Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Forging a new path to success

Fundy Trail
Thousands of visitors flock to Atlantic Canada’s Bay of Fundy to experience the grandeur of the highest tides in the world.

Now, supporters of an eco-tourism site near St. Martin’s, New Brunswick believe they’ve found a way to turn this world heritage site into a world-class attraction.

Fundy Trail Parkway on the Upper Bay of Fundy is presently a 16-kilometre network of hiking and biking trails and low-speed road ways that offers panoramic views of the coastline that were previously inaccessible to visitors. It has won numerous awards, including the Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award. However, although the Parkway receives thousands of visitors each year, it is estimated that approximately 20% of tourists and hikers actually turn around when they realize they cannot travel all the way to Fundy National Park.

Organizers want to extend this coastal connection eastward to iconic spots like Fundy National Park, Cape Enrage and the ocean tidal exploration site at Hopewell Rocks, with the goal of establishing the Parkway as a primary tourist destination.

The ambitious idea of extending the Fundy Trail was first conceived in the mid-nineties by the Fundy Trail Development Authority and is slated for completion in 2018, when it will provide a spectacular, seamless link between the communities of Saint John, Sussex and Moncton.

The trail, with its guided walks and interpretive center, welcomes visitors from Canada, the United States and a small percentage from Europe. “Last year we had people from the U.K., France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy,” says Brian Clark, general manager of the Fundy Trail Parkway.  

snowshoers

As word gets out about this “hidden gem,” thanks to travel writers and sites like Trip Advisor, visitor numbers continue to rise.  Once the Fundy Trail project is completed and visitor levels stabilize, it is estimated that the Parkway will generate between $32 and $37 million in annual tourism spending.

In the small community of St. Martin’s, the economic impact of the Fundy Trail is already being felt. “Before we started, there was one country inn,” says Clark. “Now there are two, and there are four or five B and B’s and three restaurants. There are two or three campgrounds in St. Martin’s also. These have all sprung up in the last fifteen years.”

ACOA has provided cost-shared funding with the Province of New Brunswick to help complete the project.  “Working with them has been great,” says Harley Tingley, president of the Fundy Trail Development Authority. “They have been very helpful. We’re taking some board governance training with them right now and working on a sustainability plan.”

Another eight kilometres will be added for the 2016 tourism season. “The section under construction now will you take you down to Long Beach, which is probably going to be one of our most dramatic spots,” says Clark.  

For the Fundy Trail Parkway supporters and organizers, forging new connections with New Brunswick’s natural wonders is proving to be the path to success.

map of Fundy Trail

Published May 15, 2014