Bealach Brèagha sec­tion of The Great Trail sched­uled to open Satur­day

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

The grand open­ing of a sec­tion of The Great Trail in Lake Ainslie is set to of­fi­cially open this week­end.

The open­ing of the Bealach Brèagha sec­tion of the In­ver­ness County trail will take place on Satur­day at 11:30 a.m. with a rib­bon cut­ting at the trail, lo­cated along Route 395 in East Lake Ainslie.

The trail, which is part of the Trans Canada Trail, is a mul­tiuse trail for walk­ing, hik­ing, ski­ing and snow­mo­bil­ing. As part of the Trans Canada Trail pol­icy, no ATVs are au­tho­rized to use the trail in the sum­mer, how­ever snow­mo­biles are al­lowed dur­ing the win­ter months.

“We’ve been work­ing on this project for close to 10 years for some com­mit­tee mem­bers,” said Co­ralie Cameron, cochair of the Lake Ainslie Trail Com­mit­tee. “It re­ally all came to­gether this past year be­cause the Trans Canada Trail is try­ing to be all con­nected by Canada’s 150th celebration in July, so we made a big push to get it fin­ished in the spring, sum­mer and fall of 2016.”

The 50-kilo­me­tre Bealach Brèagha, which is Gaelic for “Beau­ti­ful Moun­tain Pass”, is one of a num­ber of sec­tions of The Great Trail in In­ver­ness County, in­clud­ing the 92-kilo­me­ter Celtic Shores Coastal Trail, the 16-kilo­me­tre Cape Clear Trail, and the 15-kilo­me­tre Lewis Moun­tain Trail, which is sched­uled to open this spring.

The Bealach Brèagha project was made pos­si­ble through the ef­forts and con­tri­bu­tions of lo­cal vol­un­teers. The project was funded by the Trans Canada Trail ($263,266), the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency ($209,735), the Of­fHigh­way Ve­hi­cle In­fra­struc­ture Fund ($80,750), the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the County of In­ver­ness ($50,000), and the Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties, Cul­ture and Her­itage ($30,000), for a to­tal of $633,751.

Fund­ing as­sisted with trail con­struc­tion, the ad­di­tion of bridges and cul­verts, and the creation and in­stal­la­tion of in­ter­pre­tive and di­rec­tional sig­nage.

Cameron said be­ing able to con­nect to the Trans Canada Trail is sig­nif­i­cant news.

“Some of us re­mem­ber when the whole idea of the Trans Canada Trail was launched back around the time of Canada 125,” she said. “It’s kind of im­por­tant to be part of that big­ger project, and also just the fact that it al­lows us to have the trail year round and use­able for the whole com­mu­nity.”

Af­ter the rib­bon cut­ting, a re­cep­tion will be held at the Lake Ainslie Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment, lo­cated at 2488 Route 395, RR 1, in Scotsville.

Those in­ter­ested in be­ing among the first of­fi­cial trail users are in­vited to an af­ter­noon of trail ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing snow­mo­bil­ing and guided cross-coun­try ski­ing and snow­shoe­ing from 2-4 p.m.

Cameron said the com­mu­nity is ex­cited about the trail.

“A lot of peo­ple have been us­ing the trail al­ready as we sort of pieced it to­gether and fixed it,” she said. “I think the big­gest part is just for peo­ple to get out and use it and ex­plore parts of it that they haven’t re­ally seen be­fore.”

Aside from the project, In­ver­ness County will also boast four of The Great Trail’s wa­ter ac­cess points, the first of which opened at Mar­ble Moun­tain last Au­gust. Wa­ter ac­cess points at the Why­co­co­magh Wa­ter­front Cen­tre, the We’ko­q­mag First Na­tion, and Orangedale are ex­pected to open this spring.

A de­tailed map of the Great Trail is avail­able by vis­it­ing www.the­greatrail.ca. The on­line map dis­plays com­pleted sec­tions of the trail in green and blue, with planned sec­tions of the trail plot­ted in orange.

PHOTO SUB­MIT­TED/CO­RALIE CAMERON

A skier is seen us­ing the Bealach Brèagha sec­tion of The Great Trail in Lake Ainslie. The grand open­ing of the sec­tion of the In­ver­ness County trail will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Satur­day.

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