Trail to showcase Avondale area’s diverse ecology

Ashley Thompson athompson@hantsjournal.ca
Published on January 4, 2012

 

A new hiking trail is now open in the Lady Slipper Capital of the Maritimes.

Avon Peninsula Watershed Preservation Society (APWPS) director Matthew Smith says the Avondale Community Trail winds through some of the most picturesque land in the province, and beyond.

“The Avon Peninsula is recognized by… Nova Scotia Natural Resources as having the highest concentration of flora biodiversity located in a karst environment anywhere in Eastern Canada,” Smith said.

“This trail kind of brings awareness to the ecological values of the peninsula, but also the richness of the biodiversity that’s here.”

About 17 people attended an opening ceremony the APWPS held for the 2.3 kilometre trail at the Avondale Community Hall in mid-December. The trailhead is located behind the community hall.

“It’s nice and conveniently located for the entire community and also the entire region,” said Smith, noting that it will draw nature enthusiasts from away, and close to home, to the Avondale area more often.

“It basically starts right in the heart of Newport Landing, which is a historic village located on the shores of the highest tides of the world, on a peninsula surrounded by three tidal rivers.”

Three out of four of the Maritime region’s Lady Slipper populations can be found within the reach of the “primitive footpath,” Smith added.

The West Hants Uniacke Community Health Board and West Hants Recreation provided the APWPS with grant money to build stairs, boardwalks and bridges along the provincially-certified trail that is outlined by yellow markers and Lady Slipper signage. Volunteers within the community provided the labour necessary to prepare the trail for non-motorized use.

Smith says the short, single-track trail is accessible by hikers of all levels.

“There’s…  three-year-olds and four-year-olds that hike this thing,” he said with a laugh.

“This trail is just phase one of a larger trail project. We’ll be expanding these trails over the next couple years. The possibilities are endless out here.”

The APWPS also revealed a new “Lady Slipper Capital of the Maritimes” sign, designed by Steve Coyle of Timberlea, to replace a weathering marker that greets motorists travelling to Mantua from Brooklyn or Windsor via Hwy 14.