When the world stopped in the spring of 2020, our trail remained open and active. Trail users could escape COVID-19 for a while, get some exercise and fresh air, and lower their shoulders. Neighbours touched base with each other from opposite sides of the trail, and disrupted the isolation that befell us. It didn’t take a pandemic to show us what an asset the St. Margaret’s Bay Rails-to-Trails is … but the pandemic underscored that fact and put an exclamation point after it!
As well, the stalwart volunteers who manage and maintain the trail continued with their work. Storms left run off damage that needed repair along many parts of the trail. Users will now find smoother paths from Boutilier’s Point to the Ingram River Bridge, from the Outback Bridge to Queensland Lane, and from Lewis Lake to the Hammonds Plains Road. The surface east of Queensland is next on the agenda. As well, with $20,000 of grant money from the CN Stronger Communities Fund, the Ingram River Bridge has undergone a complete deck replacement. Along with keeping the brush and vegetation trimmed back, all of this work cost approximately $77,000 … money raised though various proposals and applications to government and non-governmental agencies. A special nod of thanks goes to the Bay Treasure Chest, its volunteers, and to all of those who pay a .toonie. to play, as our trail benefits greatly from t heir support. As well, Rona in Tantallon made our trail part of their Hero’s Campaign and raised more than $4,000 for our use and contributed additional money to that sum.
Money was also raised to vary the ways you enjoy the trail. Two new picnic shelters were built trailside, so users can sit a spell and enjoy the views. These shelters can be found at the Head of the Bay overlooking Schooner Cove and in Ingramport overlooking the bay from that vantage point. Both are accessible as you travel along the trail. The many benches and shelters along the trail are well used; a small sample last Sunday found all the benches along the Lewis Lake section of the trail to be occupied! As well, 4 new benches have been placed along the 33 kilometre route and new signage has linked the trail to roadside attractions to support local businesses and add new experiences for trail users.
On another note, Silent Witness Nova Scotia, a group of individuals and organizations working to raise the voices of women silenced by domestic violence, will inaugurate a special purple bench in honour of Paula Gallant, a beloved local teacher who was murdered 15 years ago. This bench will be situated on the new section of trail along Indian Lake.
The Board of Directors works on behalf of all the users of the St. Margaret’s Bay Rails to-Trails, whether you walk, run or ride. If you would like to support this work in any capacity contact us though our website, stmargaretsbaytrails.com, or find us on Facebook. In the meantime, happy trails!