Skip to Main Content

Trail Heroes

Trail Heroes Masthead 2

We dedicate this section to individuals from within and outside the trail community who have made tireless efforts to improve trail experience for trail users.

Michael Haynes – Director, TransActive Solutions

Michael_HaynesKnown as "Mr. Hiking" in Nova Scotia, Michael Haynes is the Director of TransActive Solutions, a company dedicated to improving the walkability and bikeability of Canadian communities.

Michael has published numerous books and is currently working on Hiking Trails of Montreal to be released in 2011.

Recently, Michael has worked on project teams developing a Pedestrian and Cycling Plan for the Regional Municipality of York Ontario, the Regional Trail Plan for Chatham-Kent Ontario, the Active Transportation Plan for the Halifax Regional Municipality Nova Scotia, the Hub Trail System for Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, and a rural trail development manual for the province of Alberta.

Michael regularly presents and conducts workshops on trails across Canada and internationally. Michael is a member of the Province of Ontario's Trails Coordinating Committee and the Public Health Agency of Canada's Advisory Committee for Active Transportation. In Ottawa, he sits on the Steering Committee for the Ottawa Pathway Patrol.

Pauline Coplestone, Volunteer, Grand Valley Trails Association

Pauline is a key volunteer on the GVTA communications team. She manages the mail that comes to the post office box and builds and maintains the GVTA Membership Database for about 400 members.

Pauline is the volunteer who sends members their membership card, takes care of donation receipts and makes sure there are labels ready for the newsletter and other mailings that are sent to members. Pauline provides the Board of Directors with monthly statistic reports of new and renewed memberships and creates custom reports that help the board communicate with members.

Pauline is presently helping to update the volunteer database to help the board reach out to volunteers in a more efficient way. Pauline is also a certified hike leader for the GVTA. Members and the board are grateful for her ongoing service to the GVTA.

Hap Wilson, Author: The Cabin - Search for Personal Sanctuary, Trails and Tribulations - Confessions of a Wilderness Pathfinder

Hap Wilson first constructed trails, bridges and boardwalks as a park ranger in Temagami from 1978 - 1984, which included Temagami's first old growth forest hiking trail on Temagami Island.

Since then he has charted, mapped and designed thousands of kilometres of water trails and hundreds of kilometres of multi-use trails. He has been passionately creating trails with endless energy for private landowners, world-class resort trail systems and nature reserves across Canada. Hap is also an award-winning author of over many nature-related guide books, award-winning landscape photographer and an illustrator. Over the years, Hap has tirelessly fought against logging and other environmental destruction in Northern Ontario and other sensitive environmental regions across Canada.

Hap has paddled over 50,000 km from coast to coast. During the making of the movie "Grey Owl", he worked as actor Pierce Brosnan's personal outdoors-skills trainer. Hap is the co-Founder of the environmental group Earthroots and the recipient of the prestigious Bill Mason Award for lifetime achievement in conservation. He lives in Rosseau, Ontario.

Andrew Graham, Vice-Chair, Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve

Andrew GrahamAndrew has been a Director of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve (FABR) since its inception in 2002. Currently the Vice-Chair of the Biosphere Reserve, Andrew has led the way in recreational trails development by spearheading the establishment and development of a biosphere-wide trails council in 2007. Endorsed and assisted by the Ontario Trails Council, the FABR Trails Council is the first of its kind within a geographic region recognized by the United Nations as a World Biosphere Reserve.

Andrew’s vision and personal efforts have resulted in a remarkably successful model for community-driven initiatives. Indeed, resident and visiting trails enthusiasts are already benefiting from Andrew’s selfless contributions, all of which stand to enhance the region’s overall economic health, not to mention the personal health and well being of trail users.

Our hats are off to you, Andrew!

Jerry Belan, Program Officer, City of Toronto

Jerry_BelanJerry was front and centre in developing Toronto's very successful Discovery Walks. Recently, Jerry lead the way in developing a new Toronto parks and trails map highlighting the city's 800 kilometres of hard-surface recreational trails.

As well, in 2009, Jerry organized Toronto's first "Walking Information Fair" which brought together 33 local walking clubs. He has been invited to speak on trail walking at various conferences in North America, Asia and Europe. In his spare time, Jerry conducts "soft walking adventures" in Eastern Europe.

For his dedication and enthusiasm, we recognize Jerry Belan as a true trail hero. Thank you Jerry for all your work and the pleasure you've given to so many trail enthusiasts!

Robin Reilly, Park Superintendent, Quetico Provincial Park

robin_reillyRobin has been actively involved in creating non-motorized trail systems that will link Quetico Provincial Park with the Town of Atikokan.

As well, Robin has completed a significant link to the Trans Canada Trail in Ontario on very little money. Robin is an avid outdoorsman himself involved in paddling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and hiking