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Inside Front Cover - The Cabot Trail; A Political Story

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/1/1 (1339 reads)
 

The Cabot Trail: A Political Story As we commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Cabot Trail, it is valuable to see how com? plex a story there is yet to be told. The trail (and the Cape Breton Highlands National Park) continue to have pro? found social, economic and en? vironmental impact • homes have been lost and are still mourned, and landscape of in? calculable value has been pre? served; non-ordinary work op? portunities have developed as well as the social distortions created by seasonal work; em? phasis on "heritage" has meant that some traditions have been preserved and some neglected, and some have even been created, in the de? sire to offer the visitor some? thing both entertaining and au? thentic • not always reconcilable desires. The following is just one docu? ment in the very complex sto ry; specifically, it is about which political party should get credit for the mixed blessings of the Cabot Trail. We are told in the text that it was written in 1952 by A. S. MacMillan, Minister of the De partment of Highways under Premier George Murray. TtM title is MacMillan's. For easier reading, we have added some commas and paragraphing. A Dream Come True story of the Development of Tourist Industry in Northern Inverness and Victoria Counties In 1920 when I became head of the Depart? ment of Highways, I regarded as a duty to as far as possible to investigate the con? ditions of all roads in every section of the Province. In this connection I visited Cape Breton and made a special trip to the above men? tioned places where reports reaching me were alarming. My first visit to the above places was in the summer of 1921 where by motor car I travelled over the road from Baddeck to Cape North via Englishtown, North Shore, Breton Cove and over "Smoky," South Ingonish. North Ingonish, Neils Har? bour, Cape North, Dingwall, Bay St. Law? rence, Capstick and Meat Cove. Needless to say the roads were in an almost hazardous condition, not fit for motor travel and indeed dangerous for team travel. However, the grandeur of the scenery was al? most beyond description of which I refer to in a later part of this story. We immediate? ly started improvements on the roads which in many places could only be described as trails. We continued improvements each year as fast as money became available. During the following years I had repeated requests for something to be done to the road conditions in Northern Inverness County; more particularly, the Pleasant Bay district where there was no road com? munication with the outside world. The then members for Inverness County, Donald MacLellan and John Bournoit respectively, were pressing me continuously to visit Pleasant Bay and look into the situation. In the summer of 1924 I decided to visit Pleasant Bay to look into the possibility of giving them some kind of a road or out? let. In August of 1924 I went by motor car to Cheticamp and got a team to take me to Cap Rouge where I chartered a motor boat and proceeded to Pleasant Bay and by the way, almost lost my life in a storm. I spent the night at the Macintosh home and Mr. Macintosh got a number of the res? idents together to meet me and I listened to their tale of woe, of their being shut in for months without any outlet, no doc? tor, mail only occasionally by dog team, no provision for getting a doctor unless he was brave enough to face 25 miles on foot over a trail that was not passable for even horseback, people dying without any medical attention. After listening to their stories I was indeed sympathetic but could make no promises. The next morning I investigated the situa? tion between Pleasant Bay and Cape North where there was a trail passable only in Summer for a sure-footed horse, but im- The Cabot Trail Story Continues on Page 66
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