Community member Tom Bell and planning consultant Jamie Stuckless have a look at a Haliburton Village map during one of the first walkabouts hosted by the Active Pathways Network. /Submitted by Pamela Marsales

Active Pathways Network seeks community input

By Vivian Collings

With a picturesque lake, beautiful park, and quaint village, Haliburton is the perfect place to spend time out of a vehicle and immersed in the community.

A group of dedicated Haliburton residents are working to take this experience to the next level and make every corner of the community accessible to everyone.

The Active Pathways Network is working with a grant from the Active Transportation Fund of Canada to develop an effective wayfinding system for the village of Haliburton.

“We have lots of green space around Haliburton. We have parks and paths and trails, and we have some improved sidewalk projects, but they’ve all been designed separately, and there’s never been an overall comprehensive strategy to bring them all together,” said Pamela Marsales, Active Pathways Project local project coordinator. “It will be a way of lessening traffic in the high season, because if residents and visitors perceive ways to get from here to there by walking, biking, or wheeling without driving their car through town, then we’ll all be happier.”

Marsales and Friends of the Rail Trail (FoRT) brought the idea for the project to the Municipality of Dysart after seeing the announcement of the funding with a stream for planning.

“The planning projects bring together partners in a collaborative process to design projects that will best meet the needs of a community,” Marsales said.

The first announcement for the funding was in March of 2021, and the grant opened for applications in March of 2022. The project began in October 2023.

The municipality is receiving the funding with the project being coordinated by FoRT.

“The planning team has all kinds of partners, and we’ve been holding hybrid meetings at HCDC’s The Link.”

Among the planning team is representation from Dysart, county tourism, Haliburton Highlands Health Services, Haliburton School of Art + Design, the Communities In Action committee, the Glebe Park committee, Haliburton Sculpture Forest, local businesses, and local residents.

They’ve been working alongside planning consultant Jamie Stuckless who is serving as the project lead.

“What we’re doing now for the month of June is consulting with residents, visitors, people of all ages in Haliburton Village, and trying to find out how they are already walking, biking, and wheeling around the village or how they don’t feel it’s possible or comfortable to get around if they see barriers, so this information can all go into planning an ideal network of Active Pathways,” Marsales said

Under the “wheeling” category is any type of people-powered wheeling such as a skateboard or push scooter, and it also includes mobility assistance such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

“At the end of this project, we hope to come up with a wayfinding plan to illustrate the whole network of routes, and from that, we already have a plan to apply for capital funding to actually install the wayfinding signage and maps of the whole network,” Marsales said. “We expect the formal part of the project to wrap up in July.”

Get in touch

To share input with the Active Pathways Network project planning team, the Friends of the Rail Trail tent will around the county for the month of June

“We’ve hosted one walkabout, and we’re more than happy to do more of those if a group requests one.”

“If anyone has any idea of where they think it would be a good idea for us to come, for example a seniors’ residence or community meeting, we’re mobile and can come to you.”

Marsales said she can also co-host a walkabout at any trail or pathway in the village.

They also have an online survey active for all of June, and cards containing the QR code to access the survey can be found at various businesses around town, or visit

Marsales can be reached by email or phone 705-457-4767.

“If anyone would like to join the planning team, they absolutely still can.”