Island Trails continues to grow and offer a cycling experience for all ages
     February 25, 2008 — Michael Nesbitt

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI -- Planning for the Island Trails recreational cycling season is well underway after a recent meeting of Trails, government and volunteer representatives. A full schedule of Tip-to-Tip events will be capped again this year with a three-day Cycle East celebration, and new training opportunities are scheduled for volunteers who support the programs.

Tip-to-Tip events are scheduled weekly between May 27 and September 17 this year, with the Island East Cycling Event rounding out the list on the Thanksgiving Weekend.

The Tip-to-Tip program gives recreational cyclists the opportunity to cover the complete network of Island Trails through a series of short, family-friendly segments. Participants meet at an identified access point for a chosen segment and ride to an identified exit point at their own pace, with accompanying Trail Officers providing support, security and assistance when needed. The rides are scheduled for evenings or Saturdays to maximize participation.

Cyclists can ride at their own pace, or enjoy the outings as a group. Meeting other trail users and enjoying the event with family or friends is an important part of the events. Any cyclists who register at these free events and complete all the segments over the Spring and Summer will be presented with a Tip-to-Tip certificate acknowledging their achievement.

Anchoring the end of the schedule will be the Island East Cycling Event. This will be the second year of this celebration, covering the segments from St. Peter's to Souris, Mt. Stewart to Montague, and Iona to Wood Islands over the Thanksgiving long weekend, October 11-13. The registration cost will be $20 and covers refreshments, prize opportunities, entertainment and point-of-origin transportation from the destinations for the entire event.

Commercial support is an important part of this event. Company or organizations donating funds or in-kind support will have their logo displayed on 3,000 brochures that will be distributed locally, provincially and off-Island as promotional material. Deadline for sponsorship is May 15, 2008.
Island Trails always welcomes volunteers for its programs. The Trail Officer program is one of the most visible of these opportunities, carrying the responsibility of helping to maintain security, reporting trail activity and promoting voluntary compliance with trail rules and regulations by trail users. A training session will be held April 5-6 this year and there are still a few seats available for interested participants. Applicants will be interviewed in March, so early request is important.

Once trained, Trail Officers are sworn in as police officers for the purposes of the Trails Act and provided identifying clothing and authorization for their duties.

Trail Watch volunteers are also in demand. This is a less official participation in trail promotion, but no less important than other efforts.

"Volunteer Trail Watchers are the eyes and ears of the trail. They observe record and report on a section of trail on a weekly basis. They may choose the same section of trail each week or they may act as a rover and report on different sections. They are also the trail's ambassadors in providing information to other trail users including tourists," says Island Trails president Denis Dunne on the organization's website.

Island Trails is interested, also, in partnering with communities across the province during their local festivals and celebrations. Already, Island Trails volunteers have agreed to participate in the Ride for Africa, May 16-18, and will be conducting some of its Tip-to-Tip events in conjunction with community festivals.

Full listings of confirmed events and programs is available on the website. Contact information for the Trails Coordinator, Trails executive and other officials is also on the site.

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