Trails Open Ontario 2009 promotes province's vast trail systems

    TORONTO, June 6 /CNW/ - Today is International Trails Day and Trails Open
Ontario will once again showcase Ontario's remarkable natural heritage by
featuring several free special events. Many of the province's trail systems,
programs and organizations are participating in this year's program.
    "We are pleased to work in partnership with trail organizations,
communities and volunteers across the province to present Trails Open Ontario
2009," said The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Chairman of the Ontario
Heritage Trust. "Through this important initiative, more Ontarians than ever
before can experience our fascinating natural heritage first-hand and discover
more about natural heritage conservation."
    Trails Open Ontario is designed to promote trail use and education,
support natural heritage conservation and stewardship, and encourage physical
activity and a healthy lifestyle. Several of the participating trail systems,
programs and organizations are coordinating free public events and activities,
including trail dedication ceremonies, community festivals, bicycle rides and
nature hikes with opportunities for wildlife viewing and bird watching.
    "Trails Open Ontario promotes the province's vast and ecologically
diverse network of trail systems," said Margarett Best, Minister of Health
Promotion. "We are committed to supporting programs that encourage Ontarians
to enjoy outdoor recreational activities and lead healthy, active lifestyles."
    This year's program features 44 trail partners, including Conservation
Ontario, representing Ontario's 36 conservation authorities. Nearly 30 events
have already been planned by Conservation Ontario for conservation areas
across the province. Special programming is also in development for sections
of the Bruce Trail, Canada's oldest and longest marked footpath. With the
addition of events hosted by other trail clubs and organizations, Ontarians in
every corner of the province will have access to a variety of recreational
opportunities on Ontario's 64,000 kilometres (39,768 miles) of trails.
    "Trails Open Ontario invites people to explore and gain an appreciation
of our natural and cultural heritage landscapes," said Aileen Carroll,
Minister of Culture. "Ontario's trails and natural spaces not only contribute
to a healthier population through increased activity, they also strengthen our
communities by attracting visitors and boosting local economies."
    Ontario's remarkable trails are among the province's greatest treasures,
and are ready to be explored. For more information on Trails Open Ontario
2009, visit and click on Trails Open Ontario under the
Spotlight on Heritage. Participating trail systems and organizations are also
featured in a special eight-page section in the Doors Open Ontario 2009 Guide.
To obtain a free copy, call 1-800-ONTARIO (668-2746).

    Trails Open Ontario is a program of the Ontario Heritage Trust, with
funding support from the Government of Ontario. The program's media sponsor is
The Globe and Mail.

    The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario
dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's
heritage for present and future generations.

    Quick Facts:

    -   Now in its third year, Trails Open Ontario is a province-wide natural
        heritage tourism program that invites residents and visitors to
        experience the province's trails and natural spaces.
    -   Trails Open Ontario 2009 features 44 trail partners, including
        Conservation Ontario, representing Ontario's 36 conservation
    -   It is estimated that a total of 5,473 kilometres were hiked by people
        participating in Trails Open Ontario 2008 events.

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For further information:

For further information: Liane Nowosielski, Assistant Marketing and
Communications Coordinator, Ontario Heritage Trust, Telephone: (416) 325-5032,

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