Nova Scotia lags on Trans Canada Trail as deadline approaches

HALIFAX -- With 18 months to go before Canada's 150th birthday, one of Nova Scotia's signature gifts to the country -- its portion of the Trans Canada Trail -- is only 38 per cent complete.

See Full Article

Even though Nova Scotia is Canada's second-smallest province, its completion rate is the worst of any province. Alberta, at 59 per cent, is well ahead as the second-worst laggard.

The Nova Scotia number looks particularly grim considering the proposed 24,000-kilometre trail -- stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the Arctic -- is already 80 per cent connected after more than 24 years of work.

Jane Murphy, national trail director for the Trans Canada Trail, says volunteer organizations in Nova Scotia have faced some difficult challenges, but she insists the province is further ahead than the numbers suggest -- and she remains confident the entire trail will be connected by July 1, 2017.

"We will see that number increase tremendously this summer," Murphy said in a recent interview.

However, she says that won't happen unless more Nova Scotians come forward to help with the cause, which started in 1992 as part of Canada's 125th birthday celebration.

"There still is a need to rally people around the Trans Canada Trail because there have been some challenges," Murphy says.

In all, Nova Scotia has committed to linking about 1,100 kilometres of trails.

Two of Nova Scotia's neighbours, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador, have already completed their sections. However, Murphy says it's unfair to compare them with Nova Scotia because both took advantage of provincially owned abandoned rail lines that stretch across each province.

"The access to public land is very limited in Nova Scotia," says Murphy. "That has put Nova Scotia slightly behind because they have had to shift from developing the land-based trails to alternative options."

Those options include the use of more water routes and roads.

In Cape Breton, there are plans to add more than 300 kilometres of "water trails" that will link communities around Bras d'Or Lake, the 1,000-square-kilometre inland sea that was named a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2011.

Vanda Jackson, executive director of Nova Scotia Trails, says the water trail is already accessible to the public and could be added to Nova Scotia's total immediately, but the group wants to make sure local communities are on board and safe access points are established.

"We're doing very well with the Bras d'Or Lakes," she says. "Our number isn't quite as bad as it may sound and we're feeling quite confident that we can connect."

With the water trail, Nova Scotia will achieve more than 60 per cent of its goal.

The rest of the trail will include hiking paths and other routes for cycling, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling and, in some areas, all-terrain vehicle use.

Allowing ATVs on the trail has proven to be contentious. In 2009, the national organization reaffirmed its "Greenways Vision," saying it would no longer register or offer funding for trails where motorized vehicles are permitted in the summer.

"Here in Nova Scotia, we started off building trails that included ATVs," says Jackson. "That became a bit of a difficulty for us ... In rural communities, those (ATV riders) were the people that were helping us build the trails."

Nova Scotia's lack of available Crown land has also meant that about 300 kilometres of the trail will be on paved roads.

Proponents say the inclusion of roads, which will make up about one- third of the entire Trans Canada Trail, is necessary to meet the deadline. But they insist the measure is temporary.

"The road link is the last option we want," says Blaise MacEachern, chairman of the Nova Scotia Trails committee working on the national project.

He says New Brunswick, at 61 per cent, is ahead of Nova Scotia because it has had more success at securing roadway trails.

Jackson says anyone in Nova Scotia wanting to lend a hand or make a donation should contact Nova Scotia Trails, which can connect volunteers and donors with the community groups that are making the trails.

"It's a nation-building project," she says. "It's going to be so exciting (in 2017) when we're all standing on July 1 and feeling very proud that we have connected from coast to coast to coast."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Big changes in White House ideas to pay for $2 trillion plan

    World News CTV News
    SCRANTON, PA. -- In an abrupt change, the White House on Wednesday floated new plans to pay for parts of President Joe Biden's $2 trillion social services and climate change package, shelving a proposed big increase in corporate tax rates though also adding a new billionaires' tax on the investment gains of the very richest Americans. Source
  • Truth and reconciliation centre says it's still waiting on residential school records

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG - The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation says it is still waiting for records from the federal government related to residential schools, despite a comment from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that all federal records have been provided. Source
  • Alberta surpasses 3K COVID-19 deaths, adds 786 new cases Wednesday

    Canada News CTV News
    Edmonton - More than 3,000 Albertans have now died due to COVID-19 after the province reported 18 new deaths and 786 new cases on Wednesday. The deaths are spread across several days and range in age from in their 30s to those over 80 years old. Source
  • Trump golf club under new criminal probe over taxes: report

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Donald Trump's company is under criminal investigation by a district attorney in a New York City suburb into whether it misled officials to cut taxes for a golf course there, according to The New York Times. Source
  • Far-right extremists in Ukrainian military bragged about Canadian training, report says

    World News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A report exploring far-right extremism in Ukraine’s military found that neo-Nazis and supporters of far-right, white nationalist groups in the ranks bragged about receiving training from Canada and other NATO nations, prompting promises of a thorough review from the Department of National Defence. Source
  • Forensic pathologist at Calgary murder trial says it's unlikely toddler Aliyah Sanderson died from a fall

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY - A forensic pathologist says it's unlikely a toddler, found buried with her mother west of Calgary two years ago, died as a result of an accidental fall. Deputy medical examiner Dr. Akmal Coetzee-Khan returned to the witness stand Wednesday at the trial of Robert Leeming. Source
  • 'Everyone knows' the suspect in Monday's fatal stabbing, so why no arrests, Montreal teens ask

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Two days after a 16-year-old was stabbed to death outside his Montreal school, his friends are furious—not only at the boy they say attacked him, but at the police, who haven’t arrested anyone yet. Source
  • Sask. and Ont. officials disagreeing over number of ICU patient transfers

    Canada News CTV News
    REGINA - Saskatchewan’s Provincial Emergency Operations Centre said there are no plans to transfer more than six patients to Ontario as of Wednesday morning – contradicting information provided by health officials in Ontario. Ontario Health executive vice president Dr. Source
  • Charges unlikely for riders who didn't intervene in Philadelphia train rape

    World News CTV News
    PHILADELPHIA -- Warning: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some Prosecutors pursuing the case against a man accused of raping a woman on a commuter train last week don't anticipate charging fellow passengers for not intervening, a spokesperson for the suburban Philadelphia district attorney said. Source
  • Items linked to boyfriend of Gabby Petito found in state park

    World News CBC News
    Items believed to belong to Brian Laundrie were found Wednesday in a Florida wilderness park as the search continued for clues in the slaying of Gabby Petito, an attorney for his family said. Laundrie's parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, took part in the search Wednesday with the FBI and police from North Port, Fla. Source