• Trans-Canada Trail board chair Neil Yeates and Minister responsible for Parks Canada Catherine McKenna hold a Great Trail flag while Parks Canada CEO Daniel Watson (standing, right) and Michael Nadler, Parks Canada's vice president of external relations and visitor experience, look on. (Photo courtesy Parks Canada)

The federal government will provide $30 million over four years to enhance and maintain The Great Trail, the nationwide network of recreational trails formerly known as the Trans-Canada Trail.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, who is responsible for Parks Canada, the department that will deliver the funding, made the announcement this morning in Ottawa at Canal Lane, a portion of the trail that runs alongside the northern end of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site.

“The Great Trail provides opportunities for people from coast to coast to coast to discover and connect with nature,” said McKenna. “Today's funding will ensure that Canadians can continue to experience the outdoors along The Great Trail in a safe, accessible and sustainable way for generations to come.”

The funding announcement comes a little more than a year after The Great Trail became fully connected in August 2017.

“Although we celebrated the extraordinary achievement of cross-Canada connection in 2017, my fellow board members and I know that the journey continues,” said Neil Yeates, chair of the Trans-Canada Trail board of directors. “Though connecting the trail was ambitious, we must now protect it and encourage its development so that future generations can discover it, use it and treasure it.”

McKenna also announced that The Great Trail organization will receive The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Gold Medal for achievements in geography on Nov. 1, 2018, at the RCGS’s annual College of Fellows dinner, which will be held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

“What The Great Trail has done is the contemporary equivalent of the National Dream,” said John Geiger, CEO of the RCGS. “The trail has not only connected Canadians but also exposed them to the remarkable geography of our country. To have accomplished this in just a quarter of a century is a remarkable feat of nation building.”