Tell Your Stress to Take a Hike

A comprehensive look at Thunder Bay’s recreation trails

By Kassandra Rossi, Contributor

Autumn is always a stressful time on campus. The midterms, project, and essay due dates that seemed so far away in September have slowly crept up on us and are suddenly staring us in the face. Being able to balance school work with daily physical exercise can prove to be challenging for many. Luckily for Lakehead University students, Thunder Bay offers an amazing recreation trail system that any student can access, many of which are multi-use (biking or walking) and are open year round.

There are trails that start right on campus, running along the McIntyre River to an extensive trail system connecting Trowbridge Falls, Centennial Park, Cascades Conservation Area, The Bluffs, and Boulevard Lake. Closer to campus, trails go alongside Golf Links Road and Balmoral Street, as well as leading into George Burke Park, which is directly across from the LU Campus.

Cameron Gillis, a third year Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism, and Political Science student who frequents the trails around campus says, “I just like to wander around on them! It’s super nice. I love being outdoors.”

Managing stress during the school year is critical to maintaining a balanced life. With extracurriculars, homework, exams, work, and/or volunteering, as well as daily stresses, getting outside and going for walks can be a great stress management technique.

Gillis says, “spending time in the outdoors is easily one of my top ways to de-stress. No matter what the weather is or how I’m feeling, if I can go for an adventure or just outside I feel immediately better.”

Going outdoors requires little to no equipment and with such easy access on campus and the surrounding area to trails, it is a great opportunity for anyone to help them de-stress.

The recreation trails are not just for Outdoor Recreation students. Janika Pölkki, a second year Social Work and Psychology student, uses many of the trails in Thunder Bay to combat stress: “During exams, I really think that sitting outside or going for a walk helps to calm my nerves. Sometimes I’ll walk around campus right before an exam to help clear my head.”

Many of the trails connect together, or are accessible by bus, so students can explore trails a little further away from school. These trails also connect to multiple parks within the city that offer frontcountry experiences like Trowbridge Falls or more tourist like destination like Prince Arthur’s Landing at Marina Park.

Recreation trails not only provide a means of getting around, but can also contribute to a healthy balanced lifestyle and are a convenient and fun way to explore Thunder Bay’s natural landscape.

Pölkki says, “My favourite trail in Thunder Bay is probably the Centennial/Trowbridge/Cascades trail because there are so many different components and different parts of it.” So, the next time you are feeling the stress of school life, grab a friend or two, get outside and hit the trail!

Check out the Thunder Bay City website for a trail map: www.thunderbay.ca/en/recreation/biking-walking -and-trails.aspx