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The Clean Air Partnership is a registered charity, founded in 2000. Our mission is to work with partners to achieve clean air, facilitate the exchange of ideas, advance change and promote and coordinate implementation of actions that improve local air quality.

My Sustainable Day-Cation in Halton Hills Day 1: Trekking Through Trails!

Located North of Oakville, bisected by the Niagara Escarpment and nestled within Ontario’s Greenbelt, The Town of Halton Hills is a municipality defined as much by its beautiful natural landscapes as by its friendly townsfolk, so I was very excited to get out there and explore all it had to offer.  It was late Summer when I ventured out there, so my apologies if the photos in these upcoming posts make you long for warmer temperatures as we near the end of November here in the GTHA.

First off, Halton Hills has a lot going for it.  Despite the fact that it is one of the smaller jurisdictions (in terms of population) in the GTHA, the Town has long been defining themselves as sustainability leaders in the region through a concerted effort from all levels of their community.

A boardwalk bridge takes you through some of Halton Hills’ beautiful trails network.

The Town’s Sustainability Journey really kicked into high gear in 2008 with Council approval of the Halton Hills Green Plan, a document which set out a list of targets, goals and ambitions designed to get Halton Hills moving in a more sustainable direction.  Well, in only 4 short years, the vast majority of those goals have been completed or are in progress.  With that in mind, Halton Hills is preparing to move into the next phase of their journey towards sustainability, as they celebrate the release of their Community Sustainability Strategy.  The strategy is based on extensive community input with over 1200 residents and will provide the Town with a road map towards a sustainable future for decades to come.  The Strategy will be released at a public event on November 22nd, 2012, which should be a great time!  You can find more information on the event here.

But enough about strategies!  Let’s talk about why the residents of Halton Hills are so eager and excited to participate in crafting these documents!

If an area doesn’t have a whole lot of natural areas to begin with, then environmental preservation might not be a front-of-mind issue for residents.  In Halton Hills, that is not the case at all.  One needs only to look at the Town’s extensive trails network to realize just how close every resident is to beautiful, natural areas, which inspires them to care deeply about preserving their natural heritage.

Who would guess that mere steps away from this residential street you would find such a beautiful, natural trail?

I was very fortunate to have Regional Councillor Jane Fogal meet up with me to show me around the trails system in Halton Hills.  We met on a quiet residential street, and I thought to myself “I thought I was here to see a trails system…”  Little did I know that Halton Hills’ trail network is so integrated into the urban fabric that it winds its way through many different neighborhoods, providing many residents with easy access to a beautiful, well-maintained network of trails.  Especially in Georgetown, where residents can get from all over town to the historic downtown district relying mostly on trails.  It’s a great system, and one that is expanding to provide even more residents with access to active transportation options.

Like some sort of ancient guardian, this twisted tree trunk greets you mere steps into your journey through the trails (OK, so I was reading a few too many fantasy novels when I wrote this…)

Our trip took us along Halton Hills’ newest trail, the Hungry Hollow trail.  We traversed beautiful forests, colourful meadows covered in wildflowers, boardwalks over marshy areas and streams, all within a relatively short walk.

With such an extensive network of trails, it’s important to ensure that people know where they’re going! Great signage like this example help residents and visitors to get around.

It was such a nice trip that, even though we were running a bit behind schedule, I really didn’t want to turn back.  I wanted to see what was around the next corner, but all good things must come to an end, and in this case it was just one great experience having to end so that I could move on to another one.  Tomorrow we’ll talk about my next stop, a trip to the educational, inspirational Willow Park Ecology Centre!  Stay tuned!

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One Comment on “My Sustainable Day-Cation in Halton Hills Day 1: Trekking Through Trails!”

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