Smiths Falls town councillors have been asked to make an investment in promoting the Cataraqui Trail, which starts near Ferrara Drive in town and winds 104 km south towards Kingston.
Rideau Lakes Township Councillor Arie Hoogenboom, who has replaced the late Doug Good (who died in March when a truck crashed through ice on Big Rideau Lake) on the trail’s board of directors, showed Smiths Falls councillors a video the board commissioned to promote the trail as a resource for hiking, cycling and snowmobiling. He also asked the town to consider some concrete steps to promote and improve the trail.
“It’s called Eastern Ontario’s undiscovered path to nature and history,” said Hoogenboom. “We’d like to change that undiscovered part.”
Hoogenboom asked town councillors for their help in promoting the new video and the trail, and to consider making a small annual grant to help with maintenance. He noted that Rideau Lakes provided $17,000 for that purpose last year. The town could also help with in-kind support by maintaining the trail between its starting point and the golf club road. That portion was recently graded and surfaced with gravel, but still requires regular removal of brush and litter.
Lastly, Hoogenboom suggested that Smiths Falls could design and develop a property trailhead, which could include a parking area, better signage, washrooms, and a kiosk. At present, the entrance to the trail, located near the Smiths Falls LCBO and Independent Grocer, is difficult to find.
“There are so many things to see, and we have to market this,” commented Councillor Dawn Quinn, Smiths Falls’ representative on the trail board.
“We’ve got a great recreational asset right here on our doorstep,” agreed Mayor Shawn Pankow. The mayor suggested that the matter be brought back to a future meeting of council’s Committee of the Whole for further discussion.