Central Cape Breton Community Ventures in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Trails Federation and Trans Canada Trail announced the official opening of the Iona Port as an access point to The Great Trail’s Bras d’Or Lake Water Route in June, 2017.
“We are very excited to be part of this new opportunity for the Bras d’Or Lake to embrace”, says Anne Marie MacNeil, chair of the CCBCV. “The lake and surrounding landscape is beautiful in all four seasons, and is a first-class destination for paddlers. We have been acknowledging World Oceans Day for the last three years, which incorporates beauty, science and culture, and this water route and access point enhances our vision for the area.”
The project was made possible by the contributions of local volunteers and was partially funded by Trans Canada Trail, the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Municipality of the County of Victoria and a $1 million donation from RBC to support the development of The Great Trail’s three signature paddling routes, including the 377-kilometre Bras d’Or Lake Water Route, the 40-kilometre Sea to Sky Marine Trail in B.C. and the 100-kilometre Chief Whitecap Waterway in Saskatchewan.
“Beyond being a great way to experience the world-renowned wonder of the Bras d’Or Lakes, Iona’s water access point is another tremendous milestone for The Great Trail in Nova Scotia,” says Blaise MacEachern, chair of the Nova Scotia Trans Canada Trail committee. “It continues to amaze me how enthusiastic and committed our volunteer groups are and we’re all beyond excited to celebrate 100 per cent connection later this summer.”
The new access point provides paddlers with a launch area, washrooms, changing facilities, and a paddling gear storage area. Paddlers will launch into the Barra Strait, a natural channel that connects the “big lake” section of the Bras d’Or Lake to the northern basin.