IAT North America Meeting held at Mabou, NS

On April 8 & 9, IAT North America held its Annual Spring Council Meeting in Mabou, Nova Scotia, a Gaelic speaking region of Cape Breton.

St. Mary's Church in Mabou, NS

The two-day event held at Duncreigan Inn was an opportunity for the U.S. and Canadian chapters to gather to discuss common issues and joint initiatives, as well as provide updates on regional and international progress.

 
Duncreigan Inn
Duncreigan Inn, Mabou on the IAT Nova Scotia trail route (click to enlarge)
 
Day One began with a welcome from IAT Nova Scotia hosts Claire MacNeil and John Calder
 
Duncreigan Inn
IAT Nova Scotia's John Calder welcoming council reps (click to enlarge)
 
Failte, a Scottish Gaelic (and Celtic Irish) term for Welcome
 
followed by chapter updates, beginning with Maine.  Don Hudson discussed a new IAT route through a proposed national forest reserve, the Pioneers of Appalachian/Caledonian Geology website series, as well as opportunities surrounding next year's ATC Biennial in Maine.
 
Don Hudson discussing IAT Maine
 
IAT New Brunswick's Poul Jorgensen discussed his chapter's new southern route that will connect with IAT Nova Scotia.  The route includes sections of the Trans Canada Trail and crosses Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark. 
 
Poul Jorgensen describing the new IAT New Brunswick route
 
IAT Quebec's Eric Chouinard gave an update on North America's first Grand Randonnee, the GRA1, and his chapter's planned extension to Perce Aspiring Geopark on the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula. 
 
Eric Chouinard discussing the new GRA1 in Quebec
 
Leo Gill of IAT Prince Edward Island discussed the success his chapter has had developing trails across the island, connecting to IAT New Brunswick across the Confederation Bridge in the north and IAT Nova Scotia via the Woods Island ferry in the south. 
 
Leo Gill announcing his retirement from Island Trails after a long career of developing and maintaining trails
 
Claire MacNeil and John Calder described potential IAT routes in Nova Scotia, from the Cape to Cape and Trans Canada Trails linking to New Brunswick and the proposed Sea Wall Trail at the northeastern end of Cape Breton Island.
 
Claire MacNeil and John Calder describing potential IAT routes in Nova Scotia
 
Paul Wylezol of IAT Newfoundland & Labrador completed the chapter updates with a presentation on the IATNL's plan to develop a UNESCO Global Geopark across the Bay of Islands Ophiolite Complex and commemorate (in 2017) the 250th Anniversary of James Cook's survey and map of Western Newfoundland, spanning the entire route of the IAT from Port aux Basques in the south to Cape Raven (near the Norse UNESCO World Heritage Site at L'Anse aux Meadows) in the north.  He also gave an update on the EU funded Drifting Apart project.
 
Paul Wylezol giving an update on the Drifting Apart project
 
After the chapter updates, representatives posed for the traditional group mugshot
 
(L-R) Front row: Eric Chouinard, Bill Duffy, Don Hudson, Michael Charles Haynes
Back row: Claire MacNeil, Cathy Gill, Leo Gill, Richard Anderson, John Calder,
David Williams, Paul Wylezol, Poul Jorgensen and Walter Anderson 
 
before heading to the Mull Cafe and Deli for a well-earned meal and refreshments.
 
Mull Café and Deli
Meal and refreshments at the Mull Cafe and Deli (click to enlarge)
 
(L-R) IAT Geologist Walter Anderson and Prince Edward Island's Leo Gill enjoying a beer and a tale
 
The evening session began with a presentation by David Williams on the planned Seawall Trail at the northeastern end of Cape Breton Island, which may become an extension of IAT Nova Scotia.
 
David Williams pointing to the planned route of the Seawall Trail
 
 
It was followed by a presentation on the Trans Canada Trail in Eastern Canada by trail guide author Michael Haynes.
 
Author Michael Haynes discussing the Trans Canada Trail
 
The last presentation of the day was given by environmentalist Norris Whiston, who gave a presentation on the ecological environment and various plant species found along the IAT Nova Scotia trail route. 
 
Environmentalist Norris Whiston identifies plant species as geologist John Calder looks on
 
Day Two of the meeting was a 'Nuts and Bolts' session reserved for common issues and projects, including website and social media, maps and guides, and sponsorship guidelines.  Nova Scotia's John Calder (who is a committee member with the Canadian Geoparks Network) closed out the meeting with a presentation on UNESCO Global Geoparks, including the planned Fundy Rim Geopark in Nova Scotia.
 
John Calder discussing UNESCO Global Geoparks
 
A special thanks goes out to Claire MacNeil, John Calder and the staff at Duncreigan Inn for for a pleasant and productive IAT North America Council Meeting in Cape Breton. 
 
(L-R) IAT Founder Richard Anderson, IAT Nova Scotia's Claire MacNeil and IAT Quebec's Eric Chouinard
 
Thanks also to guest presenters David Williams, Michael Haynes and Norris Whiston for their interesting presentations.  Good luck to you all on your various projects.
 
(L-R) Richard Anderson, Don Hudson, Walter Anderson & Eric Chouinard at start of IAT NS on Cape Breton