The question is frequently asked on social networks. Someone is looking for ideas for hikes to do in such and such an area, sometimes with a specific request: a beautiful summit, an area accessible to dogs. Suggestions abound, often the same, sometimes interesting, occasionally irrelevant.
There is a tool that specifically aims to answer these kinds of questions, the Balise Quebec website. The Rando Quebec federation has just brought it up to date, with new features.
“Websites, and everything online today, are changing so fast that we had no choice but to follow the trend,” says Rando Québec’s director of operations, Olivier Bélanger.
The new version is notably more user-friendly on a mobile device.
The Balise Quebec site allows you to find a hiking trail to your liking by using a large number of filters: the region targeted, the length of the trail, its degree of difficulty or the possibility of hiking with your dog.
An interactive map of the entire province allows you to see what exists in the different regions. Each trail has a sheet that includes practical information such as a good description of the route and the route to get there. It includes an interactive map of the trail and a printable map in PDF format.
The sheet also provides a link to visit the site of the trail manager, whether it is a regional park, an NPO or a municipality. This collaboration with trail managers is the big difference between Balise Quebec and route sharing applications, such as Alltrails.
“For us, it’s super important to be in direct contact with the trail managers to get the official information,” says Mr. Bélanger. It allows us to display regional restrictions, such as thaw periods, hunting periods, temporary closures. »
This is a big issue: some trail managers have lost rights of way because people have violated such restrictions on private land.
Balise Québec also makes a distinction between winter and other seasons: some hiking trails turn into cross-country ski trails in winter, so they should be avoided. This is particularly the case of a popular trail on the Montagne Noire.
Balise Québec also provides hikers with more elaborate ready-to-go sheets for several trails. Maps of these can be downloaded to a mobile phone with the Avenza Maps application, to orient yourself in the field even when offline.
Balise Québec presents another novelty, a space for users. “They can create an account, make a list of preferences, like the 10 destinations of my summer 2023, comments Olivier Bélanger. They can also leave opinions, add photos. We see it as a big community. »
Fans of other outdoor sports, like canoeists, campers and rock climbers, shouldn’t be too jealous. Québec Aventure Plein Air has just revamped its website, which provides access to 230 companies accredited by Aventure Écotourisme Québec and some thirty regional parks in Québec.
Outdoor enthusiasts can consider a number of activities, from mountain biking and via ferrata to mycotourism and caving. They can make a choice by applying various criteria, such as the possibility of bringing their dog, renting equipment, connecting their vehicle to an electrical terminal or spending the night in unusual accommodation.
The Québec Aventure Plein Air site provides direct links to the websites of certified outdoor businesses and regional parks. It allows you to have all the information you need to plan an outing, without having to throw a question on the fly on social networks hoping for an accurate and useful answer.
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