Press Release: East Coast Trail Association Marks 30 Years with a Call for Enhanced Support

Spurwink Island Path

Gord Follett

May 21, 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: East Coast Trail Association Marks 30 Years with a Call for Enhanced Support

May 21, 2024, St. John’s, Newfoundland – As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the East Coast Trail, we reflect on a journey that has spanned three decades of providing unparalleled wilderness experiences along the Avalon Peninsula. However, this celebration brings an urgent need for community engagement and support. Despite our accomplishments, the Trail faces significant challenges threatening its sustainability and the quality of the hikers’ experience.

Recent years have seen an increase in Trail usage which, combined with severe weather conditions and the natural aging of our infrastructure, has led to critical wear and tear. Hikers are now encountering an increased frequency of broken boards, overgrown pathways, and deteriorating path conditions. While these issues are not widespread, they are significant enough to demand immediate attention.

So, the reality we face is a funding shortfall that currently restricts us to performing only high-priority and emergency maintenance. This funding gap is widening as our facilities age, making comprehensive maintenance increasingly unfeasible without enhanced financial support. The situation requires not just temporary fixes but a sustainable approach to funding and operations.

This year, with the help of our Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Provincial Department of Industry, Energy, and Technology, we have allocated funding towards a trail enhancement project that addresses the most critical needs. This allocation of funds is a temporary solution that allows us to begin addressing the most urgent infrastructure needs. However, to maintain the Trail’s high standards and ensure its longevity, a robust, funded maintenance program is essential.

How You Can Help:

Your engagement is crucial. The Trail was a refuge during the pandemic; it was there when you needed solace and safety. Now, it needs you. This is an opportunity for individuals, communities, and businesses to unite to support a vital resource that boosts our local economies and preserves our natural heritage.

Join us in this crucial effort. Your funding support can make our 30th anniversary a turning point in the Trail’s history, ensuring that it remains a premier destination for hikers and nature lovers around the world. So if you hike and love the trail, or you simply appreciate the work we are doing to protect our coastline, or you recognize the positive impact the Trail is having on the economies of our rural coastal communities, we ask you to reach out, get involved today, and help us make a difference. 

For further details on how you can get involved or to make a donation, please visit our website or contact our office directly. Together, we can tackle these challenges and ensure that the East Coast Trail thrives for decades to come.



Julia Penney, Business Manager | 709-738-4453 | 709-325-7284


Background Information: 

Operating and maintaining the East Coast Trail, while a labour of love, requires a significant monetary investment every year. A well-run and maintained trail is essential if we expect to continue to attract domestic and international hikers to seek out the East Coast Trail. The problem is that our existing annual trail operating and maintenance program is currently underfunded and can only address high-priority and emergency maintenance, and even this has become a challenge. We are struggling to do more with less in a world where the cost of labour, materials, and equipment are constantly increasing. 

The root cause is that we need to raise more funds and turn this funding challenge around starting this year. We need to raise the money needed to execute a solid trail operations and maintenance program every year; this is a critical success factor that is essential to minimize/eliminate the frequency and severity of the trail structure problems described in this press release. If it is not corrected, it will continue to impact the hikers’ experience, which will have a lasting negative impact on the reputation of the East Coast Trail and the businesses that rely on the hiker traffic for survival.  The problem is real; it’s not going away, and we must act now to avoid encountering the same problem next year.






We are asking the general public to support the East Coast Trail, to work with us to raise funds needed to support trail operations and maintenance moving forward effectively. This is an opportunity for all of us, individuals, communities, and businesses, to get involved, embrace the Trail, and work together to resolve the trail operations and maintenance funding challenge. This is a shared responsibility and we can do this together.  

About the East Coast Trail

The East Coast Trail (ECT) is a 336 km market-ready, pedestrian coastal trail that runs along the eastern edge of the Avalon Peninsula between Topsail Beach and Cappahayden. The East Coast Trail Association is a member-based, volunteer-driven and managed registered charity. The Association’s mission is to develop, maintain, enhance and protect the ECT for future generations while respecting the integrity of our natural environment and the needs of our communities and delivering a high-quality wilderness hiking experience.

The East Coast Trail Association has built a 336 km world-class tourism and recreational product based on the very best we have to offer – our natural, cultural, historical, and community assets – together with the raw natural beauty of our coastline to create a unique tourist destination that is second to none in the world.  The Trail strategically connects existing and new tourism infrastructure and attractions, events and activities in the region, providing the opportunity for 24 coastal communities to build businesses serving visitors who come for the trail and stay for the hospitality. | @eastcoasttrail