Spring Update from the St. Margaret’s Bay Rails to Trails Association
Dear Friends and Trail Users,
A lot has been happening on your Trail over the winter and we would like to update you on some exciting events that are being planned. Your Board, although just a few people, has been busy – we have new brochures, a new website and Facebook presence, comprehensive maintenance and brush-cutting programs in place, plans for some new interpretive signs, memorial benches and picnic shelters, schools liason, and Bike Week activities, to name a few.
How do we do all this you may ask? Well, it takes time and resources and this is where we need your help. You are one of about 80,000 people who use our Trail every year, so PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE become a member and volunteer your time if you can. It is only $10 for a family membership and it’s easy to sign up online now on our website. You can also join at our Annual General Meeting, which is coming up on June 4 at 7 pm at the Tantallon Library. As our invited speaker this year, we have Barb Peart, who will give a short presentation on what our community was like along the old railway line in St. Margaret’s Bay over the last 100+ years. We have several new dynamic nominees for our Board, all of whom bring wonderful talents to our Association. So please come out and hear what has been happening and what is planned for the upcoming season.
A lot of what we are able to afford is due to our membership and involvement with the Bay Treasure Chest Association. The money we earn from this amazing community initiative gives us a reliable infusion of funds every month to help us with ongoing maintenance issues. This spring has been incredibly taxing with the amount of rain we have had on frozen ground, resulting in runoffs and erosion. For the first time, and with the support of SMATVA, we have temporarily closed the Trail to ATVs during this period to prevent further damage and hopefully provide a better riding experience over the rest of the season. Our sister organization, BLT Trails, has been doing this for years with promising results. We now have a Memorandum of Understanding with BLT, in which we divert 25% of our Bay Treasure Chest funds towards their Association to cover their maintenance. In return, they provide counters at the Toonie Count and will provide one member to the Board of Bay Treasure Chest. Our two trails encounter many of the same issues and to most users our two Trails are inseparable so this makes sense. Plus many Bay Treasure Chest players are from their community! If you want to volunteer as a SMBARTA toonie counter, please get in touch with us! As the program has grown so has the need for counters and we are responsible for a count every month!
An exciting event that we encouraged schools to participate in on the Trail is the City Nature Challenge on April 26-29. It was basically a bioblitz, which means that individuals from the general public go out in nature and take pictures of plants, birds, animals, mushrooms, sealife, etc. and upload them to a worldwide database that is then available to scientists. Photos are uploaded using a free App called iNaturalist so it should appeal to the younger generation and we asked science teachers to take their classes out on the Trail to do their blitz. Halifax is only one of 3 Canadian cities who are participating but it is worldwide!
International Bike week is June 1-9 and we are hosting 3 events on our Trail. The Bells in the Bay is back by popular demand on Sunday June 2 from 11-330 pm at the Trailhead behind Redmonds. One of our Trail etiquette rules is for cyclists to ring their bell when they approach other users so come and get a free bike bell and “get legal”. Bring your friends, neighbours, kids and grandkids!!
We are also doing two fun rides on Saturday June 1. The BEAVER DAM AND PARK RIDE is a great ride for families and novice riders. We start from Jerry Lawrence Park parking lot on Highway 3 and proceed through the new connector trail to the Rails to Trails and west to the Bike and Bean (about 5 km), then return. We will stop along the way to view interpretive signs and see if you can spot a beaver! You will have the opportunity to grab a snack at the Bike and Bean or Delish or have an ice-cream at Cavicchi’s. After half an hour, we will return to Jerry Lawrence Park. Those wishing to just do one way on the Trail can arrange for someone to pick them up at the parking lot adjacent to the Bike and Bean or at the Trailhead parking lot.
The MARKET AND FOODIE RIDE starts from Black Point Firehall and proceed to Hubbards Market (about 9 km). We will stop along the way to view interpretive signs and the amazing sea views. You will have the opportunity to grab a snack at Hubbards Cove Coffee, Trellis Restaurant or Hubbards Market. After an hour so you can relax or wander the market, we will return to Black Point Firehall. Those wishing to just do one way on the Trail can arrange for someone to pick them up at any of the eateries or the market. Our Rails to Trails display will be at the Market so you can pick up a Trail brochure, information card, and sign up as a member.
We hope you enjoy your Trail over the summer months and we appreciate any help you can provide to make it the world-class experience it now is.