If you’re hiking any of Manitoba’s great trails in the future, you may come back with something very valuable – information. The Manitoba Trails Project (MTP) is a brand new non-profit organization and they are looking for the help of outdoor enthusiasts to submit photos and details about the trails they use.
Imagine an interactive website where you can find info about all of Manitoba’s trails in one place. According to Jordan Becker, Project Manager for MTP, that’s the ultimate goal.
“Although some (trail) information is available through various outlets, most trail systems are managed individually and locating information can be difficult,” Becker says. “Furthermore, smaller trail organizations may have difficulty showcasing and advertising their trails outside of the local region.”
Becker says Manitoba Trails Project will help change that. He says it will also help people discover lesser-known hikes throughout the province.
“Occasionally, when traveling along routes that some may consider off-the-beaten path, I’ve been surprised to come across hiking trails that seemingly appear out of nowhere,” says Becker. “Without intimate local knowledge of a region, local hiking trails often go overlooked by visitors. I think that people will want to use this service to find these local gems in areas they are unfamiliar with.”
Of course gathering all the information necessary to make this project really work requires a lot of help from individual trail users, outdoor groups, trail associations, and the like.
Becker hopes hikers on Manitoba trails will bring back detailed trail information about their hikes, such as difficulty, length, unique features, and land characteristics.
“It’s easy to get involved in the project,” he says. “If you plan on going for a hike anyway, why not take some photos are carry along a GPS to map the route?”
Currently the website has about 230 trailheads marked and only about 15 trail routes fully mapped. But as the project grows, Becker says it will be a great resource for Manitobans and visitors to the Province, and will make heading out in nature easier.
“I think there’s a bigger disconnect between people and nature than ever before,” he says. “Getting outside and exploring natural areas is the best way to get people interested in natural history and raise awareness of biodiversity conservation in the province.”