According to a story in the Ottawa Citizen, it looks like the Prescott-Russell Trail may soon shut down. The local county is thinking of closing the 72 kilometre trail because it is under-utilized.
The trail runs from east-end Ottawa (Anderson Road) all the way east to the Quebec/Ontario border, and passes fairly close to a few communities such as Plantagenet and Vankleek Hill. The trail was built on an old railway track and is used by snowmobilers, hikers, and cyclists. However, in some areas, the trail’s crushed stone surface is less than ideal for bicycles with narrow tires.
I cycled about 30 kilometres of this trail a few years after it first open. I wasn’t very impressed. It was poorly maintained, although I heard this later improved. As indicated in the Ottawa Citizen article, much of the trail runs through farm fields and is generally “flat and boring”. Moreover, it is difficult to find nearby places where you can stop to buy something to eat or drink.
Trails that pass through interesting places tend to become quite popular. A good example of this is the 200 kilometre ‘P’tit train du Nord’ trail that runs through the Laurentians north of Montréal. In the case of the Prescott-Russell Trail, it is easy to imagine that it would have been far more popular if it had, for example, run along the Ottawa River.
Despite it shortcomings, it’s too bad that the Prescott-Russell Trail is slated for possible closure. Hopefully, this isn’t the beginning of a trend for trails in Ontario.
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