The towns of Twillingate and Crow Head are joining forces to improve the hiking trails of Twillingate Island.
The island’s two municipalities came together for a public signing at the Long Point Lighthouse in Crow Head on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
To initiate the formation of a regional trails committee, the President of Twillingate Islands Tourism Association (TITA) Mandi Young, Twillingate mayor Grant White and Crow Head mayor John Hamlyn signed a memorandum of understanding.
The committee hope this collaboration will result in an improved and connected network of hiking trails for the area. Now, the next step for this Twillingate Trails Regional Committee is to assess 46 kilometre of trails across the island.
This assessment is expected to begin in the fall.
“We’ve got almost 50 km of trails to be assessed,” White says. “That’s a lot but we’re hoping to prioritize the trails based on this and see where we need to put most of our focus.”
According to Young, there are currently eight major trails advertised on Twillingate Island, and with other foot trails dispersed through the region, there is potential for an additional eight to be added.
Volunteers with TITA helped assess some of the trails this year and Young says the Top of Twillingate trail in Bayview and other trails that need to be rerouted around muddy areas are already taking a priority.
“As a region, it’s really important to give travellers what they’re looking for,” she says. “This is a beginning to that.”
This meeting had some local historic value as well. Both Hamlyn and White acknowledged the two towns have not worked together much in the past, and this project will be a leap forward in their relationship.
“It’s going to work much better if we can come together and move forward as a region on this effort,” says White.
With the funding needed to upgrade the trails, Hamlyn agrees this regional approach is the best way to ensure the hiking trails can be brought up to standard.
“Over the years we’ve been trying to keep the trails up to date, which can be near impossible with a small amount of finance,” says Hamlyn. “I’m very happy to get to work together and do what’s best for Twillingate Island. I think now it will be quite different than it has in the past.”
Twillingate town manager Marie Magnin says the committee has yet to determine an official estimate for the trail assessments, but based on similar projects in other municipalities it is expected to cost around $25-35,000.