Who We Are
For more than a hundred years, the culture of our village has been defined by the beauty of the landscape of the Gatineau hills and river. It is this treasured asset and the access to the natural worlds and recreation that continues to draw residents and visitors alike. SCT was founded by residents dedicated to finding ways to preserve what remains of Chelsea’s rich cultural and historical legacy of trails, and, where possible, to enhance and expand this existing trail system. Through these trails we promote active living, active transport and enjoyment of nature.
Through our trail building efforts and our partnership with the municipality, and other community groups, SCT works to give the trail network a strong voice in our community. We strive to:
- Advocate for the preservation of longstanding, informal community trail routes
- Improve active transport options for Chelsea residents and visitors
- Seek out opportunities to build Chelsea’s trail networks through new trail development
- Integrate trail considerations in the development and recreational planning processes at the Municipality
- Help turn the Municipality’s inventory of raw lands designated for trails into active trails
- Expand the network of trails in a sustainable and environmentally sensitive way.
The vibrant trails culture and trails networks we have in Chelsea could not exist without the dedication, energy and talents of our strong volunteer workforce. Hundreds of SCT volunteers have invested thousands of hours to map, build and maintain the trails we use. And we will continue to need volunteers to help with trail building and maintenance. If you are willing to lend a hand, or interested in allowing trails on your property, please get in touch!
Change is coming to Chelsea, with several new housing subdivisions breaking ground throughout the municipality. These developments will have a significant impact on the labyrinth of informal trails which have existed for generations. But they also provide opportunities to further extend the official trail network on land acquired by the municipality. The potential exists to create additional municipal trails to establish green links between more neighbourhoods to the centre-village.
Our Trail Network
Chelsea Park – Belle Terre Network
This network is part of the vast active transportation plan of our Municipality, which was put in motion eight years ago. Since then, volunteers have invested more than 900 hours in opening trails and constructing footbridges and bridges. Over the past few years, a close collaboration has developed between SCT, the Municipality and the residents of these neighbourhoods.
Certainly, this collaboration has had its ups and downs. However, during the pandemic these trails have proven that their creation made sense. The objectives of having such a network have been amply met. These objectives were to create a sense of belonging and connectedness, and to promote physical activity.
We would like to thank all the volunteers who, in one way or another, have taken part in this wonderful adventure.
The only thing left to do is to establish a final link, that of creating a trail leading to the Centre-village.
To be continued…
Community Rail Trail
It all began in 2006 when the railway corridor was turned into a short, winter trail, groomed by the local ski club, to give their racers a place to practise. Over the next 10 years, SCT took on the winter trail effort and volunteers supported the grooming, maintenance, fundraising and expansion of the winter trail. In 2015, SCT presented their vision of a 4 season multi-purpose trail to the municipality and a strong partnership was formed to turn it into a reality. The trail traces the history of our community through an interpretive panels project with the Gatineau Valley Historical Society and connects nine neighbourhoods with a safe, offroad pathway to the centre-village, schools and community centres.
In Fall 2020, the trail reaches a major milestone. The resurfacing of the entire 22 kilometer section of the rail bed will be completed, making it a smooth, safe trail for walkers of all ages, including seniors, young families, and runners, skiers, birders, dog lovers,bikers, children heading to school and young ski racers training.
Chelsea Creek Bridge
This project will allow for the construction of a dedicated, multi-purpose pathway to provide an active transportation link between Chelsea’s centre village and Boulevard de la Technologie in Gatineau located a few kilometers south. The pathway, which will run along the right-of-way of Highway 5, will offer Chelsea residents new options for utilitarian and recreational use including a safe cycling connection to Gatineau and Ottawa. This modal shift could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by a few thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). In addition, approximately one hundred thousand dollars in expenses could be avoided by the citizens of Chelsea.
The portion of the pathway along the Chelsea Creek housing project is already built. Soon the firm Multivesco, the project promoter, will complete the connections of the neighbourhood pathways to the Chelsea Creek Pathway.
The main challenge will be the construction of a bridge across Chelsea Creek ravine. Thanks to a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Fund, Sentiers Chelsea Trails (SCT) and the municipality are currently working on feasibility studies that will hopefully be completed before February 1, 2021. The current schedule calls for completion of the second phase of studies, plans and specifications in 2021 and trail construction in 2022.
SCT would like to thank the developers of Chelsea Creek and Quartier Meredith for their financial support of this project.
Centre Village Trail Network
Hautes-Plaines Trail Upgrade
A new project is underway on the west side of Highway 5 to upgrade the Hautes-Plaines trail, connecting Chelsea’s centre-village to Gatineau city limits and the NCC trail network of Gatineau Park. Parts of this 3.8 km trail are well used but other parts, crossing difficult terrain, are in need of significant improvements to the surface and to the crossings over two ravines as well as over Chelsea Creek. Designated as a Structural Corridor (AS2) in the Active Transport Master Plan, this trail, when completed, will offer year-round recreational and active transport commuting opportunities for Chelsea residents and visitors alike.
For planning purposes, the trail is divided into North and South sections.
The undeveloped northern section runs along municipal land acquired for the trail during the Hendrick Farm subdivision process. It extends from Old Chelsea Road to Chelsea creek where it meets the southern section, which is made up of traditional trails on old farm roads and fields now belonging to Quebec’s Ministry of Transport. This southern section of the trail is 2.7 km long and ends at Chelsea’s southern border with the city of Gatineau, where it meets the vast National Capital Commission network of trails.
The short term priority for the Hautes-Plaines trail is to improve trail accessibility by building culverts over two ravines in the southern section. This project is being led by a very active local trails committee of residents from the neighbourhoods bordering the Hautes-Plaines trail.
My husband Geoff and I first started talking about moving to Chelsea after looking and looking for a home in Ottawa and realizing that maybe we wanted more than city living. Our friends Lydia and Felix have lived here for years and we would always come out for their...
Due to the current situation no events are planned.
Join a Crew
The vibrant trails culture and trails networks we have in Chelsea could not exist without the dedication, energy and talents our strong volunteer workforce . Hundreds of SCT volunteers have invested thousands of hours to map, build, maintain and advocate for the trails we use. As our trail networks grow there are so many jobs to be done. Want to help? Please get in touch.
For trail planning, we need people for surveying, engineering/technical drawing for structures such as small bridges and to help negotiate landowner agreements. Trail building and maintenance requires clearing bush, carrying materials, building boardwalks, constructing stone stairs, and installing signs. For ongoing trail maintenance, there’s brush cutting, clearing branches, repairing bridges/boardwalks and signage, and picking up litter that needs to be done. For our two annual events, we need event planners, organizers, and we always need trail photographers, social media posting, website editing, grant writing, fundraising and other committee work to support our board of directors.
Create your own Trail
One of the key ways Chelsea’s trail network is growing is through the generosity of some property owners who have added their own trails to the broader trail network. How? By signing a revocable land owner agreement with Sentiers Chelsea Trails and the Municipality of Chelsea, and granting permission for their trail or a section of a trail to be used by the public.
This has become an increasingly popular option because it helps provide valuable trail connections between local neighbourhoods while respecting private property rights. The agreements provide liability coverage through the Municipality of Chelsea’s insurance, and the agreements can be ended at any time if the owner wishes (none have to date!). SCT looks after all paperwork and will maintain the trail. We now have agreements with 18 landowners in Chelsea and more are in the works. Through this simple process you can make a huge impact on the trail network.
Interested? Please get in touch with us.
Become a lifetime member
By becoming a member of Chelsea Trails you are investing in the preservation of our precious and historic trails networks, advocacy for future trails infrastructure , and the ability to pursue an active lifestyle close to home.
For more than a hundred years, the culture of our village has been defined by the beauty of the landscape and wildlife of the Gatineau hills and river. It is this treasured asset and the access to the natural world and recreation that continues to draw residents and visitors alike.
In the face of rapid development, we need your voice more than ever to help us build a vision, shape the future, spread the word and keep this trails culture alive and growing within our community. Please speak up for our environment and our lifestyle and become a lifetime member of Chelsea Trails by getting in touch.
SCT has developed a strong volunteer workforce to build and maintain trail networks through planning. It works in close partnership with the Municipality who supplies building materials, tools, and signage for trail building, supports winter trail grooming and provides insurance for the trails. Voie Verte Chelsea (VVC) was created in 2017 as a fundraising arm to drive the campaign to generate revenue for the transformation of the rail corridor into a year-round trail.