Who’s on the Trail?

During 2016, approximately 250 Trail users were surveyed in the vicinity of the Bike and Bean Cafe in Upper Tantallon. Based on the survey results, most people use the trail for pedestrian activities (walking, running, hiking, cross-country skiing) and cycling. Cycling visits in 2016 increased by about 15% over 2015.

The average user is on the trail about 3 – 4 times a month although more than 10% say they are on the Trail more than 180 times a year!

Users rated the condition of the Trail at 7.6 on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent). Surveys done in November-December, 2016 gave the Trail a rating of 7.9. This reflects the trail resurfacing and bridge deck repair work done in the 2016 renewal program.

While almost half of Trail users come from the Hubley to Hubbards area, about 30% are from Halifax, Dartmouth or Bedford. Users came from a total of 35 different postal codes.

As part of the Rum Runners Survey, a counter was placed in the Trail near the Bike and Bean from July 1 – October 31. User visits at that location during that period were estimated to be approximately 53,000. We conclude that in 2016, there were approximately 80,000 trail user visits in that area.

We hope to conduct more on-trail surveys during 2017. Survey forms are also available at the Bike and Bean Cafe and we encourage Trail users to complete them. We value your feedback!

7 thoughts on “Who’s on the Trail?”

  1. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Ie.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The design and style look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Thanks

  2. While the trail in the vicinity of the Bike and Bean is in great shape, the trail leaves a lot to be desired from the western bridge at Hubley Mill Lake to the eastern end of the trail. Between these 2 points the trail is more of a mountain bike trail with water holes trail wide, huge holes, rocks etc and is in terrible shape.
    While the survey was ‘conducted’ near the Bike and Bean, how many of these users would make it to the ‘mountain bike’ course? Not a lot. The trail is in worse shape every year and the damage is due to ATVs.
    The provincial government requires ATVs to be licensed and pay a registration fee. The ATV users should be contributing money to repair the trail.

    I encourage the membership to view the trail condition from Hubley Mill Lake to Lewis Lake. It needs fixing before somebody gets hurt.

    1. SMBARTA is a volunteer organization that maintains and manages the trail. We must apply for every dollar that we spend on recapitalization and maintenance. The cost of resurfacing one km of trail is between $15,000 to $20,000. Our trail is 32.5 km long. In 2015 we created a plan to resurface the trail and to replace all the wood bridge decks. Total cost of this work is estimated to  be in the range of $650,000.
      There are very few people in our community who volunteer to help with the enormous amount of time required to apply for funding and to manage construction and maintenance projects.
      The trail that was resurfaced between the Lewis Lake Trail head and Round Lake Bridge will be regraded and re-compacted in late May to early June.
      The section between Round Lake Bridge and Hammonds Plains Road is also scheduled to be resurfaced at the same time.

      In 2016, SMBARTA received $40,000 from the Off Highway Vehicle Infrastructure Fund. This year, we have received $26,5000 from the same fund. This money comes from the yearly license fees paid by ATV owners.


  3. Hello, I was on the trail between the highway crossing in Hurley and fox hollow. The trail has yet to be graded and is in deplorable condition. In quite a contrast, the BLT section from Hurley to Timberlea was regarded this spring with no water hole features to be found. The SMBR2T section has many many large water holes, large rocks sticking up and is a danger. Just yesterday I was talking to a senior couple that had been on the BLT section over the years and were dropped off at the Bike and Bean with a mission to ride their bikes back to the city. Unfortunately because of the trail condition they had to turn around and call for their drive to come and pick them up. They could simply not navigate the rough conditions of the trail, particularly around the Lewis Lake Park.
    Given the condition of the trail and the lack of upkeep, does the condition of the trail create a situation in which volunteers are hard to recruit purely because of a lack of pride in the trail?

    1. Thank you for your comments. Last year we graded the Trail between the Trail head in Hubley and Round Lake Bridge. This year we are re-grading that section and we are continuing the work to Fox Hollow Drive. We are not able to start working until the warblers in the area have completed their nesting season. We are proud of the renewal work that is being done on the Trail and many users have expressed their compliments and appreciation. At 32.5 kilometres, the St Margaret’s Bay Trail is three times longer than the BLT trail and is much more varied in terms of terrain. It is not possible to maintain a Trail of this size with volunteer labour. As a result, we are constantly in the process of applying for funding. We are always looking for volunteers who would like to make a constructive and positive contribution to the renewal and maintenance of our beautiful Trail.

  4. My family regularly use the trail. We walk our dog on it …bicycle on it…and ride our ATV on it. We are responsible caretakers of the trail, and realize it takes many hard working people to keep it up and running. Thank you for keeping this trail open to all outdoor enthusiasts. Much appreciated!

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