Chelsea's Trailblazers: The Passionate Volunteers of Sentiers Chelsea Trails

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by The Local
July 23, 2023
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In October 2009, a group of enthusiastic citizens shared a vision of preserving and enhancing the cultural and historical legacy of Chelsea's trails. They created a not-for-profit organization called Sentiers Chelsea Trails (SCT). The mission of SCT is to establish pathways that connect the community's heart to the natural world's beauty. The organization was officially established in August 2010 and has since been promoting active living, sustainable transport, and the appreciation of nature's wonders.

About the SCT: A Community's Collective Effort 🌳

Driven by their love for their village and its enchanting surroundings, the founding members of SCT set out to protect the invaluable trail network that had been woven into Chelsea's history for generations. With charitable status, a constitution, and a dedicated 12-person Board of Directors, SCT became the torchbearer of trail preservation and expansion in the region.

Collaboration with the Municipality has been the cornerstone of SCT's success. Thanks to this close partnership, the organization has amassed a strong volunteer workforce that tirelessly builds and maintains the trails. The Municipality provides crucial support, supplying building materials, tools, and trail signage, and even extends insurance coverage for the trails. Voie Verte Chelsea (VVC), a fundraising arm established in 2017, plays a crucial role in generating revenue for transforming the rail corridor into a year-round trail. πŸ™ŒπŸš΄β€β™‚οΈ

Embracing Nature: The Essence of SCT 🌲🌿

For more than a century, Chelsea's cultural identity has been intrinsically tied to the breathtaking beauty of the Gatineau hills and river. SCT's founders understood the significance of this natural treasure and sought to create a legacy that fosters a profound connection with nature. Through their tireless efforts, SCT aims to promote active living, sustainable transport, and a profound appreciation for the great outdoors.

Projects that Define the Future πŸ—οΈπŸŒ„

Under the banner of SCT, several trail projects have been set in motion to shape the future of Chelsea's trail network. These ventures not only offer new avenues for exploration but also provide crucial links that connect neighbourhoods, ensuring the vitality of the trails for generations to come. Let's dive into some of these exciting projects:

1. Chelsea Creek Bridge:

One of the standout projects led by SCT is the Chelsea Creek Bridge. This visionary endeavour seeks to construct a dedicated, multi-purpose pathway that connects Chelsea's center village to Boulevard de la Technologie in Gatineau, just a few kilometres south. The pathway, following the right-of-way of Highway 5, promises Chelsea residents new options for utilitarian and recreational use. A safe cycling connection to Gatineau and Ottawa is on the horizon, potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving significant expenses for the citizens of Chelsea. With the collaboration of various stakeholders, SCT and the municipality are making strides in feasibility studies and planning to bring this ambitious project to life by 2022.

2. Centre Village Trail Network:

The charm of Old Chelsea village beckons and the Centre-Village Trail project aims to offer residents and visitors an idyllic, non-motorized pathway to explore its beauty. By securing right-of-way access from businesses and property owners, SCT is crafting a tranquil, off-road alternative for wanderers seeking to immerse themselves in the village's rich heritage. The planned walking trail will connect various landmarks, forming a complete loop that allows access to the NCC parking lot and trail system into Gatineau Park. Embracing the community's spirit, this project symbolizes unity, history, and the joy of discovery.

3. Hautes-Plaines Trail Upgrade:

Stretching from Chelsea's center village to Gatineau city limits, the Hautes-Plaines Trail serves as a testament to SCT's commitment to year-round recreational opportunities. This trail upgrade project is all about enhancing accessibility and improving crossings over ravines and Chelsea Creek. The trail's completion will offer a plethora of recreational and active transport opportunities, connecting residents and visitors alike with Gatineau Park's extensive network of trails. Through the joint efforts of the local trails committee and SCT, the Hautes-Plaines Trail will soon stand as a testament to the community's enduring love for nature.

A Grateful Heart πŸ™πŸŽ‰

So, whether you're a Chelsea local or a nature seeker from afar, the Sentiers Chelsea Trails beckon you to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Lace up those hiking boots, hop on your bike or take a leisurely stroll through the enchanting pathways. Let's celebrate the beauty of nature and the warmth of community as we wander along the trails that unite us all.

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