Posted on Monday July 30, 2018
Photo by Alick Tsui
The East Coast Trail Association signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Town of Paradise signaling the establishment of a major partnership with the municipalities of The Towns of Conception Bay South, Paradise and Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s to commence trail enhancement of the historic path between Topsail Beach and Portugal Cove.
An MOU signing with Paradise was a final step in building the partnership necessary to begin the reclamation work to open the historic Path, a trail traditionally used by residents of Conception Bay South, Paradise and Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s to travel between these communities, and by residents of the Conception Bay North area who worked in the Bell Island Iron ore Mines from 1895 until it’s closure in 1966.
“As with all pathways along the East Coast Trail, this path’s significance is not only an important link to our past, but its revitalization plays an important role in our future as we continue to develop a trail that brings economic, environmental and social benefits to the communities through which it runs.” says Randy Murphy, President of the ECTA
“The Town of Paradise is pleased to sign a MOU with the East Coast Trail Association. The Trail is a unique ecotourism gem which works to protect and enhance the natural beauty which surrounds it and we are fortunate to have access this world-class trail system from within our Town. We look forward to working with our neighbouring municipalities to do our part to further the development of the East Coast Trail.” Mayor Dan Bobbett, Town of Paradise
All towns along the trail, including the Towns of Conception Bay South, Paradise and Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, signed a Declaration on December 9, 2001, agreeing to work together to support the trail. In 2016 the Towns of Conception Bay South and Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s signed MOUs to formalize their commitment to work together to maintain and protect the East Coast Trail.
“Supporting the East Coast Trail Association is a great way to make a direct investment in our local economy, and we are pleased to contribute to the Miners Path project. Once this project is completed, Topsail Beach will be the northern terminus of the East Coast Trail in Conception Bay South. This project will generate economic activity for our business community through its tourism potential, provide an enjoyable and scenic experience for our hikers, and connect our three historic communities,” Mayor Terry French.
The East Coast Trail connects 23 communities along the eastern edge of the Avalon, supporting the province’s tourism and community recreation. But, unlike provincial or national park space, the East
Coast Trail has no legislative protection to guard against misuse or threats of land development. While the Association bears responsibility for developing and maintaining the Trail we depend on our partner trail communities to recognize and protect the Trail within their town plans, through zoning and development regulations. We are actively seeking the support of the provincial government to enact policies and/or legislation to protect the Trail – which has become a valuable recreation and tourism asset.
“We are very excited about the reinvigoration of a historic connection between our neighboring communities – through The East Coast Trail” says Carol McDonald, Mayor of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, “our section of the trail offers stunning views high upon a mountain ridge overlooking Conception Bay, one of the most beautiful views on the island. We are pleased to offer this new opportunity for active living in such an incredibly picturesque setting.” Mayor Carol McDonald
The East Coast Trail has signed MOUs with eight communities on the eastern Avalon, establishing partnerships for enhanced cooperation on the care, management, and protection of the trail. The MOUs clarify roles and responsibilities for communities and the Association and formalize a process to share information on issues that affect the trail.
ECTA’s President Randy Murphy said “Bringing together the leaders of the towns, with the East Coast Trail on Prince’s Ridge to acknowledge this milestone is very important to us. It’s an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on what we’re accomplishing together. The trail stretching from Topsail Beach to Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s has been open for hiking since the mid-1990s, but has not been fully developed. We look forward to working with the towns to enhance and maintain the trail.”
Background on trail Section A local source from the community who researched the area during the early ‘70’s has identified the path, known as the ‘Miners Path and previously as the “Long Shore Path as centuries-old reports it likely precedes the construction of some of the oldest roads in the province – Topsail Road and St. Thomas Line. The section of trail is also reputed to have been maintained as a military land connection between St. John’s and Harbour Grace, Conception Bay, before the construction of either the road or the railway and was an important connector path for fishermen from the area and as far away as Red Head Cove, Bay de Verde who were seeking employment at the Bell Island Mines.
About The East Coast Trail. The East Coast Trail spans 300 developed kilometers, and connects 23 picturesque communities between Cappahayden and Conception Bay South. ECTA’s mission is to provide a world-class wilderness hiking experience through development and maintenance of the trail. We promote and preserve public access to historic and culturally important pathways and trails along our provinces coastline, minimizing the impact on the natural environment and protecting it for the mutual benefit of future generations.