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Do not abandon the trail urges rec group


not mean the unpaved sections should be closed. He noted that hikers do not care if the trail they walk is paved or not and that the cyclists who enjoy riding the trail are different from those who prefer riding along a paved highway. “The people who use it are happy with it,” he pointed out, adding that there are still senior-level government grant programs in place that could help with the cost of main- taining the trail. The PRRT Corp. has, as one of its long- termgoals, Joly noted, the eventual connec- tion of the Prescott-Russell Trail with the recreational trail networks in Ottawa to the west and in Rigaud, to the east, as part of pro- posed Grand Trail network project between Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec for eco-tourism. This inter-provincial trail network would later become part of the proposed TransCa- nada Trail project to provide Canada with a cross-country recreational trail network from the west coast to the east coast and back. BothWarden Guy Desjardins and UCPR Chief Administrator Stéphane Parisien told Joly and Lalonde that right now continued funding for the trail is included in the 2017 draft budget for the counties. Whether that allocation will remain in the budget or what kind of funding will be available in future is part of the current budget discussions. “I hope that you, Mr. Warden, and the counties council will make the right deci- sion,” said Joly.

Supporters of the Prescott-Russell Rec- reational Trail are now making their way into counties council’s chamber for amore personal lobbying effort to ensure an open future for the regional walking and cycling trail. Serge Lalonde and Serge Joly from the board of directors for the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail Corp. (PRRT) met with United Counties of Prescott-Russell council members (UCPR) during their Oct. 26 ses- sion tomake a plea for the future of the regio- nal walking/cycling trail. Joly, describing himself as “an avid walker and hiker”, des- cribed the recreational trail as an important part of Prescott-Russell’s tourism, recreation and community features. “The Prescott-Russell Trail is a regional entity,” he said. “The Prescott-Russell Trail is important to the people in the community and to the region.” Joly added that trail users include cyclists, hikers, families with small children, people who have mobility issues that limit their recreational outlets, and others. He noted that in the winter certain sections of the trail even accommodate local and visiting snowmobilers. Joly recapped the history of the trail since its original development and after the UCPR agreed to assumemanagement andmainte- nance responsibility for it. He also reviewed

Serge Lalonde (à gauche au centre) ainsi que Serge Joly, de la Corporation de la piste récréative de Prescott-Russell, ont fait un appel au conseil des Comtés unis afin de recevoir de l’appui pour que l’organisme puisse continuer ses opérations. —photo Gregg Chamberlain

the current controversy over the trail’s future, including reports in the media about the costs for maintaining the trail versus its use, and also community lobbying efforts through social media, including an online petition, for the counties to continue to keep the trail open and active.

Joly acknowledged that some sections of the Prescott-Russell Trail right now are in better condition than others. Some sections, which run through municipal centres, are paved while others are still in their original gravelled state. He argued that the paved sections might see more use but that did

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