Bill Bowick | Aug 22, 2018

Central Frontenac has had three railroads and, a hundred and thirty years ago, almost had a fourth. That makes for hundreds of road crossings and at least two railway crossings. The oldest of these was created when The Ontario and Quebec Railway (OQR) crossed the K&P in Sharbot Lake in the late 1800s, giving the name of the pub in Sharbot Lake a legitimacy that was probably not anticipated.

That railway crossing is today a trail crossing. And it has the potential to become a very major one, which could turn Sharbot Lake into a trail hub and Central Frontenac into a significant travel destination. It has already given us trails into town from four different directions.

To the north, the K&P right-of-way forms the back-bone of a snowmobile trail all the way to Calabogie. Some of this is privately owned, but within Central Frontenac, the right-of-way is a multi-use trail owned by the municipality…a start.

To the east, the OQR right-of-way (later CPR’s Havelock subdivision) provides a multi-use trail almost to Glen Tay.

The OQR also provides a multi-use trail to the west. The trail to Tweed has been registered as part of the Trans Canada Trail for more than twenty-five years and connects us to all of western Canada through what is now called The Great Trail network.

To the south, the K&P (with exception of some short pieces between St. George’s Lake and Tichborne) gives us a multi-use trail to Kingston and connects to all of eastern Canada via The Great Trail Network at Harrowsmith.

These four trails give us the mechanism for a new kind of bike rally, one of which allows participants to choose their level of effort and to go as either individuals or as part of a group. There will be four return bike rides starting from the Railway Heritage Park. They are different in distance and quality of trail surface, so some are more demanding than others. If a rider completes the most difficult ride, he will be given a red ribbon, for the easiest ride, a yellow ribbon and other colours in between. The really tough riders who do all four may be seen sporting four different coloured ribbons. “Bragging rights” is the prize.

Riders must register at the check-in desk before they start and check in on return. Their proof of completion will be a selfie taken at the turn around point. If you don’t have a camera, I guess we’re just going to have to trust you. The north ride will be on the K&P with a turnaround at the little round lake north of highway #7. The east ride will be on the CPR line with turnaround at Fall River Road. The west ride will be on the CPR line south of Sharbot Lake with turnaround where the trail crosses Brewer Road. The south ride will be on the K&P with turnaround at St. George’s Lake.

Biking at the crossing is one of a number of events planned for the second annual Trail Day on September 15. Plan to be there. Even if you’re not a cyclist, it will be fun to watch others come and go as you enjoy the other activities.

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