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Trillium Recreational Trail

Trillium Recreational Trails (TRTs) provide for numerous outdoor recreation activities in a variety of urban, rural, and remote areas. 

Over 2,200 individual trails, in all parts of Ontario, are available for use and range from less than a kilometer to over 750 kilometers in length, could be designated as TRT's on federal, provincial, municipal, and privately-owned lands.

Who can apply for Trillium Recreation Trail designation?

Any public or private trail manager, operating a trail that meets the definition and criteria below may apply for the Trillium Recreational Trail designation.


What kinds of trails are eligible?

A trail is a travel way established either through construction or use and is passable by at least one or more of the following, including but not limited to: foot traffic, watercraft, bicycles, in-line skates, wheelchairs, assistive devices, cross-country skis, off-road recreation vehicles such as motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs, and four-wheel drive vehicles.

At this time, roads and highways suitable for passenger car travel are not eligible for TRT designation. Other programs are more appropriate for their recognition, such as the Ontario Scenic Routes Program.

To apply for the designation trail managers must fill out an application and provide landowner permissions and broad support from their communities and trail administrators. The application needs to demonstrate how the trail achieves the following best management practices:

Recreation Opportunities: The trail route has established public access points that accommodate a diversity of trip lengths and provide access to a variety of opportunities for recreation and education. 

Education: The trail users are provided with opportunities to learn about the value of resources, cultural heritage, environmental protection skills, and outdoor ethics. 

Conservation: The trail provides opportunities for communities to develop and implement strategies that enhance and restore the health of the local communities and surrounding lands.

Community Support: Local communities provide support and advocacy for the maintenance and stewardship of the trail, which may provide economic benefit.

Public Information: The public is provided with accessible and understandable trail information, including details for identifying access and trail routes; cultural, historic, and natural features; hazards; and climate quality. The trail is promoted to the community and broad national audience. 

Trail Maintenance: Demonstrate ability to support routine and long-term maintenance investments on the trail. Facilities are designed, constructed, and maintained incorporating sustainability principles. 

Planning: Maintain a trail master plan that describes a vision, desired future conditions, and strategies to strengthen best management practices.

Applications for designated trails serve as models for other trail managers to emulate best management practices. The key for the system’s long-term success lies in the ability of the trail community to become a network of mentors and promoters of the Trillium Trails Network. 

Trillium Recreational Trails, when linked, will form sections of the Trillium Trail Network. Organizations successfully qualifying for the TRT Designation will concurrently be recognized as a Trail Development and Management Organization (TDMO).

What are the criteria for TRT designation?

  1. The trail must be open to public use and be designed, constructed, and maintained according to best management practices, in keeping with the use anticipated.
  2. Trails that demonstrate state-of-the-art design and management are especially encouraged to apply for TRT designation.
  3. The trail is in compliance with applicable land use plans and environmental laws.
  4. The trail will be open for public use for at least 3 consecutive years prior to, and 10 consecutive years after designation.
  5. TRT designation must be supported by the landowner(s), public or private, whose property the trail crosses.
  6. Applicants must be members in good standing of the Ontario Trails Council.

      TRT APPLICATION for TRT designation (for all trails EXCEPT those on Parks Canada Lands) – Intake: April 1 to May 31

Recipients will be announced at the Ontario Trails Council Annual General Meeting.