January is not when you’d expect people to flock to McNabs Island in Halifax harbour, but a small group of volunteers headed out Thursday to help clean up a trail that is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Juan almost 16 years later.
Royce Walker, a volunteer with Friends of McNabs Island, said the group will be fundraising for work on the Timmins Cove trail later this year, and clearing away fallen and dead trees with a chainsaw is the first step along that path.
“This particular trail is one that we’re trying to focus on because it goes to the east side of the island,” Walker said. “There’s not many trails that do that.”
The trail, which was built in the 1990s, starts at the Findlay-Farrant Farm and runs to Timmins Cove.
Juan’s effects still felt
“There was a lot of damage when they cleared it [after] Hurricane Juan” in 2003, said Brian Phelen, a retired arborist who used a chainsaw to cut the larger trees blocking the path.
“There’s a lot of wet spots that need to be drained, and the first thing we had to do was come in and clear the brush.”
The hurricane also likely assisted with the demise of trees that had fallen over the path in recent years, as they were more exposed than before that storm, Phelan explained.
Clearing the trail in the winter might seem counter-intuitive, but Phelan said the snow is much easier to navigate than the mud that will sit on the trail in the warmer months.
“No worse than walking on the icy sidewalks of the city of Halifax,” he said.