about the ecological diversity of the watershed.

  • To encourage research into the heritage and ecology of the watershed.
     

You can view an interactive map of the proposed main trail and canoe access points here.

The Grand Watershed Trails Network is a new trail development organization actively engaged in the design and development of a multi-use trail along the Grand River, encompassing a network of trails in the watershed.

 

The purpose of this study is to gauge regional businesses awareness of the Grand Watershed Trails Network and Ontario by Bike – Bike Friendly Business criteria, and the importance they place on trail-based recreation and tourism, including but not limited to cycling, hiking, and paddling.

 

The results of this study will inform the development, marketing, promotion and planning of the Grand Watershed Trails Network, while fostering meaningful opportunities for engagement with local stakeholders and indigenous communities in planning for, and benefiting from, the economic growth resulting from increasing visitation levels associated with the Grand River Watershed's trail-based recreation and tourism offerings. Benefits associated with this study include the development of a meaningful collective marketing effort for trail-based recreation and tourism for the entire watershed, development of retail, service and amenity partnerships, and capacity building to drive regional economic development related to trails.

 

The objectives of this study include: determining the current level of knowledge/awareness of the Grand Watershed Trails Network and the Ontario by Bike - Bike Friendly Business criteria, among regional businesses/attractions; gauging the importance of trail-based recreation and tourism (e.g., hiking, cycling, paddling and other activities) to businesses in the Grand River Watershed; and, ascertaining whether businesses in the Grand River Watershed see value in a collective marketing effort for trail-based recreation and tourism for the entire watershed.

Project Leads: Kelsey Johansen, and Dr. Karla Boluk

Research Assistant: Mikayla Stechnicki (Phase 1 - Research Design) and Sara Dominika Skabowski (Phase 1 - Analysis).

Community Collaborators: Anne Crowe (President), Grand Watershed Trail Network, and Wayne Terryberry (Past President), Grand Watershed Trail Network.

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