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September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
Grey County owns and manages 45 separate forest properties, totaling 3,198.1 hectares (7,899.3 acres) spread throughout the entire region. Either coming up with or finding a technological platform to share trail information to the public has been challenging. There was also general recognition from staff of not wanting to duplicate other trail-organizing group efforts. Within the last year, the County has begun incorporating all its trail network information on the publicly accessible app called “Trailforks.” The aim with this endeavour is not only to have the County’s trail network and property information available, but also to encourage other public bodies to do the same to work towards creating a comprehensive and centralized trail mapping system.
One of the immediate benefits realized with the Trailforks system has been to manage publicly submitted trails already present on County properties, with County staff now being administrators of the data. Staff see significant benefit in proceeding with this interface for various reasons: the public can share comments and recommend trail edits directly through the app, and staff can use the heat-mapping function to determine which trails are actively being used and identify potential trail improvement opportunities, or at minimum, understand whereabouts to direct our efforts, include Tourism points of interest, and embed the maps directly on the County’s website for members of the public.
Staff are also aiming to review data connected through this platform to inform trail use trends, such as: weekday vs. weekend trip frequency, activity type preference (hike, cycling, equestrian, etc.), age group participants, etc. It will prove to enhance the County’s ability to offer well-managed recreational properties, while also supporting public input and community engagement through a user-driven input functionality.