T’Rail­way Pro­vin­cial Park bed is haz­ardous say Co­droy Val­ley res­i­dents

Over­grown fo­liage means re­duced vis­i­bil­ity and pas­sage

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY ROS­ALYN ROY

Everett Shep­ard be­lieves the T’Rail­way Pro­vin­cial Park run­ning through the Co­droy Val­ley is dan­ger­ous.

Alders lin­ing both sides of the pop­u­lar ATV and hik­ing trail have be­come so over­grown they im­pede vis­i­bil­ity.

“Where it’s grow­ing up now, it’s clos­ing in, and it’s like go­ing through a tun­nel,” says Shep­ard.

Shep­ard says the growth af­fects the trail through­out the en­tire val­ley. She says the growth wasn’t as bad last year. This year it’s dif­fer­ent. “You can’t pull over to pass. You can’t do any­thing,” says Shep­ard. “If you can’t see where you’re go­ing it’s def­i­nitely a haz­ard.”

Shep­ard says this is par­tic­u­larly wor­ri­some for the se­nior pop­u­la­tion who like to go for drives on the trail or walk the trail to get ex­er­cise.

“The se­niors, they’re scared to go on the trail any­more.”

Loy­ola Gal­lant also uses the trail a lot.

“The last week I’ve been on it three or four times. Now it’s berry pick­ing time and you’re mov­ing around from one area to the other,” says Gal­lant. “I use it in the sum­mer­time fish­ing.”

Gal­lant also likens the drive to a tun­nel.

“When you’re go­ing through on your side-by-side the alders have grown in so much they’re hit­ting on both sides,” says Gal­lant. “When you come up to a curve, there’s places, I don’t know if you could see 10 feet (ahead).”

Gal­lant says the po­ten­tial for dis­as­ter is ob­vi­ous.

“It’s dan­ger­ous for a col­li­sion. There hasn’t been a fa­tal­ity there yet, but you know I think it’s one wait­ing to hap­pen. I re­ally do.”

Zita Muise is one of the res­i­dents who says she wrote a let­ter of con­cern to the T’Rail­way Pro­vin­cial Park email ad­dress, but has yet to re­ceive any re­sponse.

“I ex­plained the dan­ger of hav­ing to pass another ATV un­less we pull off in the bushes with no idea whether we are on top of an em­bank­ment or the edge of a deep bog. I asked if any­one could ad­dress our con­cerns. That was two weeks ago.”

And the num­ber of ATVs us­ing the trail will likely only in­crease in the next cou­ple of weeks.

“The lo­cals use it a lot for get­ting down for moose hunt­ing and there’ll be a lot more traf­fic on it then,” notes Gal­lant.

Gal­lant is a re­tired nurse so has wit­nessed first­hand the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect of an ATV ac­ci­dent.

“I’ve worked with peo­ple who have had head in­juries,” says Gal­lant. “I had a nephew that hit a moose on the high­way; he’s now a quad­ri­plegic. So, you know, it can hap­pen on the trail bed too. Those ma­chines – not ev­ery­body is driv­ing as fast as a car – but if a moose comes over you at 40 or 50 kilo­me­tres (per hour) driv­ing on the railbed you’d bet­ter have lots of pro­tec­tion.”

Gal­lant has only seen some mi­nor main­te­nance on this sec­tion of the T’Rail­way.

“There’s no main­te­nance on the trail on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. All I know is they did re­pair the bridge that was closed for a while.”

Gal­lant be­lieves the prob­lem will only com­pound over the win­ter as heavy snows force the alders down onto the trail, ren­der­ing it im­pas­si­ble next year.

“I think it’s a safety is­sue. I think if they’re go­ing to have a T’Rail­way, they (gov­ern­ment) should main­tain it or close it be­cause it’s def­i­nitely a safety is­sue.”

“It’s re­ally in bad shape. It needs some se­ri­ous, se­ri­ous main­te­nance,” agrees Shep­ard. “If a moose or any­thing like that comes out you wouldn’t see it. You’d plow right into it.”

The Depart­ment of Tourism, Cul­ture, In­dus­try and In­no­va­tion re­leased the fol­low­ing state­ment in re­sponse to Gulf News in­quiries.

“Parks Di­vi­sion staff rou­tinely in­spect T’Rail­way Pro­vin­cial Park for po­ten­tial haz­ards, with pri­or­ity placed on bridge main­te­nance and re­pair of washouts to main­tain the con­ti­nu­ity of the trail.

“Staff with Parks Di­vi­sion are cur­rently as­sess­ing the main­te­nance pri­or­i­ties for the fall sea­son, and veg­e­ta­tion con­trol projects will oc­cur, de­pen­dent on bud­get avail­abil­ity.

“Parks is a di­vi­sion of the Depart­ment of Tourism, Cul­ture, In­dus­try and In­no­va­tion, and is un­aware of any unan­swered cor­re­spon­dence re­gard­ing the over­growth is­sue.

“Users of the T’Rail­way Pro­vin­cial Park do so at their own risk.”


Ve­hi­cles are un­able to pass safely or eas­ily thanks to the over­grown fo­liage.


Loy­ola Gal­lant be­lieves the T’Rail­way Pro­vin­cial Park along the South­west Coast has be­come haz­ardous.


Zita Muise has yet to hear back from any­one at New­found­land T’Rail­ways af­ter email­ing them about safety con­cerns.

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