The Trans Canada Trail, scheduled to be formally opened in September, is one of the nations grandest millennium projects. When Bill Pratt, the civic leader who brought the Olympic Games to Calgary in 1988, and Pierre Camu of Ottawa founded the Trans Canada Trail Foundation eight years ago, their vision was of a quiet, cross-country corridor for hikers, cyclists and skiers. So both men were dismayed and angry when Canadian Geographic magazine informed them that local organizers were opening more than a quarter of the 16,000-km path to all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes. The magazines current issue reports that Pratt, interviewed a few days before his Nov. 27 death from Lou Gehrigs disease, was adamant that motorized vehicles—with the exception of limited snowmobile use in remote areas— should not be permitted on the trail. Camu, a former president of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, says flatly that ATVs violate the foundations “basic policy.”
Others are likely to share the founders’ reaction. Their concept featured prominently in the fund-raising effort that
brought in more than $7 million from Canadians and a half-dozen corporate sponsors, including Macleans and automaker Jeep. Promotional ads portrayed people on foot, on horseback and even behind dog teams, but none on ATVs. One Jeep ad for the trail proclaimed: “Jeep owners like to go their own way—sometimes even on foot.” But like the nation it links, the Trans Canada Trail is actually a federation of paths regulated by various independent organizations— many of which say their members want ATV access. So in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Yukon and parts of Ontario and Alberta, hikers had better be aware of the local rules. So much for getting away from it all.
Of loss and hope
Margaret Trudeau, 51, and her eldest son, Justin Trudeau, 28, appeared at a news conference in Vancouver last week and on The Vicki Gabereau Show to speak of the loss of Michel Trudeau and to raise awareness of the danger of avalanches. Michel died in the icy waters ofKokanee Lake, B. C, in November 1998, after an avalanche sent his skiing group hurtling down a mountain.
Here is what his mother had to say about dealing with the grief:
“It was like a nuclear bomb went off in our family and nothing could put it to-
gether again the way it was before because we’d lost our heartbeat from it. We’d lost our loving, loving son, his [Justin’s] loving brother, Pierre had lost his son. It was like a horrific nightmare.
But then through the gift of our faith, I think, and the gift of the support of our friends and our family and the groups that we used in our different ways to heal us, we’ve gone through a healing journey of grief.
“And I think we all know and we pass it on to each other constantly that Michel would want us to live happy, full lives. But we still cry.”
Here is what Justin Trudeau said of the site where his youngest brother’s body remains:
“It’s glorious. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. That’s where he was destined to be.”
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