Northeast Town working with Cup and Saucer owners to ensure trails remain open

The parking lot at the Cup and Saucer Trail was filled to overflowing on the weekend, with cars lined up down the Bidwell Road on both sides of the entrance. photo by Michael Erskine.

MANITOULIN—The Cup and Saucer trails opened again for the season this past May long weekend, but after a number of trespassing incidents in the off season, one of the property owners was forced to consider closing it to the public permanently.

The property that the Cup and Saucer trails are accessed from, including the parking lot and portion of the trails, is owned by Casson Eadie, proprietor of Don Eadie Construction. Mr. Eadie had concerns prior to the long weekend this year after a number of individuals trespassed on his property when the trails were closed for the season.

“I had a bunch of people trespassing when the trails was closed,” Mr. Eadie told The Expositor. “I spoke to a few of them and they were really rude. I’m frustrated. The Cup and Saucer is on my property—private property. It’s a nice piece of land I could just keep to myself, but I don’t. When I close it for the season I put rocks in front of the parking lot and put up signs, but people just ignore it and use the trails anyway.”

Earlier this month the Northeast Town Fire Department, OPP and EMS were all called to the Cup and Saucer after a hiker, trespassing on the trails, fell and broke her leg. Incidents like this have made Mr. Eadie concerned about liability issues around the trail.

“People have been telling me I’m nuts for opening up the trails,” said Mr. Eadie. “They say that I’m putting my neck in a noose.”

The Manitoulin Tourism Association (MTA) has historically held liability insurance on the trails, but due to Mr. Eadie’s concerns, the Northeast Town is in conversations with the property owner.

“We have been speaking with Mr. Eadie and understand his worries around liability and the trails and are doing our best to resolve the issue,” Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin told The Expositor.

Mayor MacNevin commended Mr. Eadie and fellow Cup and Saucer landowners Randy Noble and Meredith Noble on keeping the trails open to the public.

“All these years, because of Mr. Eadie and Mr. Noble, the trails have been available to visitors and Islanders to enjoy,” the mayor said. “The public needs to know that the trail is accessible because of their generosity. It is a valuable resource to Manitoulin and people need to respect requests made by the landowners, such as not using the trail when it is closed for the season.”

Austin Hunt, mayor of the adjacent Billings Township, also commended the owners on their generosity.

“The Cup and Saucer is a remarkable attraction for Manitoulin and is our major hiking trail system,” said Mayor Hunt. “The owners of the land are very kind to allow the public to use it and it would be too bad to lose it.”

For now, the Cup and Saucer is open for the season and had a very busy first weekend. The Northeast Town will be working with Mr. Eadie in the coming weeks to help resolve any concerns he has about the trails and is hopeful that the beloved trails will remain open to the public.