Hay River’s section of the Trans-Canada Trail is now marked with areas to help people with disabilities better use recreational routes thanks to the help from crowd-sourcing app Access Now.

Trans Canada Trail announced in a Feb. 14 news release that its trail across all 13 provinces and territories now has updated information that will help users with disabilities make informed decisions before using the route.

Christina Giffen, who is a coordinator of programs and inclusion initiatives with the organization said she started working with Access Now to help evaluate and locate places on the trail where there could be barriers for people with accessibility limitations.

Hay River’s stretch of the trail was completed last Oct. 23 and was among 25 locations across the country.

“We identified a (local) mapper with a person with a disability and a guide to accompany them,” Griffin explained, noting that she worked closely with the Town of Hay River and the Hay River Committee for Persons with Disabilities.

With a collector app – a specially designed app on a cell phone- the group goes onto the trail and as they travel, they drop points where barriers may occur. They can also mark accessible points with positive feedback.

“As they go along the trail, they just drop points related to accessibility,” she said. “So if they encountered a barrier or something on the trail that is very accessible, they would rate it as accessible or not accessible.”

The Trans Canada Trail is known as the longest multi-use recreational trail in the world stretchin, 28,000 kilometres from coast to coast to coast. Hay River’s section of the trail was registered in 2006.

Stephane Millette, the town’s director of recreation said in a statement in a Feb. 17 email that the additional information for users is something for the community to be proud of and should improve the way all people make use of the route.

“I think this is a great initiative taken by the Trans Canada Trail and I’m very happy that Hay River was selected as one of the locations for this new service,” he said. “This can be an important service for residents and visitors.

“The data will also serve to inform the Town of Hay River in planning for future trail, accessibility, and transit upgrades.”

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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