The Big Meadow Bog Boardwalk is hosting a grand opening celebration on Sept. 8 at 1:15 p.m. in Brier Island.
The new boardwalk on the Island is one of three phases to create a boardwalk around the full width of the Island.
“From start to finish it’s been a long process,” said Torree Hansson, the communications director for the Brier Island Trail Society (BITS).
The Big Meadow Bog Boardwalk project began about a year ago, when a group of like-minded volunteers formed the group called the Brier Island Trail Society.
Before boardwalk construction could begin the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Environment Canada did tests on the water and soil nearby to confirm a boardwalk would be safe in the area.
After determining they could build on the land, construction began.
Brier Island is one of two places in the world that grows the Eastern Mountain Aven. The flower grows on the Island and in the mountain regions of New Hampshire.
The perennial flower is known to grow 20 to 50 centimeters high with yellow petals.
The boardwalk was built mostly by manual labor to ensure the safety of the delicate bog land and the Eastern Mountain Aven.
“It was intensive labor, but we did it completely environmentally conscious. The point of this project is to preserve the beauty of Brier Island while sharing it with anyone who wants to enjoy it,” said Victoria Graham, the president of BITS.
Graham has lived on Brier Island for over 40 years but until the boardwalk project began, she had never walked in the area before.
“It’s great for everyone because now we will be able to explore every inch of the Island,” she said.
Graham hopes to see local schools use the boardwalk for Science classes. With access to the bog and marshlands, she thinks this will give schools an opportunity to teach students hands on about ecosystems and environmental concerns.
“It will benefit everyone on the Island and everyone who comes to visit in one way or another.”
The new boardwalk is wide, completely wheelchair accessible and connects to nearby groomed trails.
“And this is just the beginning,” said Graham.
Phase two of the boardwalk is supposed to begin in the Spring of 2019. The third phase should begin in 2020 but these dates have not been officially confirmed.
Before the grand opening, BITS is hosting a 10km lighthouse fun run or walk. The registration fee for walkers is $20 and $45 for runners.
The event begins at the Westport Fire Hall, participants will run across Brier Island, from Second Street and Wellington until the Western Lighthouse. Then participants will return on the same path to Water Street, then on to the Southern Point before finishing the race at the Big Meadow Bog parking lot.
Those interested can register at R.E Robicheau General Store or online at http://lighthouserun.ca
Late registration is at 8:00 a.m. on Sept. 8 at the boardwalk. Cash only. Any participant can stop by and pick up their running kit as well.
Walkers begin the race at 9:00a.m. and runners begin at 10:00a.m. so everyone can finish at similar times.
After the race snacks will be provided to participants.
“Whether your walking, running or just sitting and watching, it’ll be a great day,” said Hansson.
Proceeds from the run will go towards BITS and be used for helping with the costs of phase two of the boardwalk.
BITS would like to thank the many sponsors and volunteers who helped make this new boardwalk possible.