Celebrating a strong, creative, resilient Lunenburg County
NOW, MORE THAN EVER...
Story by ROSEMARY MACEACHERN, Chair, Bay to Bay Trail Association
Lunenburg County is teeming with year-round recreational opportunities and one of those fabulous resources is the “rail to trail” network - the former train line route that connects not only the communities of Lunenburg County but links seamlessly to Halifax in one direction and into Queen’s County in the other.
This multi-use trail network is divided into segments, each run by individual volunteer boards who maintain and steward the recreational trails, seeking and administering funding from regional and provincial governments, as well as donations, and most importantly, connecting with their individual communities. Over the last several years, Nova Scotia, along with many communities in North America, has identified cycling tourism and recreational experiences as an important and viable tourism product, and has begun to create destination trails similar to popular routes in Quebec, Pennsylvania and New York State. The first of those initiatives was the Rum Runners Trail, connecting the province’s capital city of Halifax with communities along the Exploring the exceptional trails around Lunenburg County 120km route, including: St. Margaret’s Bay, Hubbards, Chester, Mahone Bay, and smaller communities too, culminating at UNESCO World Heritage site, Lunenburg, NS.
The segments that create these routes have functioned for years since the rail lines were abandoned by the Canadian Railroad Company in 1999. Now, in several regions, these groups have come together creating destination trails marketed to visitors across the province, nationally and internationally, hosting events such as Ride for Cancer, Heartland Tour, South Shore Savour and Cycle Tour, annual Off-Highway Vehicle rallies and more. At the community level the trails provide an important recreational infrastructure for residents in every community wi th annual Terry Fox runs, local bike ride groups, hiking, running, orienteering and equestrian activities. The trails are home to trestles and covered bridges over rivers, brooks, past marshes and wetlands, tranquil park benches and beautiful displays of public art!
Destination Trail projects have also been developed in the Annapolis Valley with the Harvest Moon Trail, and in Cape Breton with the Celtic Shores Trail. “The Trails”, as they are so often called, are accessible from many of the communities in Lunenburg County and offer a fabulous, low traffic option to riding bikes, walking or running along the scenic roadways and are shared use with equestrians and Off-Highway Vehicles (except within the town limits of Bridgewater and Lunenburg). Some of the most popular routes around the Bridgwater area are the Centennial Trail (8 km) through town to the LaHave River Trail (3.5 km developed so far), going toward New Germany and eventually to the Annapolis Valley, the Adventure Trail which goes from Bridgewater to Mahone Bay (15km) and the Bull Run Trail (24km) connecting Bridgewater with Queen’s County. To find more detailed maps visit: lunenburgregion.ca From the town of Mahone Bay, the Bay to Bay Trail (10km) is a spur route to and from Lunenburg and connects Lunenburg’s Back Harbour Trail (4km), to Blue Rocks Road. The Back Harbour Trail does have views of the water and the recently-paved shoulder on the road to Blue Rocks makes a stunning ride! The Dynamite Trail (10km) from Mahone Bay to Martin’s River, is part of the Rum Runners Trail (120km total) made up of 7 distinct and
individually-managed trails. The Chester Connector Trail (20km) connects Martin’s River to the Village of Chester, then on from Chester to the Aspatogan Trail, St. Margaret’s Bay and Area Trail, the Beachville, Lakeside Timberlea Trail (BLT) and finally the Chain of Lakes Trail bringing you right into Halifax.
For more detailed maps and suggested itineraries, visit www.rumrunnerstrail.ca, You can also refer to the websites of the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) www.modl.ca and the Municipality of Chester www.chester.ca for recreational information about the trails, events and program listings.