Thousand Islands Parkway

The gorgeous Thousand Islands Parkway is famous for the breathtaking panoramic landscapes and its’ natural features. Seemingly endless emerald and blue vistas that stretch off into the distance like a world all its own. Sprawling forests, and gorgeous trails ripe for exploring. Scenic drives along the shoreline, and time spent out on the river. The wind in your face, the warmth of the sun and the sheer majesty of it all.

The Parkway is host to Ivy Lea Campground and the beautiful Brown’s Bay beach. It is perfect for cycling, swimming, and boating.

Trail Etiquette along the Thousand Islands Parkway

The Thousand Islands Parkway is home to a multi-use recreational trail that may be used year-round when conditions are safe to do so. The St. Lawrence Parks Commission owns the right-of-way that includes the paved recreational trail and surrounding green space.

For the 2023-24 winter season, the multi-use recreational trail will be maintained through a pilot partnership with the Elizabethtown Snowmobile Club (ESC). The groomed multi-use recreational trail can be used by pedestrians, skiers, snowshoers and snowmobiles when conditions allow and it is safe to do so. The site is unsupervised and users do so at their own risk.

Enhancing Multi-Use Trail Safety: St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC) & Elizabethtown Snowmobile Club (OFSC - District 1) Pilot Partnership Agreement

In an effort to enhance safety on the Thousand Islands Parkway Multi-Use Recreational Trail in winter months, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission launched a pilot project partnership with the Elizabethtown Snowmobile Club, to create an OFSC snowmobile trail along the Thousand Islands Parkway Multi-Use Recreational Trail.

Snowmobiling has been allowed along the trail since 2014. Now, under the partnership, all snowmobilers are required to hold an OFSC permit and to follow OFSC rules.

ESC will provide trail marking and maintenance as well as trail wardening, making the trail safer for all users. Additionally, the ESC will provide grooming services during the winter months, creating a packed snow trail that is safe for walking pedestrians and other sport and recreation users.

SLPC & ESC Partnership Pilot Project

  • SLPC is seeking to improve the safety for all users of the Thousand Islands Parkway Multi-Use Recreational Trail by establishing partnerships with multiple user groups, including the Elizabethtown Snowmobile Club, an Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) District 1 Club.
  • Snowmobile use has been allowed along the multi-use path since 2014.
  • OFSC manages 30,000 kilometres of trails through their membership organizations, one of the world’s largest recreational trail systems. Through this experience, the OFSC has amassed expertise in trail management and safe practices and can support ESC and SLPC efforts to increase safety of snowmobiling alongside other winter activities.
  • A pilot project that began in 2022, a partnership agreement between SLPC and ESC created an OFSC snowmobile trail (E63) along the Thousand Islands Parkway Multi-Use Recreational Trail. The pilot project will continue through the 2023-2024 winter months.
  • The pilot project provides structure, regulation, increased safety and enhanced enforcement to snowmobile use along the Thousand Islands Parkway.
  • Additionally, the ESC will groom the multi-use trail throughout the winter months with grooming equipment once snow depth thresholds have been met, creating packed snow that will allow winter trail users to safely walk, snowshoe or cross-country ski along the Thousand Islands Parkway.
  • This partnership improves safety signage along the winter trail. During the winter months, the ESC adds ‘Stop’ and ‘Stop Sign Ahead’ signs for all trail users to mark junctions and improve safety for the users of the trail.
  • This partnership creates safer conditions for all users of the trail this winter. The ESC will perform winter maintenance of the trail, using an industrial groomer once minimum snow depth requirements have been met, defining a path for snowmobilers with dedicated signage and oversight.
  • The model for this pilot project was informed by the success of the Ottawa Valley Rail Trail (OVRT), a “one-size fits all trail” developed in recent years through partnerships, and now enjoyed by a multitude of users year-round.
  • The Thousand Islands Parkway Trail Advisory Committee community-led advisory committee has been working collaboratively with SLPC to determine a reasonable, sanctioned approach to creating a safe winter use trail. They have reviewed the OFSC partnership model and recommended the pilot project. Ontario Trails Council has also offered expertise on the pilot project.
  • Feedback on this pilot project is welcomed

Trail Users:

  • Non-motorized users always have the right-of-way. Expect and respect all other trail users and obey all trail signs and rules. Use of the trail is at your own risk.
  • Snowmobile users are now required to have a permit from the OFSC to use the Thousand Islands Parkway Multi-Purpose Trail for snowmobiling. A valid license and insurance are also required.
  • Stay on the trail. Do not divert from the marked trail.
  • Motorized vehicles other than snowmobiles (with valid OFSC permit) such as ATVs, side-by-sides and golf carts are prohibited on the trail.

Respect the Trail

The pilot partnership between SLPC & ESC creates safer conditions for all users of the trail this winter. The ESC will perform winter maintenance of the trail, once conditions are favourable for grooming, defining a path for all users with dedicated signage and oversight for snowmobilers.

Residents are asked for their cooperation in continuing to refrain from plowing the trail as it creates safety hazards for users, maintenance issues with the asphalt due to freeze-thaw cycles and could result in liability for those operating the plowing equipment. Private plowing of the trail is prohibited to ensure the safety of all trail users. Unauthorized plowing of the trail by local residents increases the risk of liability to the individuals conducting the plowing.

Only specific sections of the north lane (green space north of the paved recreational trail) may be plowed by permit holders that have applied, paid for, and who have been granted a Controlled Access Entrance Permit in order to gain safe access to their private property.

We would like to ensure the safety of the community and visitors while utilizing the trail. We ask that everyone respect the trail, the safety of its users and the sensitivity of the infrastructure.