Friendship Trails

I recently learned that the Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) is a member of the World Trails Network (WTN).

The WTN is an organization that aims to connect the world’s diverse trails by bringing together trail associations, trail advocates, walkers, hikers, and people passionate about the outdoors from around the world. Its goal is to foster global collaboration and networking for the betterment of the world’s trails.

One priority for WTN is to promote international understanding as well as a culture of walking through their Friendship Trail program. This is an initiative that will be familiar to many Bruce Trail hikers.

Like “twin towns”, Friendship Trails are trails in different countries that have teamed up in the spirit of partnership and international co-operation.  Because Friendship Trails also benefit from mutual publicity, there is a benefit to both hikers and local economies through increased tourism.

The Jeju Olle Foundation of South Korea established the world’s first Friendship Trail, and it was also the first organization that the BTC established a Friendship Trail with, back in 2011.

We were excited that this first BTC Friendship Trail was in our very own Caledon Hills section.  Located in the Hockley Valley, it consists of the Tom East, Isabel East, and Glen Cross side trails, as well as a portion of the main Bruce Trail, forming a double loop route of almost 10 kilometres.

The Jeju Olle walking trail is located on the island of Jeju, which is about 130 kilometers south of the Korean Peninsula.  It is a large volcanic island with an almost sub-tropical climate, has incredible scenery from the coastline through orange groves crisscrossed by distinctive stone walls and up to the peak of an inactive volcano.  This popular walking trail in Korea has many routes covering more than 400 km of pathways that encircle the island.

Our twin trail, Jeju Olle’s Route 2 on the east end of the island, is about 15 kilometres and takes hikers from Gwangchigi Beach to Onpyeong-Pogu (a port).  Along the trail, points of interest include two peaks and a wedding pond.

The BTC’s goal was to establish Friendship Trails for the other 8 Bruce Trail clubs by its 50th Anniversary in June 2017.  With the twinning of the Toronto Club and Kythera Hiking in Greece on May 13th, this goal was achieved!

Wouldn’t it be great to hike all 9 Friendship Trails on the Bruce Trail?  Information about these trails is available on the BTC’s website.

 

With info from: http://worldtrailsnetwork.org/, http://brucetrail.org/, http://www.jejuolle.org/

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