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'So much variety': New accessible coastal hiking trail along North Shore of Lake Huron

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After two years of hard work in the Town of Thessalon, a new eight-kilometre accessible wilderness trail with views of Lake Huron has officially opened.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony with more than 100 people in attendance was held Saturday at the Thessalon Coastal Trail, located about an hour's drive east from Sault Ste. Marie.

Ribbon cutting at Thessalon Coastal Trail. April 20, 2024 (Town of Thessalon)

"Thessalon Coastal Trail offers something for everyone. For the hardy, seasoned hiker the entire return 8km wilderness trail will give you the workout you are looking for," the town said in a news release.

"Want to check out migrating waterfowl or herons fishing? Many birding spots to be had. Just out for a short walk in your running shoes, pick from several loops to hike. Mobility challenged? No problem – the crushed gravel accessible trail is ready for you."

Jordan Bird is the town's deputy mayor and trail's team leader who spoke about his vision for the project.

Thessalon Coastal Trail map. April 20, 2024 (Town of Thessalon)

"In 2020, during the pandemic, my family had to travel north of Sault Ste. Marie or several hours’ drive to Manitoulin to partake in coastal hiking," Bird is quoted as saying in the news release.

"I started poking around in our own community and came across this hidden gem. Fast forward after two years of grant applications and many meetings and hours of trail creation, we can now hike in our own backyard. I am so proud of our trails team’s accomplishments and look forward to exploring expansion down the line."

The trail features floating walkways and crushed gravel along with red Muskoka chairs for a break to enjoy the view.

Hiker sits in red Muskoka chair on Thessalon Coastal Trail enjoying the view of the shores of Lake Huron. April 20, 2024 (Town of Thessalon)

The walkways extend to small islands to provide "world-class views of Thessalon and Lake Huron."

Guided tours were held on opening day.

"The trail had so much variety," one hiker is quoted as saying in the news release.

Red Muskoka chairs give hikers a break to enjoy the views of the marshland on the Thessalon Coastal Trail. April 20, 2024 (Town of Thessalon)

"One minute we are walking along the granite rocks and watching the North Channel waves then we dip into the quiet pine forest. Loved it. We will be back."

A volunteer group called 'Friends of the Thessalon Coastal Trail' has been created to maintain the trails and fundraise for "enhancements like benches and bird blinds."

Hikers enjoy views from shores of Lake Huron on new Thessalon Coastal Trail. April 20, 2024 (Town of Thessalon)

Hikers gather at Thessalon Coastal Trail map on opening day. April 20, 2024 (Town of Thessalon)

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