THUNDER BAY – Special to NNL – Dana Meise from Prince George, BC is hiking solo across Canada on the Trans Canada Trail from coast to coast to coast. Starting onMay 6, 2008inCape Spear,Newfoundland, Dana has traveled approximately 9,000 km and is currently inThunder Bayas he works his way acrossCanada.
Dana hikes approx. six months of the year from May to October, returning to his contract Forestry Technologist position during the winter months. His total trek will take him 22,000 km and allow him to visit all three oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic) surrounding Canada, meeting people in all communities connected along the Trans Canada Trail network of trails.
Dana who will be the first person to hike acrossCanadaon the Trans Canada Trail is enjoying every step of his journey, overwhelmed with the beauty of the Country and the great people he has met along the way.
“I plan to write a book, so I take time to learn about each town, city, village and hamlet that I walk through. I interview my fellow Canadians, taking down their stories as well. In total it will take roughly six to seven years, and when published, my book will be my contribution to this great nation,” Dana said.
The Trans Canada Trail, still under construction in most provinces is currently about 70% complete. The goal is to have the trail completed by 2017, the 25th anniversary of the Trail andCanada’s 150th anniversary since Confederation. Upon completion, the trail will be the longest recreational trail in the world, stretching from theAtlanticto the Pacific to the Arctic Oceans, through every province and territory, linking over 1000 communities and more than 33 million Canadians.
Dana spends the majority of his journey on approximately 70% of the completed Trans Canada Trail, but it is the 30% of incomplete trail that can be an extra challenge. Although most of the trail gaps have proposed trail sections to be completed by 2017, some of the trail just isn’t ready for public use yet. Dana, who provides information about his journey to Trans Canada Trail, is helping to fine tune trail routing in these areas from a user’s perspective.
Making his way along the North shore of Lake Superior, Dana was particularly excited about traveling along the 111 km decommissioned CN Kinghorn Rail Line between Nipigon and Thunder Bay. This proposed section of Trans Canada Trail offers many exciting features and spectacular views. Although the rail corridor is currently CN private property not accessible for public use, the decommissioned rail bed linking the communities of Nipigon, Red Rock, Dorion, Shuniah and Thunder Bay has the potential to be developed into a trail accommodating non-motorized recreational users in the spring, summer, and fall seasons.
“This section of trail has amazing potential if developed into a recreational trail” Dana mentioned after arriving inThunder Bayvia the Kinghorn rail bed. “Many people are already out using the rail corridor for recreational purposes so it only makes sense to develop it into an organized trail”.
Organized trails ensure a safe corridor for public use, reduces liability, and often reduces issues that otherwise occur on an unorganized trail. Many abandoned rail corridors have issues with unauthorized uncontrolled uses, littering, trespassing on adjacent property, etc. but in many cases when converted to an organized trail, these issues go away. Most trail users are passionate about the trail networks they use for walking, hiking, and cycling and take it upon themselves to self-police the trail to ensure no issues arise.
Dana will be leaving Thunder Bay today as he continues on his journey west across the Country.
If you are interested in learning more about Dana’s Trans Canada Trail trek across Canada please visit: www.thegreathike.com For more information about Trans Canada Trail, please visit: www.tctrail.ca