East Coast Trail NEWS: January 2023 Newsletter

Spurwink Island Path

Gord Follett

Jan 17, 2023

Peak hiking season may be over, but we’ve been kept busy here at ECTA!
Read on to see what we’ve been up to over the last quarter…


Mark Graesser is a name you have likely heard if you’ve ever volunteered with ECTA, and if you haven’t, there’s a chance you’ve run into him on Sugarloaf Path, where, for the last 26 years, he has served as Trail Custodian. At the end of 2022, after 26 years of volunteer service, Mark retired from his role as Sugarloaf Path Custodian, and earned the title of Custodian Master.



To thank him for his service, we presented him with a certificate in appreciation for all his efforts for the Trail and asked him to reflect on his time volunteering with the East Coast Trail; from this interview, we have put together an article to share some of Mark’s experience. We were so fortunate to get to sit down with Mark and chat about the last 26 years. He has been an integral part of the East Coast Trail and it surely would not be what it is today without his devotion. Thank you for everything, Mark!



Click to read about what he had to share
“Mark was no ordinary volunteer – he was one of the most dedicated, committed, and loyal volunteers of all time.”
– Randy Murphy, ECTA President



Our partnership with Quidi Vidi Brewery has been an overwhelming success. In a single year, we have expanded into a new market segment, increasing brand awareness. We were pleased to welcome Justin Fong and Henry Hussey of Quidi Vidi Brewery to our AGM in November, where Justin expressed what the partnership meant to his organization.
Shortly after the AGM, Henry presented a $3,000 donation to ECTA from Quidi Vidi Brewery as a result of the launch of the Pathfinder IPA. Quidi Vidi Brewery has also committed to donate $6,000 for the usage of the QVB taproom for an ECTA event and $1,000 worth of QBV products for prizes and draws by the ECTA.

Our Trail Maintenance Crews have completed their work for the 2022 season. No trail work or conditions updates are scheduled to take place during winter months (December to March). Thanks to both the paid crews and Volunteer Maintenace crews for all of their hard work this past season!



We are pleased to announce that the installation of new trailhead signs has commenced. This installation phase marks a new milestone in the Trailhead and Community Signage Project that ECTA has been diligently working on for the last number of years in its ongoing efforts to enhance the ECT. Read more.



Soon, we will be introducing some interesting new ways to support the ECT:


Gifting a membership is a great way to introduce a friend or family member to the ECT or reconnect them with their love of the Trail. The gift recipient will receive a welcome email, a personalized e-card letting them know of your gift, and all the benefits of an ECT membership.
Donating in honour is a unique way to honour a special individual, group, or family or help a trail lover in your life celebrate an important occasion, like a holiday, birthday, or anniversary. The individual being honoured will receive an e-card, informing them of the gift. The amount of the gift will be kept confidential.
Donating in memory is a thoughtful way to express your condolences and sympathy and remember a loved one who has passed away. If you provide the name of a family member of the deceased, they will receive an e-card notifying them of your gift. The amount of the gift will be kept confidential.
Stay tuned for more information. We will let you know when these new giving options have been launched.


Renew Your Membership


Make a General Donation


We would like to extend a warm welcome to two
new members of the ECTA Board of Directors:


Sharlene is a CPA currently working at PF Collins coordinating the daily activities of the Accounting and Admin Department and directing the financial planning and budget management functions. Outside of working hours, Sharlene is an avid hiker and is often found on the ECT with her dog, Bonnie. She looks forward to working in this role to give back to the Trail, as it has been an important part of her life.



Renee is a CPA with financial management experience in various roles. She was introduced to the ECT while studying Business Administration at MUN and has been hiking it ever since, currently actively working on completing the few paths she hasn’t yet hiked. The Trail has brought Renee much joy, happy memories and physical fitness and she considers it an honour to volunteer with ECTA.



ECTA needs your help! Come take a hike with us – add value to your community and enrich your life. We are currently recruiting for the following volunteer positions:

  • VP of Marketing & Communications
  • VP of Volunteers & Memberships
  • VP of Community Relations

We are looking for individuals who love the ECT and are looking for an opportunity to give back to their community. The contribution of your time and expertise will help to ensure the ECT remains a prime recreational and tourism asset for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador for many years to come. If you are interested in learning more about any of these opportunities, please call us at (709) 738-4453 or email us here.




We wish to inform you of trail work affecting La Manche Village Path from early May to mid-June 2023. The La Manche Village Path will be closed at the North side of the suspension bridge to facilitate the replacement of the stairs ascending from the La Manche Suspension Bridge. Hikers will be able to walk onto the bridge but will not be able to cross fully.




    When: Work is scheduled to begin on May 1, 2023 and is anticipated to take      3-4 weeks to complete. However, if weather conditions are unfavorable,            the time-table to complete the work may be extended to mid-June.

    Where: From the north side of La Manche Bridge to the Quarry (6.1 km              mark).

    Why: The stairs on the north side of the bridge were constructed in 2000.          Over time these stairs have deteriorated and now must be replaced.




See more information (including a detailed detour route) here.



We often receive queries about using the Trail in winter. In response, we want to inform hikers that the Trail is not maintained in winter and that there is an inherent risk when walking or snowshoeing near cliff edges, especially when the Trail is covered with snow and ice. However, we recognize that hikers may still continue to use the Trail during the winter, which will likely see a variety of conditions. If you do choose to



explore the Trail during the winter months (at your own risk), it’s important to hike with a buddy. Be aware of current or impending weather conditions before you hike, and be prepared for less than optimal trail conditions (blocked paths, snow-covered and/or icy treadway, unclear path direction, etc). Plan to take special care and use discretion for the conditions you encounter.



Additionally, be sure to follow these ten tips, from TA Loeffler.


In November, we launched the new East Coast Trail Shop and so far, it has seen great success. Check it out for yourself today!


Shop Now
Thanks to our friend, Phil Snelgrove for taking some fantastic product photos for the launch of our new Trail Shop!