Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Chelsea Trails? Chelsea Trails is a community-based, not-for-profit group of volunteers dedicated to creating and preserving a green trail network linking neighbourhoods and key destinations such as the village centre, schools, community centres and natural assets such as Gatineau Park and the Gatineau River. The organization is a registered charity with a volunteer board of directors. We are always looking for new members and trail enthusiasts to support our efforts.
- How do I get involved? How do I become a member?We are always looking for volunteers. There is an annual membership fee of $20 to become a member of Chelsea Trails. In addition to helping to pay expenses, membership also allows you to vote at the Annual General Meeting. But people can also get involved simply as supporters and volunteers, helping with trail building, fundraising, special events, mapping, translations, etc. if you are interested in supporting trails in Chelsea please consider getting involved. You can join and pay on-line from our home page, or send us an email with your contact information.
- What relationship does Chelsea Trails have with the Municipality of Chelsea? Chelsea Trails is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization with charitable status. Since its launch in 2009, it has established an excellent partnership with the municipality to develop a trail network within our community. Chelsea Trails initiated action to develop the Master Plan for Active Transportation (a high-level municipal planning document), maintains an inventory of all known trails in the municipality, and provides recommendations concerning trails to the municipality when land is being developed. Chelsea Trails also actively assists the municipality− through fund raising, signage and special events− to ensure the annual operation of the Community Railway Winter Trail. The municipality supports Chelsea Trails by purchasing tools and building materials used by volunteers who construct trails.
- What trails exist in Chelsea? Are trail maps available? There are hundreds of trails in Chelsea, some of which have existed for many decades. However, the majority of trails are located on private property and therefore cannot be publicized without the consent of land owners. Chelsea Trails is currently building trails on municipal property, as well as on private properties where the land owner has agreed to allow trails to be used by the public. Maps will be posted on the websites of both Chelsea Trails and the Municipality of Chelsea when these trails are completed.
- Who can use the trails in Chelsea? What activities are permitted? Where trails are located on municipal land, or on private land where owners have given permission, the trail network is designed for multi-purpose, non-motorized use by the general public. An excellent example is the Community Railway Winter Trail on the railway corridor, which follows the Gatineau River. The corridor is groomed in winter for cross country skiing, walking, snow-shoeing and running. However, most trails are located on private property and such trails are often used on a very local basis by neighbours, often with the informal consent of the land owners. Trail users are strongly encouraged to ask permission of the land owners before using any trail on private property.
- Is there a code of conduct for trail users? What are the rules? Chelsea Trails encourages all trail users to use common sense while on the trails. Please stay on marked trails and respect the fact that adjacent land is private property. Please be respectful of neighbours and wildlife – talk quietly, avoid excessive noise and avoid damaging the natural environment. If you walk with your dog, please ensure it is under control at all times. If you see litter on the trail, please help clean it up. Chelsea’s trails are non-motorized – snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles are prohibited.
- Are users of trails allowed/encouraged to park on roads at trailheads? Is there a different answer for private versus public roads? As there are many dozens of trails throughout the municipality, there is no one answer with respect to parking locations. In most cases, the number of trail users on any given trail is very low, and most users will be local neighbourhood residents who walk to trails. Trail users who drive to trailheads are expected to respect municipal parking restrictions and to use common sense to ensure that roadways and private driveways are not obstructed by parked vehicles.
- What is being done to develop more trails in Chelsea? In short, a lot is being done. In autumn 2014, the Municipality approved a Master Plan which integrates trail planning into the land development and recreational planning processes at the Municipality. As part of this, Chelsea Trails provides recommendations on trail locations to the municipality whenever land is proposed for development. To encourage more trails on private lands, Chelsea Trails and the municipality can sign agreements with individual land owners that provide owners with liability insurance coverage. When opportunities exist to expand the trail network, Chelsea Trails organizes trail construction projects using volunteers, with tools and materials provided by the Municipality of Chelsea.
- What are work bees like? What’s involved? Most trail building work activity is done in the fall when temperatures are cool and there are no bugs! Most work bees are held on Saturday mornings from 9:00 until noon, although other times are possible depending on the work to be done and the availability of volunteers. Up to a dozen volunteers meet at a specified location, help carry tools and materials to the site, and are assigned tasks by the project leader. Volunteers of all ages are welcome. Sometimes the work involves power tools. We typically stop for a refreshment break mid-morning. If physical work is not your thing, please consider volunteering to bring the coffee and muffins (we have thermoses!). You don’t need to commit to coming to every work bees – come only when you can. Work bees are a great way to meet your neighbours, get some fresh air and contribute to a worthwhile community project.
- What is Chelsea Trails’ position on the use of the Railway corridor? Chelsea Trails believes that if the train does not return, the railway corridor should be developed as an all season, non-motorized, multi-purpose community trail for the benefit of Chelsea residents. The corridor joins the neighbourhoods of Chelsea Village, Tenaga, Gleneagle, Kirks Ferry, Larrimac, Burnett, Cascades and Farm Point, and offers some of the best views of the beautiful Gatineau River. If a decision is made to end the lease agreement with the rail company (CCFO), we believe the rails and ties should be removed and that it should be converted to a year-round trail with a stone dust/gravel surface. It would be a dog friendly zone, encouraging walkers, runners, recreational cyclists and families with children to live actively and move safely around our community. It would provide an off road link to community institutions such as the Cascades Club, the Larrimac Golf Club and the Gatineau River Yacht Club and their summer camp programs. The corridor is easily accessible and flat, allowing for residents of all ages and abilities to get out and engage in a variety of fun, safe and healthy activities. The highly successful winter grooming should continue, to allow for seasonal skiing, snow shoeing and walking. Given its multi-purpose nature, relatively narrow width (with numerous steep drop offs into water), and close proximity to hundreds of Chelsea residences, we do not believe it should be used as the primary cycle commuting route through Chelsea. Chelsea Trails believes that Route 105 should be re-surfaced with paved cycling lanes and be developed as the main cycling route through Chelsea.
- If I make a donation to Chelsea Trails, what is the money used for? Donated monies are used to support our trail construction work and cover administrative costs such as insurance, meeting rooms, website, bank charges, etc. We have also established a Community Winter Railway Trail Fund to contribute to the costs of grooming and maintaining the winter trail. Donations for other specific purposes (e.g. to purchase a bench for a trail) are always welcomed. As a not for profit organization with charitable status Chelsea Trails can issue tax receipts in return for financial donations.
Trails on Private Property
- How can I find out who owns a property? The MRC des Colline’s website allows users to view property maps for the entire MRC des Collines, including the Municipality of Chelsea. Using this tool you can view a map which shows property lines for any given area of the municipality, select individual properties, and view details about the property, including ownership information. Access the website here.
- As a private land owner, why should I allow parts of my land to be used for trails? Chelsea has a rich history of trails. Many of these trails provide connections between neighbourhoods, allowing people to walk rather than drive to visit friends and neighbours. Trails provide access to nature and to local places of interest, such as look outs, the river, schools, sports fields, or other community spaces. They also improve safety by allowing people to avoid busy roads. Walking trails add value to our community, help reduce dependence on cars, and can enhance property values.
- What about Insurance for property owners? Chelsea Trails and the Municipality of Chelsea have developed a land owner agreement document to protect land owners who open their trails to public use. There is no cost to the land owner. Owners retain ownership of the property and the municipality provides liability insurance coverage. Signage will be installed to keep users on the trail and ensure respect for adjacent private property. Maintenance is carried out by Chelsea Trails volunteers. The agreement can be revoked at any time by the land owner if they feel the arrangement is not working out.
- Is signage of trails a requirement (e.g., for insurance)? Why can’t existing trails stay informal? If a property owner wishes to keep their trail informal that is well within their rights. However, if the land owner signs an agreement with the Municipality of Chelsea and Chelsea Trails, maintenance is provided by Chelsea Trails volunteers and liability insurance is provided under the municipality’s insurance policy. Trails that are covered by land owner agreements will have signage installed so that users will know the trail location and to help ensure respect for adjacent private property.