Nova Scotia

2 more recreational trails close in CBRM due to coronavirus

The recreational associations that operate the Baille Ard Trail in Sydney, N.S., and the Coxheath Hills Wilderness Trail outside Sydney have closed the paths temporarily due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Baille Ard and Coxheath Hills trails closed temporarily because snow makes social distancing difficult

Laurie Murcheson, left, and Lisa Patterson of the Coxheath Hills Wilderness Recreation Association say the trail is closed for now because the snow makes social distancing difficult. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

The list of trails where people can go for a walk in Cape Breton Regional Municipality just got smaller.

Provincial and municipal parks and trails are closed under the provincial state of emergency and now two recreational associations have closed the Baille Ard Trail in Sydney and the Coxheath Hills Wilderness Trail outside Sydney.

Laurie Murcheson, a director with the Coxheath Hills Wilderness Recreation Association, said there is too much snow on the paths and in the woods, which is making it difficult for users to remain two metres apart.

"We had, as an association, pretty significant concerns about our ability to follow directives from both the federal and provincial government with regard to social or physical distancing," he said.

The closure is only temporary, Murcheson said.

The Baille Ard walking trails in Sydney are also closed temporarily due to the snow. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

Coxheath Hills secretary Lisa Patterson said it's unclear when the trails could reopen.

"I think it's something we'd have to assess once the snow melts and see how much room there is for people to get by each other," she said.

Patterson also said most users have to drive to get to the Coxheath trail and that goes against the provincial directive for people to stay home as much as possible.

No one from the Baille Ard Trail Recreation Association was available for comment on Thursday.

However, in a Facebook post jointly announcing the trail closures, group administrator Wayne McKay said the decision is in line with the new provincial rules.

"Remember that, at this time, social-distancing is not merely a social nicety, it is a mandated necessity," he said.

CBRM maintains a coronavirus page on its website with a variety of information for residents and businesses, including a list of walking tracks and paths that are open to the public, as long as social distance is maintained.

As of Thursday, there were 73 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the province.



Tom Ayers


Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for 36 years. He has spent half of them covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at

With files from Brent Kelloway