Drivers angered by T'Railway barricades

Brodie Thomas
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T'Railway users are raising the alarm over boulders that have been placed on the old rail bed near J.T. Cheeseman Park, but the Department of Environment says the rocks have been put there to protect nesting piping plovers.
Tommy Anderson of Cape Ray likes to take his two-seater ATV on the T'Railway just about every day when the weather is good. He was among the first to encounter the boulders on June 6.

The barricades were placed in two spots along the designated ATV trail. Each barricade was near the boundaries of J.T. Cheesman Park, which the T'Railway intersects.

Anderson spoke out on Facebook and rallied other trail users to speak out about the barricade.

"What if someone needs to get an ambulance through?" asked Anderson.

He remembered an incident over a decade ago where an ATV had gone off an embankment into the water. Anderson later provided a photo of this incident with police and ambulances on the T'Railway.

"That's just past where one barricade is now," he said. "If that same accident happened today, the ambulance wouldn't be able to get down there."

Mitchell Muise is another Cape Ray resident who uses his ATV on the T'Railway. His biggest concern was for safety of trail users.

"If someone comes around that corner too fast, they're done," said Muise.

He said he felt uncomfortable taking his ATV, which is 64 inches wide, through the 67-inch gap left between the rocks.

A group of 15 people on nine ATVs travelled down to the barricades with a Gulf News reporter last Monday. Andy Short drove his side-by-side ATV up to the gap in the rocks, but he didn't want to drive through for fear of harming his vehicle.

On Tuesday, a contractor spray-painted the boulders with fluorescent orange paint to make them more visible. The gap was also widened.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment and Conservation said department officials put the boulders there out of concern for endangered piping plovers, which nest on nearby beaches.

The concern related to larger trucks using the T'Railway. But after concerns were raised, the department repositioned the boulders.

"The boulders have been moved to the side and marked until a more permanent solution is found," said the spokeswoman in an email. "If determined this is the action needed to protect the birds longer-term, appropriate signage and advisories will be issued."

Anderson said moving the boulders back is a start, but even with where they are now, he has safety concerns for snowmobilers. He said it would be easy for a snowmobiler to clip or strike one of the boulders if it was hidden by a snowdrift.

 

Organizations: Gulf News, Department of Environment and Conservation

Geographic location: J.T. Cheesman Park, Cape Ray

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Recent comments

  • bernardrumbolt
    June 16, 2014 - 18:42

    Geeze my sons! If the rocks are still there. You fellers look strong enough to remove them farther apart, or of the trail permentally PROBLEM SOLVED

  • Melissa
    June 16, 2014 - 09:46

    I thought the barricades were in place because the T'railway is closed? Or is it open again? On the east coast there are rock barriers closing off the enterances to the track or "T'railway" and no motorized vehicles can get through at all, Mabye a person on a bicycle but that's it...