Talk­ing trails

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY PAUL HERRIDGE GRAND BANK, N.L. [email protected]­erngazette

An ef­fort is un­der­way by the Town of Grand Bank to im­prove its two trails and also hope­fully raise their pro­file.

Hik­ing and pas­ture trails have be­come pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tions through­out New­found­land and Labrador.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2016 exit sur­vey con­ducted by the Depart­ment of Tourism, Cul­ture, In­dus­try and In­no­va­tion, 60 per cent of non-res­i­dent travel par­ties to the province did some hik­ing or walk­ing on trails.

Tourists are us­ing the Grand Bank trails – a marine hike that starts at Ad­mi­ral’s Cove and tra­verses the Grand Bank cape, and a na­ture trail which me­an­ders along­side Grand Bank Brook be­fore climb­ing Ben­nett’s Hill – says Tom Bur­ton, the town’s recre­ation di­rec­tor and fa­cil­i­ties man­ager.

“(Tourists) have ac­tu­ally come to me at the town hall and said, you know, they’ve walked the trail and it’s ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful,” Bur­ton said.

The trails haven’t achieved the recog­ni­tion of some of the more pop­u­lar hikes in the province, how­ever. Im­prove­ments are needed and the town is work­ing on it, part of which will in­clude do­ing more to spread the word about the trails.

One thing the town is look­ing to do is give peo­ple a spe­cific rea­son to walk or hike the trails, a “des­ti­na­tion” in tourism lingo, which will also in­crease the chances of re­ceiv­ing govern­ment fund­ing.

The Grand Bank cape’s con­nec­tion to ex­plorer Capt. James Cook is a pos­si­bil­ity for the marine hike. Cook is said to have moored at Ad­mi­ral’s Cove in 1765 and used buds gath­ered from spruce trees in the area to brew beer for his crew.

Bur­ton said there is noth­ing con­crete on pos­si­ble at­trac­tors for ei­ther trail as of yet.

An­other as­pect the town is look­ing to im­prove is sig­nage.

“We pretty much have iden­ti­fied where we need sig­nage. We pretty much got the lan­guage in mind of what we need on the signs,” Bur­ton said.

“It’s just a mat­ter now of get­ting the proper de­sign and work that into our pro­posal so that we can get that un­der our pro­gram or it may be some­thing that we will have to go out and look for spon­sor­ship for.”

PAUL HERRIDGE – THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE

The marine hike in Grand Bank starts at Ad­mi­ral’s Cove and climbs up the Grand Bank cape. Capt. James Cook is said to have moored in the area while map­ping the province’s south coast in the 1760s.

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