Resurfacing and renovations to the Guelph to Goderich (G2G) rail trail are nearing completion and bikers, joggers and walkers alike will soon be able to enjoy 132 kilometres of smooth, flat terrain and vast agricultural landscape from the Kissing Bridge trailhead to the shores of Lake Huron.
“The rehabilitation has absolutely attracted the attention of cycling groups especially, and the G2G rail trail end-to-end provides a phenomenal on and off-road experience,” said Doug Cerson, the executive director of the G2G. The organization is a registered charity that advocates for the maintenance and stewardship of the route, and it is volunteer-driven and supported by members from 17 municipalities and four counties along the way.
Earlier this month, the G2G Rail Trail received a grant of more than $76,000 from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to complete the resurfacing and wayfaring project. The grant is part of a larger provincial investment of $250,000 to support rural economic development in the region. Throughout the summer, four students from Wilfrid Laurier University have been working on the trail and coordinating with stakeholders as part of a rural and economic initiative called Project RED.
“With COVID, it’s definitely become a lot more apparent how important it is to have something like the G2G Rail Trail. It helps people realize the importance of sustaining our natural assets,” said Chloe Klopp, an environmental studies student and crew member of Project RED.
The route also has historical and cultural significance. Guelph is situated on Treaty 3 territory, which is the traditional land of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Huron County is located on Treaty 29, which was occupied by the Anishinaabek Peoples, and includes what is now parts of Perth and Middlesex. The cities of Guelph and Goderich were founded by John Galt in 1827, who was the Superintendent of the Canada Company, which colonized over two million acres of land beyond the shores of Lake Huron. Galt built a road between the two cities in 1828 before he was recalled to Britain.
Many parts of the route have remained open through the construction and rehabilitation process, but the complete trail will be open by September. Users will enjoy an eight-foot-wide, stone-dust trail with a wide shoulder along farmers’ fields, across stone bridges and through diverse communities. The route will be maintained by the G2G Rail Trail committee and volunteers in the peak seasons.
But while the grant has helped with many costs, the entire project is estimated to total $300,000, and fundraising efforts including kilometre markers and sponsored benches are underway. The charity has raised close to $130,000 to date to support the project, but Cerson says additional donations will allow for maintenance and improvements in the years to come.
“We do appreciate when people recognize the work by the volunteers and understand the cost to getting this rail trail up. Our message is: help us to completely finish it and then next year, we can do even more improvements,” he said.The route begins at the Kissing Bridge trailhead on Silvercreek Pkwy North, just before Marden Road. The waypoints are synced with Google Maps for accurate route planning. To learn more about the G2G charity, for progress and to make a donation, visit here.