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Kolapore wilderness trails

Origins of the Kolapore Wilderness Trails

01 Jun 2023 12:00 AM | Anonymous

The origins of the Kolapore Trails can be traced to a ski trip by members of the University of Toronto Outing Club (UTOC) to the McGill Outing Club’s house in the Laurentians in February 1973.   This trip introduced the UTOC members to the traditional ski trails of the Laurentians and made them aware of the fun of wilderness skiing.  Subsequent exploration around the UTOC Cabin at Metcalfe Rock revealed that the area had tremendous potential for cross-country skiing, and the idea of the Kolapore trails was born.

A federal Opportunities for Youth Grant allowed the hiring of workers during the summer of 1973, and these workers plus UTOC volunteers in the fall of 1973 created the initial trail network.  The trails officially opened in December 1973.   The first winter was a great success; members of the Outing Club fell in love with skiing in the Kolapore Uplands, and a few other skiers managed to find the trails, guided by a rudimentary map that sold for 25 cents.

After 50 years, many things have changed.  The trails are now managed for biking and hiking in addition to cross-country skiing.  Trail standards have been substantially upgraded.  The trails are managed by an incorporated organization – the Kolapore Wilderness Trails Association – and the University of Toronto Outing Club has no formal role in the trails.  The awareness and popularity of the Kolapore Uplands has increased dramatically, partly because of the trails.  Over time there has been increased recognition of the very significant natural values of the Kolapore area, and the need to protect the area.   What hasn’t changed is a desire to have a great wilderness trails system that is managed by dedicated volunteers.  

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