Rainbow Routes Association set to guide group hikes through urban areas

Greater Sudbury's Rainbow Routes Association wants area residents to join its "Green Gym."

Greater Sudbury residents encouraged to take part in first urban hike on Jan. 13 at Memorial Park

Daniel Barrette and Veronique Charbonneau with Rainbow Routes Association are excited for new, organized urban hikes to begin in Sudbury. The first one launches Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Park in downtown Sudbury. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

Greater Sudbury's Rainbow Routes Association wants area residents to join its "Green Gym."

The non-profit group, which encourages healthy, outdoor living, has a new program called Explore Sudbury.

The initiative involves regularly scheduled urban hikes led by volunteer guides.

Executive director Daniel Barrette says the hikes will differ from one another and include both urban and natural elements.

"We have little connectors, little trails all over town," he said.

"So we want to bring out the beauty of the urbanized world that we've created, but also walk along those little green spaces that still exist, those pockets of beautiful areas all around town."

Barrette says the urban hikes expand on the popularity of Rainbow Routes' hike club.

The organized urban hikes through Rainbow Routes Association will be of varying degrees of difficulty. While some hikers can trudge through deep snow others can take a nearby pathway. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

'Passionate' hike leaders

"We'll try and point out just about everything: tunnels, murals, art, beautiful plants if we're in the summer, historical places," project manager Veronique Charbonneau said.

"We might have some hike leaders [who] have specific knowledge regarding history, geology. They're very dedicated, very passionate. So they're naturally doing this because they enjoy it."

She says they've already had more than 30 volunteers express an interest in leading some of the urban hikes.

Hike leaders will wear blue vests and carry a whistle.

Charbonneau says the first few hikes will mainly focus on hiking and walking, but then Rainbow Routes hopes to create hikes with themes, such as visiting coffee shops, or learning history during a hike.

The hikes will be open to everyone, and some of the treks will be easier than others.

"Definitely, we want to get people who don't do this on a daily basis ... to come out," Charbonneau said.

She adds the urban hikes would be a great activity for tourists or new comers to get to know the city, discover treasures or make friends.

The first urban hike is planned for Friday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Park.


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