The Troy entrance to the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail has been occasionally blocked by snow during the last couple of months.

INVERNESS COUNTY: Heavy snowfall and plowing issues have left at a Port Hastings resident concerned about accessing the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail (CSCT), the leg of the TransCanada Trail extending from the Canso Causeway to Inverness.

Donald Rankin contacted The Reporter last week, and said after heavy snowfalls, accessing the trail in Troy is pretty much impossible. The plowing of Route 19 results in a banking of snow, and this bank cuts off access to the road that leads to the access point.

“You get a light snow, and you can manage,” Rankin said. “When you get the leavings from a heavy snow that’s pushed up by snowplows, it becomes impossible to get in there.

“There’s no question in my mind that they should be open on an ‘as need’ basis,” he said.

“Do they have a policy? Do they make a policy on the fly?”

Serving as chair of the CSCT is Blaise MacEachern, and he spoke with The Reporter following Rankin’s call. MacEachern said a plan is in place for snow removal, but limited resources make it difficult to ensure constant access.

“[We have] a limited snow removal plan in place for the trailheads at West Mabou, Port Hood Station, Michaels Landing in Judique, Christy’s Look Off and Troy station,” he said. “These access points will be cleared as equipment and/or volunteers are available. Winter trail access is available at other public park areas such as the Inverness Miners Museum, Judique Community Centre, Creignish Recreation Centre, and the Canso Canal.

“There are limited funds budgeted for this aspect of winter upkeep, but we try to do what we can to give the public access 12 months off the year,” he continued. “The CSCT winter managed trailheads will be cleared as a low priority in the winter months, as volunteers are hard at work clearing windfalls, opening culverts and grooming as conditions determine.”

For the past two decades, the trail has been managed by dozens of volunteers in local communities, he said, and while all efforts are made to maintain the trail, the capacity of volunteers can only go so far.