How do you like the following three headlines?

  1. Rideau Trail Welcomes Millionth Visitor
  2. Rideau Trail Contributes Enormously to the Health of Ontario Residents
  3. RTA Attracts Visitors from Around the World

Think they should be written about the RTA in the next 5 to 10 years?

Should we be looking for other headlines?

Over the next 6 months, the RTA will be connecting with members and other stakeholders to get their views on what we do well and what is needed to be the best trail in Ontario. YOU CAN HELP create a vision for the future of the RTA.

Have your voice heard! Contact us. Stay connected. Meet, vote and share your ideas.

Why now? The RTA is growing, with a new website, increased membership, multiple hikes per week, great meetings, and exciting social activities. Help us make it even more successful by contributing your ideas for our future. The RTA needs YOU!

Town Hall Meetings

Town Hall meetings have been organized for each club. We need your participation in the meetings so we can hear how you see the future of the Rideau Trail Association. We need to know what you think is working and what could use some improvement. We also need to know what opportunities and challenges you see for the Rideau Trail.

Attend the Town Hall meeting for your club and have your say.

Let’s work together to ensure a long lasting trail.
Let’s work towards our 50th anniversary in 2021.

Ottawa Club

May, 2, 2017
Nepean Sportsplex (1701 Woodroffe Ave)
Hall F (above the arenas on the north end of the building – fully accessible with an elevator just past the stairway entrance)
7:00 to 9:00 pm

Kingston Club

May 4, 2017
Seniors Centre, 56 Francis Street
7:00 to 9:00 pm

Central Club

May 9, 2017
McMartin House, 125 Gore Street, Perth
7:00 to 9:00 pm

For more information, contact:

Brian Grant, Chair
RTA Strategic Planning Working Group


Read on for some background rationale on the Strategic Planning Proposal. Keep checking back as we expand this section!

1. What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning provides an opportunity for an organization to look at what it is doing and how it can carry out its mission in an effective and efficient manner. Strategic planning requires that the organization review its past success (and failures) and plan for the future in an organized and deliberate manner.

2. Building on our legacy

At the Hike Ontario Summit on October 1, 2016, Doug Knapp, the founder of the RTA, related how he, and few friends, had created the vision to develop a hiking trail from Kingston to Ottawa and how they expected it would take many years to see the vision realized. However, because they had plan that specified what was needed, they were able to take advantage of various government programs and volunteer help to actually create the trail within a year.

Drawing inspiration from their work, we need to look to the future development of the Rideau Trail. To be successful in the development of the trail we need a strategic plan that focuses our attention on the issues and challenges of greatest importance.

3. Why now? – Recent successes

Developing a strategic plan for an organization should be done during a period of stability and we believe that the RTA is ready. We have had a number of important successes in the last few years and these successes should become the impetus to develop our plan. For example, we have made great strides in the development of our communications products, including our Website, presence on social media, the quarterly Newsletter and monthly and weekly updates of activities.

In addition, and equally important, we are working on identifying key performance indicators that would serve as a means of measuring our success.

Further, the RTA was successful in organizing the Hike Ontario Summit in September 2016, bringing hikers from across Ontario to see the Rideau Trail and learn about hiking from each other. Our end-to-end hikes are proving very popular as people seek a challenge.

Finally, we have seen an increase in our membership and it appears likely that this trend will continue – we need to be able to capitalize on these new members and ensure our activities meet their needs and the needs of future members.

4. Why now? – Financial stability and strong balance sheets

Adding to the success of the past few years is our financial stability. We have a surplus in our operating funds and in addition to a health Rideau Trail Preservation Fund which is there to ensure the protection, preservation and enhancement of the Rideau Trail.

Combined these funds provide us with flexibility and opportunity for new approaches, new activities and new developments, but we need a plan to use the funds wisely. We need to know how to use the funds effectively to ensure the continued development of the trail and the association.

5. Why now? – External factors

There are a number of factors outside of the Association, which suggest this is the right time for action.

More and more scientific evidence is demonstrating the health benefits of people being outdoors in nature. The Rideau Trail, with its mix of difficult and easy trail sections is an ideal resource for our communities to access for their exposure to nature, regardless of their level of ability. Walking or hiking is one of the most universal forms of exercise to improve physical and mental well-being.

In addition, many countries are promoting hiking as a vacation idea, from walking between villages in many European countries to hiking more challenging routes in remote areas. There is a demand by travelers (domestic and foreign) for more active holidays, and the RTA can provide the training and preparation for these activities.

6. Looking ahead

Taken together, all of the above factors argue in favour of now being the time to move the RTA forward.

We need to think about where we should be going with the development of the trail and the development of our association. The Board needs to look at our future and determine what we need to ensure the Rideau Trail is around for another 50 years, attracting long distance hikers, day hikers and hiking families.

We have the financial resources within the organization, we have the people who are willing to tackle the challenges of strategic planning and to assist the Board with its work.

We need to build on our recent successes and build the Association and the trail towards the 50th anniversary, and on for the next fifty years.

For more information, contact:

Brian Grant, Chair
RTA Strategic Planning Working Group