Champions for the Fundy Trail Parkway celebrate 25th anniversary
August 28, 2023
New Brunswickers flocked to the Fundy Trail Parkway this weekend to celebrate 25 years of impressive growth and beautiful coastal views.
The Parkway offered free admission to the public on Saturday to recognize the occasion, giving visitors the chance to enjoy the park and reflect on the Fundy Trail’s incredible journey over the past quarter century.
Over the weekend, many of the people who played a key role in developing the dream of the park into a reality came together to celebrate this milestone.
“The Fundy Trail began with a vision long before ground was broken,” said Andrew Dixon, chair of the Fundy Trail Development Authority board of directors. “If it weren’t for a group of committed people who were able to see the potential and work together to gain the support and funding that was needed, we wouldn’t have this phenomenal park that has truly become a jewel here in New Brunswick.”
The development authority was established in 1990 as a non-profit corporation responsible for the routing, design and construction of a coastal roadway from St. Martins to Alma.
Dixon joined former premier, the Hon. Frank McKenna for a fireside chat on Saturday to reflect on the park’s rich history. McKenna recalled the time in the early 1990s when businessman and philanthropist Dr. Mitchell Franklin first introduced him to the area and laid out his vision for the future. McKenna said the Fundy Trail Parkway could not exist as it does today without Franklin’s tireless passion for the project.
“Mitchell Franklin’s indomitable spirit gained hundreds of supporters for the Fundy Trail,” McKenna said. “Thanks to his vision, it will continue to be a magnet for New Brunswickers and tourists from all over the world for decades to come.”
When the Fundy Trail first opened to the public on Aug. 29, 1998, it consisted of 10 km of trails. Today, the parkway includes 6,323 acres, with 21 lookouts, 15 observation decks and five beaches, with connector roads from St. Martins to Sussex and Alma.
Mitchell Franklin’s daughter, Beverley Franklin, presented items for a time capsule on Saturday. She said she’s thrilled to see how the Fundy Trail has transformed over the past 25 years, carrying on the legacy of her father, who passed away in 2006.
“My late father’s 60-year dream has been realized and his heart will forever be grateful with love and appreciation to the brilliant and tenacious group of people who were the true trailblazers and trail-builders,” she said. “It’s a wonderful experience when you smile at a Fundy Trailer and they smile back. Personally, I feel proud to have been a small part of this magnificent achievement and believe in my heart that the province of New Brunswick will now treat the Fundy Trail with the same tender loving care as every member of the staff, past and present.”
Saturday’s event also included remarks from federal, provincial and municipal officials, including the Hon. Rob Moore, MP for Fundy Royal; Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister the Hon. Tammy Scott-Wallace; and Fundy-St. Martins Mayor Jim Bedford.
Having achieved its mission of transforming the Parkway into a signature tourist destination with three connections, the development authority will transfer the management and operation of the Parkway to NB Parks on Dec. 12, marking an exciting new chapter in the park’s coming-of-age story.
More information, including admission rates and hours of operation, is available online.
The Hon. Rob Moore, MP for Fundy Royal
“The Fundy Trail Parkway is truly a world-class destination right here in New Brunswick. The Parkway’s development was made possible through partnerships with federal and provincial governments and the Fundy Trail Development Authority, over the past 25 years. I look forward to the continued enhancement and growth of the visitor experience during this exciting new phase.”
The Hon. Tammy Scott-Wallace, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture
“This anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on all the hard work done and the progress that’s been achieved since the parkway was only an idea,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace. “The Fundy Trail Development Authority, in partnership with the provincial and federal governments, has built a signature tourism destination to be preserved and enjoyed by future generations.”
Fundy St.-Martins Mayor Jim Bedford
“We’ve come a long way from the vision, conception and construction of the Fundy Trail to see a dream that has become a reality today. I’m thankful to everyone over the years who has put so much hard work into the Parkway. Because of them, thousands from around the globe have been able to enjoy the natural beauty of this place for 25 years.”
Alex Davis, Senior Consultant