The Rainbow Routes Association officially opened the latest section of the Trans Canada Trail Tuesday, a milestone that marked the near completion of Sudbury's part of the national trail network.
With the new 4.6-km section of the trail – which winds through the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area and connects Laurentian University to Moonlight Beach – only 10 per cent of the Greater Sudbury trail remains incomplete.
“This link was quite an accomplishment,” said Ursula Sauvé, the president of Rainbow Routes, which was established in 1998 to bring the Trans Canada Trail through Sudbury.
Sauvé said the last section of Sudbury's 93 kilometres of trails, connecting Coniston to Wahnapitae, will be the most difficult to complete because it will require more space than other sections.
Rainbow Routes expects to complete the final section by next year.
The national trail, which will feature 24,000 kilometres of paths accessible by foot, bicycle or other human-powered modes of transportation, is expected to be completed by July 1, 2017 – Canada's 150th birthday.
The Trans Canada Trail project started in 1992, on the 125th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.
Deborah Apps, the president and CEO of Trans Canada Trail, said the organization is on track to complete 5,500 kilometres of trails across the country by 2017.
“We have a very well defined connection strategy,” she said.
So far, Newfoundland is the only province to complete its trail network. Prince Edward Island is expected to finish its portion in September.
Apps said she was impressed with Sudbury's latest trail section through the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area.
“It's beautiful,” she said. “As far as I'm concerned this is the best of what communities can do. You're really encouraging people to be active and to get in touch with their community.”