MANITOULIN—The Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC) presented the Northeast Town with $10,000 last week towards the municipality’s work to expand the Cup and Saucer parking lot.
“The EBC has been grateful for the opportunity to work with the Northeast Town to ensure that the iconic Cup and Saucer Hiking Trail would remain open for use of Manitoulin residents and visitors,” said EBC Director Roy Jeffery. “We have raised $6,000 in donations from hundreds of supporters who enjoyed the trail and these funds were matched by the Gosling Foundation. The EBC is now in a position to support the Northeast Town parking lot expansion with a contribution of $10,000 towards the project.”
“Over the May to October period this year a new parking lot was created (by the Northeast Town) which, almost before the gravel had settled, was filled to capacity almost every day over the summer,” Dr. Jeffery explained. “A whole new access trail was created over Conservancy land by a group of EBC volunteers. The amazing vistas from the cup (which is co-owned by Randy Noble, Meredith Chandler and the EBC) were once again accessible. When it was apparent the size of the parking lot was not adequate, new plans for an extension were made and the town completed this work in October.”
The new parking lot is double the size, accommodating up to 70 cars. The expansion of the parking lot was also a condition of the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) temporary permit for the access off Highway 540.
The Northeast Town also learned earlier this fall that the MTO will be restricting parking along Highway 540 by the Cup and Saucer entrance, 400 metres both north and south of the entrance, and posting accompanying signage.
The Northeast Town completed both the initial parking lot and the expansion utilizing town staff and equipment and covered the associated costs. The EBC’s donation will be used to help offset the cost to the municipality. As well, the EBC and Northeast Town have applied for funding from FedNor to help further develop the trail.
“Volunteers from the EBC have been fundraising and continuing to improve the trail,” said Dr. Jeffery. “The ladder has been replaced by steps and a short length of boardwalk has been built.”
Dr. Jeffery was pleased to inform the public that these changes have made the trail more easily accessible for dogs.
“As well, where the rope railing is near the top (the last rise at the cup), we have been working to make the trail more gradual so that it is easier for folks,” added Dr. Jeffery.
Dr. Jeffery said that the group is continuing to fundraise and would like to add additional trail signage and safety notices in the spring.
“We would also like to add signage at the trail head indicating the other trails on Manitoulin,” he said. “We (the EBC) are working on purchasing land for a new trail too, which is very exciting.”
“The EBC has created a network of exciting trails including 12 on the Island, which draw tourists seeking enjoyment of our land and create recreational opportunities for our residents,” said Dr. Jeffery. “The Cup and Saucer has long been our most popular. We look forward to continuing to work with the Northeast Town and other municipalities on the Island to build the type of attractive outdoor opportunities that people from all over the world hope to enjoy when they come to visit or live on Manitoulin Island.”