The trail’s creator and manager ‘Oyster’ Jim Martin was putting the final touches on a brand new Bog Interpretive Walk on Friday.
The fresh attraction is a 300-metre loop accessible from Coast Guard Road and the Trail’s popular Lighthouse Loop. It opens up unique bog views to hikers and is equipped with roughly a dozen interpretive signs letting hikers know how important the bog is to the community’s landscape.
“It’s special. It’s something that people don’t see,” he said adding he began working on the new addition in September.
He said the Wild Pacific Trail Society president Barbara Schramm did a tremendous job putting signage together that includes activities like a bog challenge to find and identify various plants as well as important preservation information.
Martin explained the addition was entirely created by hand as bringing equipment in would have put the wetlands at risk.
“This was about putting a trail in with the lightest footprint possible,” he said. “It’s a one-way trail so it’s a very narrow, very personal type of trail. I think the public is going to be very excited about it.”
The path is roughly two-feet wide and is mostly located on root mass.
“I knocked down small trees all along the route and located the trail along the tree fringe to have the trail on the root mass so it won’t sink,” he said. “In areas where it did get very soft I put plank under the trail to help buoy it above the ground.”
Barriers are in place to keep people on the trail and outside the bog.
“At every opportunity we’ve told people, ‘Please stay on this trail’ and, I think, we’re going to get a lot of cooperation,” he said.
An official opening celebration will be held on March 17 at 3 p.m.
Martin took time out of building the new addition in January when a massive storm event hammered the trail’s Lighthouse Loop section, upending decks and sending benches flying.
“I was happy that there wasn’t more [damage],” Martin said. “I was away so I was just going on the feedback from others and there was quite a bit of angst about what happened to the trail.”
He added he was also happy to see no injuries occur.
“People do not use their heads when they come out here and luckily the district staff was onboard and out there instructing people where it was safe to observe the spectacle of nature,” he said. “That was the biggest thing. We can repair the trail but you can’t repair broken bodies.”
He said it took about a week to repair and reopen the damaged sections.
“I, luckily, have a good background in engineering, so I was able to move the decks back in place without disassembling them, which was big,” he said. “Even though we had a significant amount of damage, it was, for the most part, repaired and people can come enjoy storm watching again.”