HEATHER-LYNN’S HABITAT: Joe’s River trail blocked
ONE OF THE LAST remaining pieces of the Old Train Line might soon be a no-go for hikers.
Investigations by Heather-Lynn’s Habitat revealed that parts of the old line in Joe’s River, St Joseph, have been blocked, and the association charged with clearing the island’s trails has expressed concern about what this could mean for the hugely popular Barbados National Trust’s annual Great Train Hike.
The last train stopped running in Barbados in 1937, but some pieces of the tracks, as well as concrete works associated with train stops, remain along the East Coast.
Regular hiker Jenny Gonsalves, who drew her concerns to Heather-Lynn’s Habitat, said she noticed that the trail that would lead down to the beach, through from Joe’s River, was blocked a few weeks ago.
“Coming through there we noticed that [certain people] have taken it upon themselves to start blocking the path that used to lead down on to the beach or from the beach up to Edgewater,” she said.
“So once upon a time you have these little steps that went down under the almond and sea grape trees and then you would just come out on the rocks and you would clamber down and you would be on the beach.”
Gonsalves said one entrance to the beach had been barricaded with pieces of bamboo; another with concrete, rocks and shards of broken glass, while limestone rocks had been placed in the river.
“It looks like the person has narrowed up the mouth of Joe’s River from under the bridge,” she said, adding it looked as if the person was intent on blocking the path that led to Joe’s River.
“But he shouldn’t really be able to do that because that is part of the train line and that belongs to the Crown,” she said.
Gonsalves added that as a hiker she was very concerned with trails and the environment.
She also said members of the Cattlewash, St Joseph, community were so incensed that they had formed a committee to come up with some kind of action.
In addition, hikers and nature lovers had expressed an interest in lending their support.
Her fear was that the action was a prelude to the construction of villas in the area, since the Edgewater Hotel had been sold to overseas interests.
President of the Barbados Hiking Association, Sandra Nurse, said she too had been alerted to the situation but did not have all the details.
“We were doing some preliminary investigations into it. We are just looking into it because as outsiders we can’t do anything officially as such but maybe just lobby,” she said.
Nurse added that the blocking of the area would affect the group’s staging of next year’s Great Train Hike but went far beyond that.
“Any time a trail is blocked we definitely have a concern because we are interested in maintaining trails and keeping trails open,” she said.
The New Edgewater Hotel closed in 2012 and was sold in 2015 for $2.2 million dollars. The buyers were supposedly a company operating in the Bahamas. The more than four acre property includes woodlands, rivers and trails. Efforts to find a local contact for a comment were unsuccessful.