Park to Park Trail Association says it's lacking members

·2 min read

The Park to Park Trail Association helps maintain over 230 kilometres of trails, from as far as Killbear to Algonquin Provincial Park.

The association has been active since June 6, 2001, but has seen a decrease in membership over the last five years, according to association president Nick Ryeland.

“When we first started, we had a membership that would be best described as people who were interested in the trail and used it in one or more fashions,” said Ryeland. “Over time, and I don’t know when it stopped, but basically, we no longer have people that are just members.”

The association hopes to start a membership committee, said Ryeland, who has been a part of the association for four years.

“In talking with all kinds of people, including our board, we’ve expressed interest in building a bigger base to get more assistance and advice as to what we should be doing and how we should go about it,” he said.

For Les Purcell, a board member of the association, becoming a member was important due to where he lived.

“We bought our house because it’s on the trail,” said Purcell, 47, who runs O’Rourke Electric in Parry Sound. “The governance and control of the trail I’m keenly interested in as my kids walk the trail to school and regulations that control the trail are vital to my life and happiness.”

“So, I felt that joining the trail committee I have a lot to offer,” he said. “As a member of the business community here in Parry Sound, I know a lot of people and I also have eyes on the trail every single day.”

Being a member of the committee is an investment, according to Purcell.

“It does take an investment of time and money — you have to drive to these meetings,” he said. “It’s hard when you run your own business and have a small family at home.”

“You’ve got to invest some of your time to help them. I can see my input is making a difference and I enjoy that.”

Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star