KSA Club News: What’s in a name?

by Mark Daniels, KSA President

The old TCT signs need replacing.
The old TCT signs need replacing.

The Trans Canada Trail organization rebranded the TCT to The Great Trail in 2016, and ever since, they've been asking local agents like the KSA to replace all the trail identity signs along the route. I mentioned in the spring edition of the KSA News that we would be out replacing signs on the Trans Canada Trail this summer, pending a funding agreement with the parent organization. That agreement materialized in the form of a contract based on thirty-cent dollars—meaning TCT would pay the KSA 30 per cent of the cost to do the work. This is a fairly normal arrangement in the world of trail management as the compensation covers hard costs such as fuel and signs but not the volunteer labour required to get the work done.

We agreed to rebrand the trail in the highest traffic areas around Whitehorse: the main TCT trunk from north of Crestview to south of Wolf Creek as well as the Dawson Overland Trail up to Flat Creek. The contract was to remove all the old Trans Canada Trail signs and replace them with The Great Trail signs, based on the assumption that there were 21 TCT signs on the trail. We found that, over the years, the TCT signs had piled up to the point that most posts on the route had one or two signs each. Some of the posts at the trailheads had three TCT signs each, and one trailhead installation had 24 signs in a space the size of your kitchen. 

Overall, we removed 254 TCT signs from the trail and put up 22 Great Trail signs. Some signs had faded or had bullet holes but most of them were in good shape. We intend to recycle all the signs we removed, so let me know if you want one for your den wall before we get rid of them. 

Since we replaced 254 signs with only 22 new ones, you’ll likely notice the difference while out on the trail. We don’t plan to ever put up 200+ more Great Trail signs on those sections of trail but we’re not opposed to plunking an extra sign here or there if it’s really needed for navigation. Shoot us a note if you find such a place.

We got asked the obvious questions while out removing all those signs from the trail: “Why are you removing/replacing perfectly good signs?” and, “Why are you changing the name of the trail?” The name change was decided upon by TCT executives in Ottawa so I’ll use their rationale to explain.

“The Great Trail/Le Grand Sentier—created by Trans Canada Trail—is the longest network of multi-use recreational trails in the world. It is used by millions of Canadians and international visitors to experience our country’s legendary wilderness, cycle historic rail trails, explore provincial and territorial capitals, canoe the routes of early explorers, visit national and provincial parks and historic sites, commute to and from work, and enjoy the benefits of safe, healthy, active living.

Trans Canada Trail is responsible for facilitating the planning and development of The Great Trail, working closely with provincial/ territorial partners and local trail groups and municipalities; raising funds for local and national trail initiatives; and marketing and promotion of the Trail.

Now that the Trail is connected, we have turned our attention to engaging people of all ages in order to shine a light on this grand project. For this reason, we have launched a new brand platform. The Great Trail brand is designed to stand alone, apart from our corporate identity. In the logo, the words ‘The Great Trail,’ with their rugged lettering, are meant to be aspirational and make us feel proud that, together, we have created this incredible legacy. The swooshes on either side of the words create a sense of horizon, which is the view that all those traveling the Trail share; a vanishing point that extends from coast to coast to coast. This ‘view of the horizon’ is also an expression of our goal to engage younger generations, to keep us looking toward the future.

Trans Canada Trail continues to be our corporate name as a not-for-profit entity, while The Great Trail is the physical trail, the product that is delivered in conjunction with our Trail partners, as well as our marketing partners and corporate sponsors. Within the Trans Canada Trail organization is the Trans Canada Trail Foundation, the fundraising arm of the corporation.”

So there you have it—one organization with three distinct parts: the corporation, the fundraisers and the physical trail.

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