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Western Brook Pond trail, Nfld - destroyed?

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Nov 14th, 2018, 01:31 PM
  #1
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Western Brook Pond trail, Nfld - destroyed?

I have to admit, when I saw the photograph of the redesigned Western Brook Pond trail, I was shocked. Bear in mind it won't be finished until 2019.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfo...rade-1.4748418

Parks Canada insists the old boardwalk was unsafe because when wet, people were known to slip and fall - one person actually broke a kneecap, another sustained a head injury. And the numbers of people the trail accommodates has grown to 40,000 per year.

They also claim they will replant vegetation and will NOT pave the trail and will NOT allow (public) vehicular traffic.

But what do Fodorites think?
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Nov 14th, 2018, 01:42 PM
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opinion of park naturalist Michael Burzynski

https://www.thetelegram.com/news/fac...rom-mp-228996/
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Nov 14th, 2018, 04:13 PM
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I can see the need for changes though I donít buy the slippery when wet line. But that really is wide. They might as well stick up an ďExpress lanes/Collector Lanes sign.
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Nov 15th, 2018, 03:46 AM
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xcountry, You are certainly right about the width, it's now a road. And the replantings argument is nuts, one doesn't rip out vegetation that probably took years to establish in that fairly harsh climate and then make noise about 'replanting'. They would have done better to admit they botched it and be done with it.

Your point about 'slippery when wet' as being bogus is also spot on. New Zealand's Tongariro Crossing hike is a heckuva lot more slippery than any boardwalk and the ascents and descents at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon certainly aren't any less potentially risky. Natural park hikes cannot be made risk free or even low risk and still remain even a semblance of nature.

One possibility they might have considered (too late now, alas) was to do a 'divided highway' - i.e. a second trail about the same width as the original first trail, but parallel and a bit separated. The second trail would be of packed gravel and could be exclusively for emergency ATV use (which would have addressed the 'ambulance' argument - or for people with strollers, wheelchairs, etc.
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Nov 15th, 2018, 06:15 AM
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Sue the safety of the boardwalk brings to mind this thread from trip advisor (which I have posted before) about the safety of a trail across the province at Signal Hill. I had complained about one section of the trail long before the TA thread was started. There are now chains to hold on to at the point in question. There were not when I first did it.

I hope the posters who wrote responses 6, 9 and a few others have not heard about "the dangers" of the boardwalk.

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic...and_and_L.html

Last edited by xcountry; Nov 15th, 2018 at 06:18 AM.
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Nov 15th, 2018, 12:42 PM
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Hmmm seems the changes donít stop there. If I read this correctly they are changing the first part of the trail up Gros Morne mountain. Now if they would just get rid of the rocks and boulders on the way to the top I might do that trail again.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfo...ails-1.4780844

Last edited by xcountry; Nov 15th, 2018 at 12:44 PM.
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Nov 25th, 2018, 03:47 PM
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This issue was all over local media and online when the trails opened this year. Of course, other than park employees, no one knew what was happening until it was done, which made it all a bit of "sound and fury". It can't be put back--as someone noted above, vegetation grows slowly in Gros Morne. I know there have been many complaints over the years from people who didn't realize (until they arrived) that although Western Brook Pond has a boat tour, the tour is (was) only accessible to those who could walk in the 3 km trail. However, it's amazing that the decision-makers failed to realize that the (many) tourists who visit Gros Morne choose it because they want a wilderness experience.
I haven't been on it since the change, but it looks considerably wider than an ATV would need. I know moving boats and equipment in and out was difficult and expensive, sometimes involving helicopters, and I wonder how much of a factor that was.
I hope the reactions will make Park administration think twice about their goals and consider the effect of some of their decisions. I don't think I'd mind about the changes to the mountain trail; when a trail essentially becomes a stream in wet weather (we get a lot of wet weather), then it becomes a constant maintenance problem, and will eventually do as much damage as changing it.
Like many people who have visited, I did love that forest trail into Western Brook Pond, though. Sigh.
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