A trail worker clears a tangle of trees on the Father Troy Path, from Torbay to Flatrock, north of St. John's. ((Courtesy of Jantje Van Houwelingen) )

Volunteers maintaining eastern Newfoundland's East Coast hiking trail say it will take more than six months to repair the damage Hurricane Igor did in one day.

The association that maintains the more than 250-kilometre trail said Friday its survey of damage since Sept. 21 has found that sections of the path are covered by  thousands of felled trees.

"It is probably 10 times worse than a very big storm that happened about a year ago in October," said East Coast Trail Association volunteer Janjte Van Houwelingen.

"At that time we had about 500 trees down on the trail. It was a major challenge to get that cleaned up and now we have an estimated 5,000 trees down over the length of the trail."


Large trees criss-cross many sections of the trail, such as the Mickeleens Path from Bay Bulls to Witless Bay, south of St. John's. ((Courtesy of Jantje Van Houwelingen) )

She said blown-down trees have left many sections of the trail completely impassable.

"Mickeleens Path [from Bay Bulls south to Witless Bay] is the worst. Large trees are stacked one on top of the other, sometimes three deep," said Van Houwelingen.

She said it will be expensive to fix.

"We don't have the money we need. This is an emergency situation and we are not funded to cover this. The impact could be very severe on tourism and the local economy of the southern shore in particular," said Van Houwelingen.

The association, a registered charity that has three paid employees and relies heavily on volunteer workers, is applying for disaster relief money.

"Our estimate right now is that it will take six months of funded cleanup to clear up the trail from Topsail to Cappahayden,." said Van Houwelingen.

The association depends on volunteers but doesn't want volunteers doing dangerous work with chainsaws.

 "We need skilled, paid workers," said Houwelingen, who added that she isn't able to estimate how much the cleanup will cost.