How New Brunswick’s Dobson Trail Came To Be And What Makes It So Popular.
As the longest hiking trail in the world, the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) system has accomplished an incredible feat. This behemoth of a trail explores the vast Canadian expanse, and, as of 2017, finally made the connection between the East and West Coasts. If you don’t have the time to dedicate the estimated two years and two months of rigorous daily hiking required to complete it, New Brunswick’s Dobson Trail offers a far more reasonable (and no less delightful) challenge. The Dobson Trail accounts for about 60km of the far larger 24,000km TCT and stretches from Riverview to the northern boundary of Fundy National Park. Venture through forest and wetlands (and not an insignificant amount of mud) on this beautiful excursion.
Hiking trails sometimes come to feel like natural components of our outdoor spaces. In the Maritimes, you are rarely more than a 15-minute drive from some sort of maintained trail system. As a watershed management group, the PWA is deeply invested in ensuring that all members of our community have access to the many wonderful ecosystems that surround us. After all, developing an appreciation for nature is one of the most effective gateways to environmentalism. However, despite the importance of accessible outdoor spaces, it can be easy to take this privilege for granted. It’s kind of like not having a stuffy nose– you never truly appreciate it until you’ve been resigned to mouth breathing for a few weeks.
Your favorite trails did not occur spontaneously— trail building and maintenance is an arduous, time-consuming task that requires a high level of dedication and forethought. The prevalence of hiking trails is a testament to the intrinsic urge to connect with nature and to the lengths we will go to achieve it. To many, the Dobson Trail is seen as one man’s love letter to the outdoors. As a New Brunswick woodsman at heart, Dr. Art Dobson was committed to the lofty task of linking Moncton and Fundy National Park. For over a decade, “Dobson led volunteer groups through the multifarious stages of blazing a new trail: researching landownership, obtaining permission to cross private lands where necessary, clearing paths, erecting signs and shelters, and planning for annual trail maintenance.” To this day, the Dobson Trail is the oldest trail system built and managed by volunteers in Canada. The Fundy Hiking Association, the group responsible for trail maintenance, understands that “On-foot engagement with wilderness contributes to the conservation of these unique and important landscapes; we protect what we love.” Next time you have some free time on your hands, check out the Dobson Trail and think about the lengths that someone took to get you there.
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