The following blog post is part of the People Behind the Trails series that is meant to celebrate people who have a positive impact on hiking trails in the province. We hope it will inspire you to, in your own way, give back to the beautiful trail systems in the province. Participants were asked to answer the following questions:
1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
2. How long have you been hiking?
3. What is your first memory of hiking?
4. What is your favorite memory of hiking?
5. What is your favorite hiking trail in the province?
6. What do you do to contribute to hiking trails in the province?
7. What do you think is the biggest challenge for hiking trails in the province?
8. What can people do to help build, maintain and promote hiking trails in the province?
Here is Samuel Daigle’s story.
I’m a family doctor, doing mostly emergency room in Bathurst, NB. As the years go by, I am more and more discouraged to see the health index of our population worsen, despite improving medical technology. Wanting to make the most difference possible in the health of my community, I have dedicated my last years in encouraging a more active, better eating Chaleur region. I’m involved in the regional wellness organisation.
I joined the Bathurst NB trails committee and helped create the Chaleur Green Trails committee. I joined in hopes of creating a network of non-motorised trails in the Chaleur region for people to do some safe, active transportation and to help tourism. In the process I met a lot of fantastic people, one of them being Rod O’Connell. He filled me in on his previous attempt to cut a hiking trail from Bathurst to Mount Carleton following the Nepisiguit river. I gathered a few other people and convinced him to make another attempt at it. We joined with the Pabineau First Nation. This summer, without any funds, we managed to mark and clear about 30 km of trail with a fantastic crew of volunteers. We would very much appreciate having some government support in order to fix up the trail and reach Mount Carleton in the next few years.
I have been walking in the woods for as long as I can remember. Hunting was always just a good excuse to go for a walk in the woods. Amongst my favorite hikes, I have to name the Long Range Traverse in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, the Inca Trails of Peru, and just recently the John Muir Trail in California. I always enjoy going up Mount Carleton and Sugarloaf Mountain, especially in the fall. The hike to Pabineau Falls on the Nepisiquit Mi’gmaq Trail, the one we worked on this summer, is however my new favorite.
I will certainly continue to work hard with our group the Friends of Nepisiguit – Mi’gmaq trail. There is a lot of dedicated volunteers. The challenge for hiking trails is to get funding, and also to get access where there is private property. A lot of people don’t realize that having a non-motorised network of trails increases the value of their property and they refuse to allow access too quickly. The other challenge is preventing motorised vehicles from getting on the trails. What we have to do is make the proper authorities realise that hiking is definitively on the rise, and that building and conserving hiking trails is an investment and not an expense. We have a lot of superb unspoiled land to offer to tourists.
In my opinion the next generation also needs to have more contact with nature . More and more we will need to get that fresh air instead of popping more pills.
Dr Samuel Daigle
December 14th 2015
If you would like to contribute your story to Hiking NB please contact me at James Donald.
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