Safer trails ahead for Topsail hikers

By Sam Westcott | The Shoreline - January 16, 2019 Edition (Vol. 32 No. 44) 

Hikers in the C.B.S. area will have an improved East Coast Trail to look forward to in the spring.

The path that begins at Topsail Beach, and winds along the coast towards Portugal Cove – St. Phillips, is in line to receive trail hardening work and other upgrades.

Gail Barnes, the vice president of marketing and communications at the East Coast Trail Association, says it is just a matter of grant applications being approved.

Trail hardening includes the installation of structures such as boardwalks, steps, retaining walls, water bars and other structures to protect the tread-way from erosion and enhance the save passage of the hiker along the trail.

All of this work will be completed after a through consultation process with landowners who are adjacent to the trail or for anyone whose land the trail already skirts through, Barnes notes.

Funding for the project is being sought through a number of potential sources, including the towns of CBS, Paradise, and Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, as well as ACOA and the provincial government.

Recent work on the trail included the clearing of fallen trees and debris, and the brushing back of overgrown vegetation. Trailhead signs were installed at both Topsail Beach and Portugal Cove, indicating trail distances for each section of the path. Directional signage was also implanted at various points along the trail.

While the project is still pending funding, some additional work has already received the green light for the spring. Barnes says more directional signage will be installed once the snow cover has receded.

“A new trail map has been drafted which will include a route description of the trail with points of interest and local history of the area,” Barnes adds. This document will be ready and made available by the time the snow melts.

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