East Coast Trail fundraiser closes with over $86,000 raised

·2 min read
This view from the East Coast Trail shows the result of millions of years of tectonic pressure tilting layers of rock into the sea. (Submitted by Julie Mullowney - image credit)
This view from the East Coast Trail shows the result of millions of years of tectonic pressure tilting layers of rock into the sea. (Submitted by Julie Mullowney - image credit)
Submitted by Julie Mullowney
Submitted by Julie Mullowney

The East Coast Trail Association held its annual community hike fundraiser and post-hike celebrations in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's on Saturday.

The 2022 Trail Raiser Community Hike marked the end of a six-week fundraising effort for which the association had proclaimed a goal of $100,000.

"It's all about raising awareness and funds for the East Coast Trail Association and the 336 kilometres of trail that we've got here on the Avalon Peninsula,"  said board member Shane Skinner.

With a total of $86,606 raised, the fundraising goal was just missed. But for Skinner the result is still "a total success".

About 100 people gathered in the school's cafeteria after the hike. According to Skinner, more than 250 people had registered for the event, and he believes about 300 were out on the trails in the morning.

The event featured hikes in the morning — the participants could get out on seven different trails — followed by lunch, live music and a prize draw at Brookside Intermediate School in St. Philip's.

"After a couple tough years with the COVID pandemic, you know, it was nice to see a full room of people enjoying some live music after the event and also getting out to enjoy the trail more importantly this morning," said Skinner.

Henrike Wilhelm/CBC
Henrike Wilhelm/CBC

Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Mayor Carol McDonald, who spoke on behalf of the town at the event, stressed the importance of the East Coast Trail for residents.

"The East Coast Train Association and its magnificent trail system is a great example of recreation at its finest. Hiking these trails offers an opportunity for folks to live a healthy and active lifestyle," said McDonald.

"The positive value this system holds in our community for both residents and visitors goes beyond measure."

Her words were echoed by Skinner.

"Not only is it great for individuals' physical health to get out, enjoy the fresh air, get a sweat going, but it's also crucially important for everyone's mental health to get out and to be around nature, or to get out and hike the trail and see all the sights and sounds that are out there."

Henrike Wilhelm/CBC
Henrike Wilhelm/CBC

The event on Saturday also marked International Trails Day which is held every year on the first Saturday in June as well as the completion of the trail system's new extension.

The 52-kilometre section between Cape St. Francis and Topsail Beach was officially opened on May 19.

"We officially opened up the next portion of the East Coast Trail Association to make it a continuous 336 kilometres," said Skinner.

"So, this was a bit of a celebratory opportunity for us to share that story and also celebrate the achievements of our volunteers who have been around for many years."

The East Coast Trail celebrates its 28th anniversary this year.

With the funds raised, the association wants to maintain and develop the trails in the 2023 season.

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