Greg Gillespie's interpretive works include not just birds but their habitats as well. Here in The Fisher a fisher spies a school of fish through a pool of water.

Rail Trail 101 welcomes curious cottagers

Published Aug. 15 2017

Passionate hikers and bikers are gearing up to gather socialize indulge in treats and connect over a love for the Haliburton County Rail Trail – and they’re inviting anyone who hasn’t yet stepped off the beaten path to explore the area.

Rail Trail 101 is being organized by Pamela Marsales and Ute Wright who co-founded Friends of the Rail Trail (FoRT) and is being co-hosted by Kate Butler director of the Haliburton Highlands Museum and a co-founder of the Toronto to Algonquin Greenway (TAG).

The event will feature panel members to talk about their journeys on trails found locally as well as internationally and welcomes everyone to share their own experiences and learn more about the 34 kilometre linear rail trail in Haliburton County. Rail Trail 101 is the first of its kind to be held in the summer ensuring warm weather visitors have the chance to attend.

“We think there are lots of summer visitors and cottage residents here who have experienced exemplary heritage trails and bike paths in their home communities or in their travel so we’d like to connect with them and share information” said Marsales.

The Haliburton County Rail Trail is considered to be the central component and catalyst in designing the Toronto to Algonquin Greenway welcoming hikers bikers and paddlers to experience Ontario via trails paths and waterways like multi-use recreational trails found in Quebec Europe and Australia and New Zealand.

“[Summer visitors and cottage residents] may be familiar with some of these other long distance paths and trails and routes and not realize that they’re right in Haliburton County where a future international tourism route that I’m sure will become world-famous is being considered and developed inspired by this 34-km rail trail called the Haliburton County Rail Trail” said Marsales.

Marsales speaks passionately about the diversity of the Haliburton County Rail Trail which she said really stands out amongst the rail trails she has explored in Ontario with her trusty mountain bike and fat bike.

“There are sections that have beaver habitats big water features railway history and lots of opportunity to view wildlife flora and fauna” she said. “You’re off the beaten track away from the highway and it’s a really wonderful part of Haliburton to experience.”

Rail 101 will give interested hikers and bikers the chance to ask questions about where to go based on the time they have what ability levels different sections are suited for where availability of services like washrooms are and how to experience what Marsales calls “local flavour” along the trail.

“The reason it’s called slow travel is because if you’re doing something like this you need local flavours because that’s your fuel” she said. “You’re buying really good coffee and croissants in the morning and really good craft beer with your lunch and hand-scooped homemade artisan ice cream to reward yourself.”

Rail 101 can be attended on August 28 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Haliburton Museum. Refreshments will be available as well as breaks for guests to network and socialize. The cost is $10. Text e-mail or call Pamela with questions you’d like answered about the Haliburton County Rail Trail in advance or to RSVP to the event. She can be reached at 705-457-4767 or For more information about FoRT visit and for more information about TAG visit