SPECIAL REPORT: Facets of family violence
What you need to know about COVID-19 today
Business Tool Kit 2021
Daily forecasts and weather facts from Cindy Day
Have you heard about the SaltWire News app?
Continuing coverage: Mass shooting in Nova Scotia
IN DEPTH: Covering a contentious lobster fishery
SaltWire Selects: Stories you don't want to miss
It saddened me to read in the weekend Guardian (Right to ride, Feb. 13), that equestrian groups are banned from using the Confederation Trail.
I am a relative newcomer to P.E.I. (five years), but prior to my move here, I lived on the other side of the country, on southern Vancouver Island.
I spent many hours cycling the Lochside Trail, that (like the Confederation Trail), is a repurposed railway line, originally connecting Victoria to the ferry terminals at Sidney, a distance of some 25 kms.
On that ride, it was a smorgasbord of users — from cyclists like myself, to hikers, joggers, dog walkers, to seniors, wheelchairs, moms and dads with strollers, and yes, horseback riders … lots of them.
It made the ride so interesting, saying hello to all these trail users — people that I would normally not interact with in my normal work life.
It gave life and vibrancy to the trail. And in my 20 years of using the trail, I never witnessed one incident between the various groups — everyone was very aware and respectful of one another.
I now ride my bike on the Confederation Trail, from the access point on Corrigan Road at 10-Mile House, and either ride into town to the farmers’ market or the other direction to sit on the benches at Mount Stewart.
It’s a great ride either way, but at most I encounter a mere handful of other users on the trail — mostly joggers and fellow cyclists.
Too few and too far between in my opinion. It is missing the energy of a multi-use pathway.
In all my years of using the Victoria Lochside Trail, I never saw any “horse damage” other than the occasional cache of “fertilizer”.
The Lochside Trail and the Confederation Trail are exactly the same width and exactly the same substrata, hard-packed gravel able to withstand the pressures of a train.
I expect that a quick call from the Department of Transportation staff to their counterparts in Victoria would confirm this.
I suspect that call has never been made, and that’s just lazy. Equestrian is a dying activity in the world. Horses are expensive.
They take a lot of time and space. Unless we support and encourage, they may well become just a memory within the next couple of generations.
The Confederation Trail is ours — bought and paid for by everyone. Everyone deserves access to it, including horseback riders.
I suspect the denial is not based on research or budgets, it is probably simply easier to deny access than to shake up the bureaucratic morass that has done it the same old way forever.
Give it a shot. You will be pleasantly surprised.