Tun­nel’s vi­sion: early spring for Cape Bre­ton

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - gm­c­neil@cb­post.com BY GREG MCNEIL

HUNT­ING­TON — Don’t let the blind­ing snow and frigid tem­per­a­tures fool you, win­ter is about to come to an end in Cape Bre­ton.

That’s the word from Two Rivers Tun­nel, the lo­cal ground­hog/me­te­o­rol­o­gist, which made its an­nual weather pre­dic­tion Tues­day at Two Rivers Wildlife Park.

At pre­cisely 11:22 a.m. with the sun oc­ca­sion­ally peek­ing through the clouds Tun­nel emerged from his tiny home and did not see his shadow. And as far as ground­hogs go, that means an early spring.

“Win­ter is over,” said Scott Burt, Tun­nel’s han­dler and a park at­ten­dant.

“It didn’t re­ally start un­til the last week or so, but an early spring.”

Burt said Tun­nel has been pretty ac­cu­rate over the past 14 years.

“The odd time he is off, but he has a pretty good suc­cess rate.”

Get your spring clothes ready — not to­mor­row, but maybe in a few weeks.

John Hunt­ing­ton, Two Rivers Wildlife Park man­ager

Park man­ager John Hunt­ing­ton said the cor­rect mes­sage was lost in trans­la­tion af­ter Tun­nel whis­pered his pre­dic­tion to Coun. Brian La­hey, who passed the mes­sage along to Carmichael.

“ That is the ground­hog-ese,” laughed Hunt­ing­ton, who is con­fi­dent an early spring is ahead.

“Get your spring clothes ready — not to­mor­row, but maybe in a few weeks.”

Ini­tially, town crier Ken Carmichael an­nounced that Tun­nel had seen his shadow, which was met with a mix of groans and cheers.

Hunt­ing­ton said an­nual tra­di­tion is not only fun, but a fundraiser for the non-profit park.

Stu­dents from the Mar­ion Bridge School braved Tues­day’s cold weather to do­nate the $2,622 they raised for the park through a va­ri­ety of school ac­tiv­i­ties over the past two weeks. The event also launched the park’s Win­ter Frolic fes­ti­val, which takes place Fri­day to Sun­day. Skat­ing, mu­sic and a can­dlelit tour of the trail are among the planned ac­tiv­i­ties.

Some of North Amer­ica’s most fa­mous furry fore­cast­ers emerged on Ground­hog Day to pre­dict six more weeks of win­ter.

In Wiar­ton, Ont., Canada’s best­known weather prog­nos­ti­cat­ing ground­hog, Wiar­ton Wil­lie, de­liv­ered his fore­cast. Shube­nacadie Sam in Shube­nacadie, N.S., and Punx­sutawney Phil in Penn­syl­va­nia also saw their shad­ows.

Steve Wad­den - Cape Bre­ton Post

Coun. Brian La­hey, right, lis­tens in closely as ground­hog Two Rivers Tun­nel, held by Scott Burt of Two Rivers Wildlife Park, makes his pre­dic­tion Tues­day. The an­nual Ground­hog Day tra­di­tion at the wildlife park left the crowd from Mar­ion Bridge Ele­men­tary school and all Cape Bre­ton­ers with good news — spring is com­ing early.

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