28 March, 2024

World Trails Conference Announces Distinguished Speaker Line-up

Parliament Hill, Ottawa

OTTAWA – A globally renowned conservationist, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and the head of Europe’s network for natural and cultural heritage will headline the speaker line-up at the World Trails Conference this fall in Ottawa.   

The conference, hosted by Trans Canada Trail, is poised to be an unparalleled gathering of outdoor enthusiasts, experts and advocates from around the world. This is the first time in its history the conference will be hosted in North America. 

The first three keynote speakers announced for this prestigious event — which runs Sept. 30 – Oct. 3 — include trailblazers in their respective fields:  

  • Dianne Whelan, a filmmaker and adventurer renowned for her award-winning documentary 500 Days in the Wild.   
  • Harvey Locke, a Canadian conservationist and co-founder of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and Nature Needs Half.  
  • Carol Ritchie, Executive Director of the EUROPARC Federation, the representative body of Europe’s Protected Areas. 

Their insights are sure to captivate attendees and inspire meaningful conversations about the future of trails and their impact on communities, nature and well-being. 

More than 80 other speakers will engage in this year’s conference theme, “Connection to people, places and the planet.” A full speaker list, including additional keynotes, will be announced soon. Find more information at: worldtrailsconference.org. 

“As Canada’s trail sector leader, we’re thrilled to convene the global outdoors community for discussion on the value of trails in Canada and abroad,” says Mathieu Roy, VP and Chief Trail Experience Officer at Trans Canada Trail. “This year’s speaker line-up promises four days of important dialogue that will inspire and inform trail stewardship for years to come.” 

In addition to thought-provoking presentations, the conference will feature diverse activities, trail journeys, workshops and a celebratory reception. Delegates will have the opportunity to delve into topics such as climate resilience, sustainable tourism, economic development and trail accessibility. 

“The World Trails Conference is a crucial platform for fostering dialogue, sharing knowledge, and sparking new ideas that benefit trails and trail professionals,” says Jackie Randle, International Chair of the World Trails Network (WTN). “The line-up of speakers the WTN has assembled represents a vast wealth of experience and expertise.  Conference attendees will find the sessions to be both informative and at times entertaining.”  

The World Trails Conference offers delegates an unprecedented opportunity to engage with global trail experts, forge meaningful networks, and shape the future of trail experiences worldwide. Registration is open, with early-bird rates closing March 30, 2024 and advance rates closing July 30, 2024.  

Media are invited to attend the conference and may request a press pass. 


Media contact 

Justin Fauteux, Manager, Media and Public Relations
Trans Canada Trail

About Trans Canada Trail

The Trans Canada Trail (the Trail) is the longest recreational trail in the world, spanning over 28,000 kilometres on land and water. Linking three oceans – the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic – the Trail connects 15,000 rural, urban and Indigenous communities across every province and territory. It is a ribbon that connects Canada’s diverse landscapes, seasons, people and experiences, and fosters unity, collaboration and connectedness. Trans Canada Trail is a registered charity and stewards this national trail in collaboration with local trail partners. With funding from the Government of Canada through Parks Canada, and investments from all levels of government and generous donors, Trans Canada Trail is the largest investor in trail infrastructure projects in Canada, supporting improvements, growth and enhancements for generations to come. 

About the World Trails Network

Founded in 2012, the World Trails Network is the largest globally representative and dedicated trails non-profit organization of its kind, consisting of trail organizations and professional trail experts, working collaboratively for the enhancement and betterment of trails around the world. worldtrailsnetwork.org