We are delighted to announce that the LRE Foundation (LREF) and the Maison de la Randonnée – GTA Belgique have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and partnership to promote the Freedom Trail (Chemins de la Liberté ®) in the Belgian Ardennes.
GTA Belgium has been active in the Ardennes since the 1980s and has developed many famous touristic trails, such as the Transardennaise. The organisation’s expertise in outdoor recreation represents an excellent asset for developing the LRE Foundation’s European trail system – the Liberation Route Europe hiking trails – which follow in the footsteps of the Allies during the latter phase of the Second World War (1943-45).
The LRE Foundation and GTA Belgium will work together to promote the Freedom Trail, a 68 km signposted loop trail starting in Bastogne that will lead hikers to discover various remembrance sites in the Bastogne region and part of the history of the famous Battle of the Bulge. This route crosses the municipalities of Vaux-sur-Sûre, Sainte-Ode, Bertogne and Bastogne. The Freedom Trail is identified by a 1:25,000 IGN map and Road Books translated into three languages (FR – NL – GB). The Freedom Trail becomes a core part of the Liberation Route Europe, together with the recently launched themed route in the Ardennes. Together, LREF and GTA Belgium will also work on the touristic promotion of the many historical sites present in the area and a unique visitor experience.
“The Freedom Trail is a mythical route that leads us to the events of the Second World War,” explains Denis Jusseret, president of the Maison de la Randonnée – GTA – Belgium. “A route that expresses the deep meaning of this history. It connects the main sites of the Memory of the Second World War located among others on the perimeter of the Battle of Bastogne. Its path between forest and countryside, over hills and valleys, can only fill us with wonder in the middle of nature.”
“The signing of this partnership will allow us to further extend the Liberation Route in the Belgian Ardennes, and the major GTA hiking trails we developed at length to commemorate the Battle of the Bulge will also gain more visibility”, stated Rémi Praud, Managing Director of the LRE Foundation. “In that respect, working with GTA – Belgium is a valuable asset, and I am very much looking forward to this important collaboration”, he added.