Regional Trails as the Spine of a Small Town and Rural Active Transportation Networks

Trails have the opportunity to seamlessly connect vast regions. They become the spine of an active transportation network, that connects people to areas beyond the trail’s reach.

by Richard Allen, Manager of Economic Development, Frontenac County, Ontario, Mike Rose, Principal, Alta Planning + Design, Ezra Lipton, Urban Planner and Designer, Alta Planning + Design


The K&P Trail is a 46 km rail to trail located in Frontenac County and Kingston, in eastern Ontario. The trail travels through urban, suburban and rural settings including a dedicated crossing under a multi-lane highway. The trail is intended for recreational use, but has created an opportunity for residents living in rural areas to commute into the city.

The trail showcases the natural and built heritage of the region passing historic remains and provincially-significant wetlands. The trail crosses into multiple townships welcoming walkers, cyclists, equestrians, and ATVs in certain sections.

The role of the trail in creating a spine for the regional active transportation network will be discussed and how it aligns with the tourism and health goals of Frontenac County. Challenges include developing an inter-jurisdictional trail with a mix of users, now and into the future.

About the Authors

Richard Allen is Manager of Economic Development for Frontenac County. For the past 10 years, Frontenac County has embarked on a trails-based economic development strategy centered around the development of the K&P Trail, a 75 KM railway corridor that runs from the City of Kingston to Sharbot Lake. Richard’s approach to economic development brings together 15 years of experience in municipal politics, executive business training, adventure tourism and community development. Richard rides his bike almost daily, but wouldn’t call himself a cyclist. He has also trained for an participated in two half-marathons, but wouldn’t call himself a runner.

Mike Rose is a landscape architect with over 18 years of experience. He is an expert project manager who leads a broad range of planning, design, and engineering projects including parks, soft surface trails, rails-with-trails, and regional trails. He is the Principal-in-Charge for the CVLink Pathway. Mike also leads Alta’s Trails service area, providing strategic oversight to projects across the country. His work ranges from trail connections in rural environments to regionwide greenway plans.

Ezra Lipton is an urban planner and designer with experience working across Canada and in Mexico. He is a creative problem solver with interests in public consultation, GIS analytics, and facility design. Ezra strongly believes in the role that active transportation improvements in the public realm can make in creating beautiful, sustainable places. Ezra previously worked for the City of Toronto on transportation demand management.