The Grand Watershed Trails Network Research Project is looking for your input!

Updated: Mar 14

Are you a business, amenity, or service provider in the Grand River Watershed? If so, we'd love to hear from you about your business' awareness of the Grand Watershed Trails Network and Ontario by Bike – Bike Friendly Business criteria, and the importance you place on trail-based recreation and tourism, including cycling, hiking, and paddling.


The Grand Watershed Trails Network

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.


Grand Watershed Trails Network Research Project

The Grand Watershed Trail Network Research 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.


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.


How to Participate in the Grand Watershed Trails Network Research Project

Participation in this study would involve completing a short online survey (approximately 15 minutes in length) that seeks some demographic information (e.g., age, gender, your connection to the Grand Watershed Trail), followed by questions asking you to reflect on your business’s relationship to trail tourism.


This data will help develop the marketing, promotion, and planning of the Grand Watershed Trails Network. After we have analysed the data, our plan, is share the key findings of our study with the network. We hope to identify key facilitators which will enhance the Grand Watershed Trails to support the development of trail-based recreation and tourism offerings, and enhance the visitor experience.


To receive access to the online survey, please email Kelsey Johansen at: Kelsey.Johansen @ uwaterloo.ca.


Funding Acknowledgement


Funding for this project is provided in part by grants received by the Grand Watershed Trails Network from the Ontario Summer Experience Program and from the joint Project Learning Tree and Trans Canada Trail - National Trail Youth Employment Program.

The Ontario Summer Experience Program (SEP) provides funding to eligible not-for-profit organizations, municipalities, Indigenous organizations and First Nation communities in order to create meaningful summer employment opportunities for students. The summer employment positions must focus on activities supporting key sectors within the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and the Citizenship and Immigration Division of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. ore details about this funding can be found here: https://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/FormDetail?OpenForm&ACT=RDR&TAB=PROFILE&SRCH=&ENV=WWE&TIT=ON00156&NO=ON00156E


Trans Canada Trail offers a 50% wage subsidy to eligible groups who are looking to hire a young employee (aged 15 to 30).

The subsidy is intended to support jobs that are contributing to the development and improvement of the Trans Canada Trail. More details about this funding can be found here: https://pltcanada.org/en/green-jobs/funding-for-employers/ and here: https://pltcanada.org/en/trans-canada-trail-employer-portal/.

31 views