Project Description:

The Natural Environment Trail Strategy (NETS) represents the first phase of system wide planning for 300 kilometres of informal, natural environment trails, which until now, has been managed on a piece-meal basis.

The Strategy represents a shift in natural area management philosophy that recognizes that building better, sustainable trails with a light footprint is more effective than attempting to limit all public access.

This approach provides a greater sense of community ownership, increased awareness and opportunities for environmental protection, and increased access to nature, low cost recreation and interpretation opportunities.

The NETS will underpin all future planning, design and management of trails in natural parkland and ravine ecosystems across the Greater Toronto Area.

City of Toronto / Toronto, ON
Project Innovations:
  • A shift in natural area management philosophy within highly urbanized areas.
  • Extensive data collection and community engagement including trail counters, “live-web mapping,” input from trail users, local stakeholders and community groups through stratified trailhead intercept surveys, online surveys, community hikes and information sessions, watershed working groups and public information sessions and workshops.


  • National Merit Award from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA)
  • Merit Award for Recreational Planning Excellence by the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP)
  • Project Excellence Award from the American Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals
Project Sub-consultants:
Project Related links:

Natural Environment Trail Strategy