GRAND BANK, N.L.
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.”