Attached, please find a news release about a survey done by an Ausable Bayfield Conservation summer student, about the South Huron Trail – who uses it, why they like it, and the benefits to the area.
Also attached is a photo of the summer student – Lana Shapton, of Exeter.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE OF ISSUE: August 9, 2012
Locals, tourists alike enjoy serenity, health benefits of tr
Trail users say they are spending money at local businesses – dining, shopping
A survey of people who use the MacNaughton-Morrison and Morrison Dam sections of the South Huron Trail finds that trail lovers are coming from local areas as well as from outside the area. The survey done this summer finds that people enjoy the peacefulness of the trail as well as the health benefits it brings.
The survey was done in person, with trail users, by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) summer student Lana Shapton. She interviewed people who were using the trail (walking, running, fishing, cycling, or using assistive devices). She asked them their home town, how often they use the trail, why they use the trail, and their comments and suggestions.
Shapton, of the Exeter area, said the survey was done during the month of July. People said they liked the personal enjoyment they get from the trail, the health and exercise benefits, the convenience of the trail, the fact it is accessible, and the beauty of the natural surroundings.
“People used words like gorgeous, quiet, and peaceful to describe the trail,” Shapton said. “They love to see the different species of plants as well as birds and other animals.”
Survey respondents also said they enjoy signs that identify tree species, the shingles on the bridge to provide better grip, the fact the trail is well-maintained and safe, and the fact it provides a way to bicycle into Exeter without being on a roadway. They also liked the activities the trail offered (such as fishing or hiking) and areas where children can learn and play. Trail user suggestions included better marking of trail loops, maintenance immediately following rain events, and benches in more locations.
The survey also revealed economic spin-offs of the trail. Most of the trail users were from the Exeter area but many were visitors to the area. Shapton said the trail has not only health and nature benefits but economic benefits as well. “I talked to people from London and other communities who come to the Exeter area regularly for day trips including visits to the South Huron Trail as well as shopping and dining,” she said. “I have received some great positive comments about the trail.”
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CONTACT: Kate Monk, Supervisor of Stewardship and Conservation Lands, at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), 519-235-2610 or 1-888-286-2610 or e-mail email@example.com