I must admit that, in many ways, I am and have always been, terrible at sticking to the trail. As a child, when my family went cross-country skiing during the long Manitoba winters, I constantly created pile-ups of skiers. Every time I saw animal tracks, scat or anything interesting (and I find the natural world to be full of amazing sights), I would stop or veer off the trail. Whoever was behind me would often end up on my skis or falling.
I still stop constantly. The sound of a grouse drumming, the wonderfully earthy sweet smell of woods in the autumn, the meandering path of a periwinkle, a cluster of bouncing snow fleas in the hoofprint of a moose, the sparkle of waves: every time I go outside, I experience something wondrous.
In Exploring Our Trails, writers share their personal stories about how trail use has influenced their lives. We use the term ‘trail use’ to refer to the non-motorized use of wild areas. This includes fat biking in Fundy National Park, strolling along an isolated beach, a weeklong backpacking trip, and even bushwhacking–finding your own path.
We made an exception, however, for the article about Shepody Mountain. The article was included to highlight the point that sometimes we need to actively protect our wild spaces. Given the success of the community response (much of the land will be designated as protected), we may see sanctioned trails on the mountain in the future.
In Albert County and surrounding areas, we can walk along beaches, hike to waterfalls or stroll along dykes built hundreds of years ago. We are so fortunate in rural Albert County to be able to safely explore so many wild areas.
Our appreciation and gratitude for such spaces can create positive ripples. As I started to cherish the beautiful places in Albert County and surrounding areas, I felt a growing sense of stewardship. Whether it’s picking up garbage while on a beach walk or lobbying the government to ban logging in a sensitive ecosystem, we all need to protect the wild areas around us.
Producing this special issue has not been a ‘walk in the woods.’ So much has changed since we started working on it last fall. COVID-19 has created many challenges (lack of maps and articles due to staff working at home; cancellation of ads; uncertainty about when trails would open, etc.). Even at the time of publication, not all trails are open and there’s a chance that certain trails might be closed again. However, the lockdown also strengthened our resolve to share the wonderful stories and valuable information contained in these pages. I hope the voices of experienced trail users will inspire more people to get outside, explore new areas and help protect our environment. Let’s share the simple pleasures of being in touch with nature.
This special issue is made possible with the generous support of Friends of Fundy; the Fundy ULTRA Community Trail Micro-Grant; NB Tourism, Heritage and Culture-Sports; and our loyal advertisers and supporters, particularly the Bennett and Albert County Health Care (BACH) Foundation.
Janet Wallace, Coordinator/Editor of Connecting Albert County
For more information on Trails and to read this issue, see Exploring Our Trails.