Preserve the PPJ!

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I am a summer resident of the Pontiac with a cottage near Portage and I have biked the PPJ many times, sometimes with friends from Toronto and even Mexico who are enchanted by the quiet beauty, water views and sense of history afforded by
travelling on the original rail bed through the small valley towns. The sense of safety and peace away from traffic is a big plus.

I am a summer resident of the Pontiac with a cottage near Portage and I have biked the PPJ many times, sometimes with friends from Toronto and even Mexico who are enchanted by the quiet beauty, water views and sense of history afforded by
travelling on the original rail bed through the small valley towns. The sense of safety and peace away from traffic is a big plus.
Sadly I have had to deal with ATVers who are illegally using the trail.  At times, despite clearly marked deterrent gates and a $500 fine, they recklessly rip up these trails and endanger bicyclists, some of whom have young children with them. There is no way bicycles and ATVs can coexist and to argue this position is clueless.
The economic benefits to this area are easy to appreciate if you watch the success of larger, but also economically disadvantaged areas like Cornwall that have
developed safe bicycling corridors that now have flourishing cafes and restaurants
frequented by bicyclists seeking scenic, safe paths to explore.
Bicyclists tend to spend money and are likely to tell other bicyclists about scenic, safe paths; especially close to Ottawa, which has the largest bicycling community in North America.
Canada now has successful and popular bicycle magazine, Canadian Cycling, with a large subscription base; it usually features articles on areas to cycle and an article in this magazine would bring more bicyclists to the Pontiac – but only if they have a secure trail.
As a physician with ER experience, I have seen the carnage and tragedy that ATV driving ensues, especially when alcohol is invariably involved as it so often is. I hope the citizens of this area preserve and develop the PPJ as a nature bicycle
network and protect it from ATV supporters who add little to the economic development of this beautiful historic region.

Jonathan Mackenzie MD
CARP, ON