When New Brunswick’s Trail Action Plan was announced in 2018, many trail advocates in Southeast New Brunswick were disappointed to learn that the region would not have a signature trail product. This reality catalyzed a desire to identify and develop a hiking/cycling trail project that would showcase the diversity of scenery, history and culture in the Southeast. After consideration and consultation, it was noted that two previously identified conceptual trail projects could be combined into one long distance trail. This trail, the “Shore-Line” will connect two coastlines.
The Shore-Line will also create small business opportunities in many adjacent rural communities. The trail will be within accessible cycling distance or a short drive for roughly 130,000 residents. The Shore-Line could be almost entirely off-road and will utilize abandoned rail corridors, dykes, undeveloped Department of Transportation and Infrastructure corridors, and Crown Land wherever possible. Every possible effort will be made to locate a route that will follow coastline and waterways because trails users generally prefer trails to be close to water.
To appeal to the broadest possible range of users, the trail will be between two and three metres wide with a consistent tread surfaced with aggregate materials. Since the intent of the route is to stay as close as possible to the coastline and rivers’ edge, there will be minimal elevation gain and loss along the route―making it attractive to a wide range of age groups and individual fitness levels.
There are a multitude of route options between Alma and Shediac. The ideal route will find a balance between connecting as many natural, historical and cultural assets as possible. This route will aim to connect to existing trail infrastructure, communities, businesses and neighbourhoods.
One challenge in trail development is ensuring the landscape around the trail is protected in a way that maintains the viewshed in perpetuity. For this reason, Shore-Line proponents are working with a diverse group of stakeholders to explore opportunities for collaboration in order to access desirable land. One promising opportunity is Pathways to Target 1, a federal initiative aiming to increase land and freshwater protection over the next two years. Conservation initiatives play an important role in trail initiatives globally. Most world-class trail destinations have conservation measures which protect the surrounding landscape and viewshed.
Adapted from The Shore-Line: Connecting Communities in Southeastern New Brunswick.