38 Trail – The Upside
38 Trail – Wood Harvesting
By Sherri Alexander
We have been traveling the 38 Trail from Gallants for many years, it has been 24 years for myself, but for my husband Francis, it has been 41 years. My husband traveled to the cabin with his father & uncles for most of his life and he is very familiar with this country. But recently, the landscape of this area really changed, our initial reaction was shock but now that we see the benefit of the wood harvesting, we’re okay with it.
We have lots of fond memories traveling through 38 Trail. It was not your straightforward trail; each time was very challenging to say the least. The 15km old wood harvest road from the past that has fully grown in with an over mature forest, this road we took to our cabin was full of obstacles, twist & turns, ups & downs with rocky hills, large mud holes, some fallen trees, lots of corduroy (rough) road, and no culverts or bridges that were safe to pass. Despite the challenges 38 Trail was a very beautiful trail to travel…and definitely one of the gems of the NLSF trail network.
Well the time has come and it’s been 60 – 70 years since the wood was last cut in this area, it was time, time for a change, a big change our beautiful 38 Trail that was used by side by side, quads and dirt bikes in the summer/fall and snowmobiles in the winter is now gone, but we have something different in return. Road construction and logging operations started in 2017, roads are being built everywhere to gain access to more forest, now we are seeing the devastating results, but we are trying to see past that and see some of the benefits. At first like most people we were initially shocked on how fast this was progressing, but now, we as cabin owners are trying to find some positive factors of the wood being cut around this area. We will hope to have better moose hunting areas, better berry picking grounds, fishing in places we never knew that there were ponds, and the best of all “SNOWMOBILING”, so many more areas to discover and explore in all the new cut overs. What fun it’s going to be, we can’t wait to check out the new spots on snowmobile. We now can see the open country and see what is out there, it will take a few years for the new growth to appear but hopefully fingers crossed it won’t be too long before we have some trees once again. It still has its beauty but in a different way.
The newly constructed 14km road goes right to our cabin, it is unbelievable the clear-cut access. Before the new road was constructed, from the time we left our home – 35 min drive to Gallants from Stephenville, then we would have to tie everything down to our quad / sxs it would take 1-1.5 hrs plus to get to our cabin using the old 38 Trail and then we would have to unpack the worst; mud covered gear. All together it would take us 2 hrs plus to get to our cabin. Today with the new road we can drive to our cabin in our truck, we throw everything aboard, drive to Gallants and it literally takes 17 mins for us to travel on the new road. So, 47 mins is what it takes now to leave home and get to our cabin – better than 2 plus hrs and no mess. We can go to our cabin almost anytime we want in a short time, people will be traveling these roads now as it is very easily accessible, hopefully this will be good to prevent theft and vandalism, I guess time will tell.
We are hoping in a few years we will see the new forest begin to grow, things will start looking better, we will start seeing more wildlife and maybe a few more cabins being built. Everyone has their own opinion on the wood harvesting in this area, but we are trying to be positive about it all and make the best of it, it will not stop or hinder our passion we have for our cabin life and we will continue to travel that road 38 Trail to our cabin and enjoy all the beauty that nature has to offer no matter what.
Sherri Alexander is an active all-season outdoor enthusiast. Sherri and her family live in Stephenville (NL) where they all enjoy what the beauty of Western Newfoundland has to offer.