“It’s really a great trail,” said Caine during a phone interview October 4. “I’d like to help raise awareness of its and the need to maintain it.”
Caine heard through local media about the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council’s (UCPR) recent decision to let the lease agreement with VIA Rail expire. That agreement was responsible for creation of the 72-kilometre recreational trail, using a former railway route bed.
A majority of the mayors on UCPR council are concerned about the future expense for the counties to maintain the trail. A UCPR public works report estimated as much as $6 million over a 10-year period for maintenance work on most sections of the trail and improvements to others to address user safety issues.
Caine lives in Blackburn Hamlet, which he describes, with a chuckle, as “just a hop, skip, and a jump from the start of the trail.” His introduction to the PR Trail was four years ago when he ran the full length of it as a fundraiser project for cancer.
“That’s when I really discovered it,” he said, and since then he’s ran parts of the trail on a regular basis as part of his normal running routine.
Now he plans to run the entire length of the PR Trail again October 30 to celebrate his 45th birthday and also to help convince UCPR council to reconsider its decision about cancelling the lease with VIA Rail.
“My main goal is to do as much of it as I can, to try and bring attention to it,” Caine said, adding that he is an ultramarathoner, so he is used to extreme long-distance running.
“We all really need to have access to trails and green space,” he said, “and they are both as important for mental health as for physical health. It (PR Trail) is something I think we’ll all regret not trying to save it for the future.”
Caine hopes to see other people, both from the Prescott-Russell region and from Ottawa, join him on the PR Trail October 30 to show their support for its continued existence.
“I really hope they realize what a treasure they have in their backyards,” he said.