© Submitted photo
Heather Nicol, left, walks with Gwen Lawson and Leo along one of the community trails in Stephenville.
We recently had a chance to check out some of the community trails in Stephenville and we were very impressed with the work that has gone into the new Blanche Brook Park.
Derek Lomond is the vice-chair of the Walk-A-Ways Parks and Trails Committee. Three years ago he called a meeting in Stephenville to promote the idea of a park with walking trails.
This area had been devastated by a flood in late September 2005, and dozens of houses had to be removed due to the flood damage. The floodplain area then lay dormant for several years until Derek called a public meeting to gauge support and interest for the park.
“We had about 35 people at that first meeting, which I think was in 2011, and we haven’t looked back since,” he told us while replacing a couple of trees that had died the previous winter.
“In 2012 we did some initial landscaping, and then last summer we planted (between 700-800) trees, created the trails, put in numerous benches, developed 13 garden beds for flowers and shrubs, and created an arboretum. Paul Grenier, developed the arboretum and we had four Conservation Corps students working through the summer on the trails and flower beds.
“We have 20 acres of land here and if you take the perimeter trail in a loop, you end up going about 1.6 kilometres. These trails are designed to be used for cyclists and walkers and we have smaller loops of trails that go between the garden beds.”
When we asked what the plans are for this year, Derek said that they have another group of Conservation Corps students hired.
“We plan to replant the gardens with annuals, complete the stage for outdoor performances and finish building some trails,” he added. “We also plan to work on the other trails in Stephenville.”
The trail also goes along the banks of Blanche Brook. We never realized how scenic this stream was flowing over smooth bedrock with small waterfalls in places.
In the short time we were at Blanche Brook Park we saw a steady stream of walkers, many with dogs in tow. Derek told us that there are always local people in the park, especially in the evening, and that he has seen quite a few visitors are using it when they come to Stephenville.
There are other trail networks in the community, including Ocean Trail near the golf course, which we have used on several occasions.
“Beside the Ocean Trail, there is the We-Care-Trail behind the library and the Ned’s Pond Trail which are also popular,” Derek said.
For anyone interested in checking out these trails in Stephenville, visit the following shortlink: http://bit.ly/1jZD77z
Contributors Keith and Heather Nicol live in Corner Brook and are avid explorers of Newfoundland. Keith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org