Wolf Trail Rehabilitation in Chelsea, Quebec

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by The Local
July 6, 2024
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Wolf Trail Rehabilitation in Chelsea, Quebec
Photo credits:
N.C.C.
Work is underway on Wolf Trail (Trail 62) in Chelsea, Quebec! This popular trail in Gatineau Park is undergoing significant rehabilitation to address issues of erosion and environmental impact. Workers can be seen on the trail and at parking lot P13 where construction staging is taking place. The project aims to prevent trail erosion and widening, improve the overall trail experience, and protect the butternut trees in the area.

The rehabilitation project, planned from spring to fall 2024, involves rerouting certain sections of the trail to remedy these issues. Preparatory work includes cutting down about 60 trees and removing bushes and small trees along the future trail corridor. While the trail remains accessible, users may notice more noise than usual. The majority of the work is planned for spring to fall 2024, with some closures required during this period.

The goal of the project is to protect the environment and the public, ensure the sustainability of the trail, and enhance the recreational experience for visitors. The current issues with the trail include watercourses running across it and surrounding wetlands, which often make the trail wet or muddy. These conditions promote both natural erosion and erosion caused by human activity, leading to a wider trail that negatively impacts the ecosystem and complicates trail usage. Steep slopes also encourage walkers to venture off the main trail, creating unofficial paths that fragment habitats and complicate search and rescue operations.

To address these issues, certain sections of the existing trail will be improved and others will be rerouted. Mahingan and Tawadina lookouts will be part of the new alignment. In total, approximately 4 km of the existing trail will be rehabilitated, 3 km will be closed and renaturalized, and 4.8 km of new trail will replace the closed sections. This will increase the total trail length from 8.3 km to approximately 10.1 km, adding about 1.8 km to the trail.

As part of the project, the NCC will plant two trees for every living tree cut down that is at least 10 cm in diameter, and one tree for every dead tree cut down that is at least 10 cm in diameter. These new trees will be planted in the sections of the trail that will be closed and renaturalized. The timeline for the project includes preparatory work completed in spring 2024, with ongoing rehabilitation work throughout summer and fall 2024. There will be no closures until early August, and the impact on parking lot P13 and the first 200 meters of the trail will be limited.

This comprehensive rehabilitation project for Wolf Trail is a significant effort to balance the needs of trail users with the protection and preservation of the natural environment. Visitors to Gatineau Park can look forward to a more sustainable and enjoyable trail experience once the work is completed.

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