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News

Nov 16, 2016

Canada Set to Open the World’s Longest Recreational Trail

There’s no drafting here as Canada gets ready to celebrate its 150th birthday in 2017 with a 24,000km trail across the country—and it's not just for bikes!.

WRITTEN BY

Alyssa Fowler

Germany impressed the world with the reveal of a 100km car-free highway earlier this year, followed by an even more exciting proposal of the 5,000km East Coast Greenway in the United States. However, grossly surpassing both at 24,000km, Canada is set to open the longest network of recreational trails in the world.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Penner/The Great Trail.

Given Canada’s vast variety of unforgiving terrain—dense forests, mountains, lakes, and barren tundra, forging thousands of kilometers of usable trail has been no walk in the park—pun intended. The trail is relying mainly on the intricate connection of work by local organizations and funding from private donors, with the Canadian government matching fifty cents for every dollar donated and has given more than 50 million dollars to trail construction so far.

The Coastal Trail in Fund National Park. Photo courtesy of Parks Canada and the Province of New Brunswick.
The Coastal Trail in Fundy National Park.
Photo courtesy of Parks Canada and the Province of New Brunswick.

Almost 25 years in the making, The Great Trail will link multiple recreational trails across the country and is being built with hikers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers and horseback riders in mind. It will even include large stretches of water-based trails for paddlers and kayakers. Once complete, you’ll be able to span the second largest country in the world—any way you choose.

“To me, this is very, very exciting!” says Kelly Magelky, a pro mountain biker currently living south of the Canadian border in Colorado. Originally from North Dakota, Kelly moved to Colorado when he was 18 and fell in love with mountain biking—and cycling in general. Admitting to never having been athletic growing up Kelly dove into cycling late, yet has had a successful run as a cross-country and ultra-endurance racer, chalking up over 30 wins since turning pro, and proving it’s never too late to try something new.

On top of promoting healthy lifestyles, a large intention of The Great Trail is to encourage safe, active transportation and make it as accessible as possible—which it’s succeeding at as 80% of Canadians live within 30 minutes of the trail.

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Like us at The Outdoor Journal, Kelly believes that everyone has at least a little sense of adventure. On top of the people that will take this trail as a personal challenge and use parts of it to traverse the whole country, many will be looking to do their first 20km bicycle ride and start making their way though parts of the country without using their car.

“They will feel a huge sense of accomplishment when they look around and they realize they didn’t need an automobile to do it.”

Giving people a new perspective and seeing something entirely different than you would have in a car is exactly the type of sustainable infrastructure key to travel, adventure sports and exploration—not exploitation of the outdoors.

“This trail, undoubtedly, promotes the adventure side of any type of trail use in its sheer length and magnitude. Just knowing that you are on a trail that, if you keep going, will take you a total of 24,000km would absolutely inspire people to explore a little more of it every time they’re on it!”


For the people working hard to get everything ready for the big birthday celebration, the main focus has been connecting the trail in time for the party on August 26th, 2017 – exciting details still in the works and to come soon! Christina Kozakiewicz of Trans Canada Trail also told The Outdoor Journal that the plans for the trail after the official reveal are equally important.


We will have a connected Trail across Canada, and new work lies ahead of us in improving the Trail, creating new spurs and connectors, creating more greenways, and getting Canadians and people around the world using the Trail, sharing their experiences, etc.”

For more information on The Great Trail, updates on its progress or how you can donate please visit their website.

To check out what Kelly Magelky of Honey Stinger/Bontrager is up to—in between raising new twin boys—head to his website.

Feature image: Nova Scotia Celtic Shores Coastal Trail. Photo courtesy of Nova Scotia Trails Federation.

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Adventure Travel

Jul 31, 2018

Kayaking’s Elite Return to India at the Malabar River Festival

During the week of July 18th to 22nd, the Malabar River Festival returned to Kerala, India with one of the biggest cash prizes in whitewater kayaking in the world.

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

A $20,000 purse attracted some of the world’s best kayakers to the region for an epic week battling it out on some of India’s best whitewater.

The kayaking events at Malabar River Festival were held on the Kuttiyadi River, Chalippuzha River, and the Iruvajippuzha River, in South India on the Malabar Coast. The festival was founded and organized by Manik Taneja and Jacopo Nordera of GoodWave Adventures, the first whitewater kayaking school in South India.

Photo: Akash Sharma

“Look out for these guys in the future because there are some future stars there”

One of the goals of the festival is to promote whitewater kayaking in the state of Kerala and encourage locals to get into the sport. One of the event organizers, Vaijayanthi Bhat, feels that the festival plays a large part in promoting the sport within the community.  “The kayak community is building up through the Malabar Festival. Quite a few people are picking up kayaking… It starts with people watching the event and getting curious.  GoodWave Adventures are teaching the locals.”

Photo: Akash Sharma

Vaijayanthi is not lying when she says the kayak community is starting to build up.  In addition to the pro category, this year’s Malabar Festival hosted an intermediate competition specifically designed for local kayakers. The intermediate competition saw a huge turnout of 22 competitors in the men’s category and 9 competitors in the women’s category. Even the professional kayakers who traveled across the world to compete at the festival were impressed with the talent shown by the local kayakers. Mike Dawson of New Zealand, and the winner of the men’s pro competition had nothing but good things to say about the local kayakers. “I have so much respect for the local kayakers. I was stoked to see huge improvements from these guys since I met them in 2015. It was cool to see them ripping up the rivers and also just trying to hang out and ask as many questions about how to improve their paddling. It was awesome to watch them racing and making it through the rounds. Look out for these guys in the future because there are some future stars there.”

Photo: Akash Sharma

 

“It was awesome because you had such a great field of racers so you had to push it and be on your game without making a mistake”

Vaijayanthi says the festival has future goals of being named a world championship.  In order to do this, they have to attract world class kayakers to the event.  With names like Dane Jackson, Nouria Newman, Nicole Mansfield, Mike Dawson, and Gerd Serrasolses coming out for the pro competition, it already seems like they are doing a good job of working toward that goal! The pro competition was composed of four different kayaking events- boatercross, freestyle, slalom, and a superfinal race down a technical rapid. “The Finals of the extreme racing held on the Malabar Express was the favourite event for me. It was an epic rapid to race down. 90 seconds of continuous whitewater with a decent flow. It was awesome because you had such a great field of racers so you had to push it and be on your game without making a mistake.” says Dawson.

Photo: Akash Sharma

The impressive amount of prize money wasn’t the only thing that lured these big name kayakers to Kerala for the festival. Many of the kayakers have stayed in South India after the event ended to explore the rivers in the region. With numerous unexplored jungle rivers, the possibilities for exploratory kayaking are seemingly endless. Dawson knows the exploratory nature of the region well.  “I’ve been to the Malabar River Fest in 2015. I loved it then, and that’s why I’ve been so keen to come back. Kerala is an amazing region for kayaking. In the rainy season there is so much water, and because the state has tons of mountains close to the sea it means that there’s a lot of exploring and sections that are around. It’s a unique kind of paddling, with the rivers taking you through some really jungly inaccessible terrain. Looking forward to coming back to Kerala and also exploring the other regions of India in the future.”

 

For more information on the festival, visit: http://www.malabarfest.com/

Subscribe here: https://www.outdoorjournal.com/in/subscribe/

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