New Brunswick's Fundy Footpath traverses some of Atlantic Canada's last coastal wilderness, but increasing tourism and other development is always close at hand. How does the foothpath find its balance?
Nick Brennan leans over a dog-eared topographical map of New Brunswick’s Fundy coast, running chestnut-tanned fingers along its jagged shoreline. Ink has been rubbed to bare paper, occasionally to holes, around campsites east of St. Martins, N.B., where Brennan’s wilderness outfitting company is based. This weekend I’ll be tackling a third of the Fundy Footpath, one of the country’s hardest backcountry trails, from Little Salmon River, about 20 kilometres west of Fundy National Park, to Big Salmon River, another 20 kilometres farther west. It’s the easiest segment, and I’m hiking it in the easiest direction, but Brennan still seems concerned.
“You have to understand what this is,” he says. “It’s a single-track trail with exposed roots, not level, slippery when wet, with extreme elevation climbs and descents. And then you add tides into that mix.”