ST. STEPHEN (GNB) – The provincial government has recognized the International East Coast Greenway Trail as one of the 11 Signature Trails highlighted in the recently announced Trails Action Plan.

“The provincial government recognizes the need and importance of trails to economic development, particularly in rural areas,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister John Ames. “The province’s trails system, like its parks, have a unique role to play in the Tourism Growth Strategy, in that robust, accessible, parks and trail systems enrich the lives of New Brunswickers by not only bringing tourism spending into the province, but by also cultivating a culture of wellness, activeness and health in the province.”

Signature Trails are an important part of the Trails Action Plan, a $15.78-million investment in the province’s trails network. Eleven Signature Trails have been designated for development, from signage upgrades to infrastructure to long-term management plans.

Once completed, the International East Coast Greenway Trail between St. Stephen and Saint John will connect the 24,000-kilometre Trans Canada Trail to the 4,800-kilometre East Coast Greenway in the United States.

Signature Trails are major regional tourism attractions. They encompass distinctive landscapes and vistas, from the Appalachian Mountain Range and Acadian forests to city waterfronts and coastlines. The Trails Action Plan is intended to elevate the network of over 20,000 kilometres of developed trails by improving accessibility, safety and overall user experience.

The New Brunswick Tourism Growth Strategy will invest $100 million in tourism over the next eight years, with a goal of growing tourism-related GDP to $2 billion by 2025. Tourism visitor spending is estimated at $1.3 billion, making it the third-largest service sector in the province.