Crow Head ex­its from re­gional trails com­mit­tee

Con­cern over ac­cess to land cause de­lays in hik­ing trails project

The Central Voice - - News - BY KYLE GREEN­HAM kyle.green­[email protected]­cen­tralvoice.ca

Due to a dis­pute with an area land owner, the Town of Crow Head has with­drawn from the part­ner­ship to im­prove and com­bine the hik­ing trails of Twillingate Is­land.

How­ever, the assess­ment of the trails will still con­tinue, now only be­tween the Town of Twillingate and the Twillingate Is­lands Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion (TITA).

The de­ci­sion was made af­ter the land owner in ques­tion, Dean Rhoads, con­tacted the Town of Twillingate and Lewisporte-Twillingate MHA Derek Ben­nett, with con­cerns that the hik­ing trails on his prop­erty not be in­cluded in this new part­ner­ship and assess­ment.

“The Town of Crow Head re­moved it­self from the part­ner­ship be­cause of this dis­pute,” said Crow Head’s Deputy Mayor Dave Dove. “The assess­ment will still go ahead, but any trails on Twillingate Is­land that Rhoads claims to own will now not be in­cluded in the assess­ment.”

Rhoads claims own­er­ship of sev­eral ar­eas around Crow Head, in­clud­ing the pop­u­lar hik­ing trails of Sleepy Cove and sur­round­ing area. He says he be­lieves strongly in im­prov­ing the hik­ing trails of Twillingate Is­land, but is in­ter­ested in sep­a­rat­ing work on these Crow Head trails from the assess­ment now un­der­way by the re­gional com­mit­tee.

“Since the 2000s there have been sev­eral dif­fer­ent com­mit­tees deal­ing with try­ing to im­prove the trails,” said Rhoads. “Some did build and re­pair trails, but some­times the end prod­uct didn’t turn out very well. We’ve had struc­tures that were un­safe and so forth.

“We have in our own assess­ment de­ter­mined all the things we have to do to bring the trails back to re­spectabil­ity.”

The Twillingate Re­gional Trails Com­mit­tee was formed in late Au­gust of this year, made up of TITA and the Towns of Crow Head and Twillingate. Ini­tially, the plan was to as­sess 46 kilo­me­tres of hik­ing trails on Twillingate Is­land, and de­ter­mine from there what work needed to be done to con­nect these trails and bring them up to stan­dard.

On Oct. 25, TITA an­nounced that the com­pany Green Leaf Re­sources is un­der­tak­ing the trail assess­ment, which be­gan on Oct. 31.

TITA Pres­i­dent Mandi Young says the assess­ment will take around two weeks and will in­clude drone footage, GPS co­or­di­nates for ex­ist­ing trails, con­struc­tion and mar­ket­ing plans, as well as pro­pos­als for new trails to con­nect Twillingate’s trails into a sin­gle net­work.

From this in­for­ma­tion, Young says the com­mit­tee will ap­ply for ad­di­tional fund­ing in the spring.

Ac­cord­ing to Twillingate town man­ager Marie Magnin, there is still an op­por­tu­nity for the Crow Head trails to be­come a part of this net­work in the fu­ture.

But in terms of con­nect­ing with other Twillingate Is­land trails, Rhoads says the dis­tance from the trails on his prop­erty to these other trails could make this po­ten­tially dif­fi­cult.

“The prob­lem is the clos­est trail we have from Twillingate is a good mile away,” said Rhoads. “What we would want to do is to en­cour­age any­one who uses our trails to use the other trails.”

Ben­nett is now work­ing with TITA and Crown Lands to de­ter­mine if some of the hik­ing trails in­fringe on any pri­vate land claims in the Crow Head area. He says in or­der to grant a Li­cense to Op­er­ate (LTO) on a trail that in­ter­sects or crosses over on pri­vate prop­erty, a writ­ten agree­ment be­tween the landowner and Crown Lands must first be is­sued.

“There may be op­tions to re­vert the trails so that they don’t in­fringe on pri­vate land,” said Ben­nett. “But in the in­ter­est of time it was de­cided to move for­ward on the assess­ment without these trails, so that work can be­gin on the trails as early as spring next year.”

KYLE GREEN­HAM – THE CEN­TRAL VOICE

The Twillingate Re­gional Trails Com­mit­tee was formed in late Au­gust of this year, be­tween the Twillingate Is­lands Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion and the Towns of Crow Head and Twillingate. The com­mit­tee is still pro­ceed­ing with its assess­ment of area trails this fall, but without trails in the Crow Head area.

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