SHUBENACADIE – It was an idea that dates back seven years ago, but a hiking trail here is finally a reality.
Dr. Ross MacInnis stands between George Searle and Jennifer Kennard, of the Shubenacadie Community Development Association, at the head of the MacInnis Trail that officially opened in the village on Wednesday. It was six years ago that the 90-year-old donated a portion of his land to the hiking trail project. Submitted photo
The MacInnis Trail was officially opened on Wednesday, with the first man to donate land for the project – Dr. Ross MacInnis – on site. The trailhead is behind the Village Bakery in the heart of Shubenacadie, and a gate prohibits the use of all-terrain vehicles from entering.
“One of the more famous residents here was instrumental in getting this trail done,” said George Searle, a member of the Shubenacadie Community Development Association, about MacInnis, who he took for a visit to the completed site before the opening.
“It was really gratifying to be able to take him around. He didn’t think he’d still be around to see it finished because it took us six years to complete.”
The idea for a safe place for people to walk, snowshoe, or even cross-country ski on was brought up in 2007, but Searle said the association, which is made up of volunteers, searched and couldn’t find anyone to donate land.
A year after it was first mentioned, the idea came up again and that’s when MacInnis spoke up.
“At that meeting, he stood up and volunteered his land,” said Searle. “Ross thought it was an excellent area to host a trail and once he donated his land, we put together a rough idea of where the trail would
After getting agreements in place with other landowners and the Municipality of East Hants, the first of six phases of the 2.2 kilometre loop was started.
“Without the landowners’ support, we wouldn’t have been able to do this,” Searle said.
During Wednesday’s official opening, the MacInnis family was on site, as many were home for a family reunion.
The trail is a six-foot wide crusher dust trail, which is wheelchair accessible. Currently no bicycles are permitted on the trail, however, agreements with landowners could be changed to accommodate bicycling in the future.
“When we first started the project, the trail wasn’t that attractive, but I think people will use it quite a bit. We thought we might have to have a mud trail in some places, but we went with a higher caliber trail, making it wheelchair accessible and it can be used year-round,” said Searle.
The trail does include some of the municipality’s sidewalks to make it a complete loop. Volunteers with the association will be doing the upkeep to the crushed trail, but Searle doesn’t think it will take a lot of work.
“It will mainly be cutting the vegetation back, because things like blackberries will grow out toward it,” he said.