Skyline Trail (Cape Breton Highlands National Park)

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Skyline Trail
Skyline-Trail-ns-boardwalk.jpg
Boardwalk section of the Skyline Trail, with French Mountain on the left, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the right.
Elevation 455 m (1,493 ft)
Location Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Range Appalachian Mountains
Coordinates 46°44′31″N 60°52′52″W / 46.741985°N 60.881000°W / 46.741985; -60.881000Coordinates: 46°44′31″N 60°52′52″W / 46.741985°N 60.881000°W / 46.741985; -60.881000

The Skyline Trail is a seven-kilometre, looping, hiking trail at Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Petit Étang, Nova Scotia, Canada. It lies on the western side of the Cabot Trail, near French Mountain's summit. This trail is well known for its scenic views, but also for the 2009 fatal coyote assault on Taylor Mitchell.

It consists of a loop that at about half way leads to a boardwalk. The first half of the loop is very well maintained and virtually wheelchair accessible. The second half of the loop is an easy hiking trail over stony ground and meadows. The boardwalk at the middle of the trail yields majestic views of the Cabot Trail and the ocean. There are multiple interpretive panels along the trail. Moose have been spotted by hiker along this trail numerous times. Northern gannets fly over this trail's coast near while minke whales, harbour seals, humpback whales, harp seals, fin whales, white-sided dolphins, sei whales, harbour porpoises, grey seals, and pilot whales swim offshore.

Taylor Mitchell coyote attack[edit]

On October 27, 2009, coyotes attacked and fatally injured Canadian country folk singer Taylor Mitchell when she went a short distance and walked down the access road returning to her car in order to prepare for her next concert.[1][2] This serious event occurred six minutes after one of the hikers photographed the two coyotes. Taylor's wounded body was taken to Sacred Heart Community Health Centre in Chéticamp and then airlifted by a helicopter ambulance to Halifax's Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, where she died after midnight. This park's resource conservation supervisor, Erich Muntz and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resource's Wildlife Resources manager, Michael O'Brien thought the predatory animal suspect was a black bear when both of them heard about Taylor's incident at first, but they soon found out it was a pair of coyotes. An earlier coyote attack took place on that same trail on July 14, 2003, when an eighteen-year-old American girl was bitten on the arm while she was hiking with her parents.[3]

Aftermath[edit]

Three months after Taylor's death, the park's managers posted warning signs about confronting coyotes at the entrance of all hiking trails for every visitor's safety.[4] A coyote bit a sixteen-year-old girl on the top of her head twice on August 9, 2010. She was camping with her parents on the eastern end of the park in Ingonish.[5] The teenage girl was taken to a hospital for stitches and treatment to prevent any rabies.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aulakh, Raveena (29 October 2009). "FATAL COYOTE ATTACK: Tragic end for budding music star". The Toronto Star. Toronto. p. A3. Archived from the original on 2013-01-10. 
  2. ^ King, Nancy (29 October 2009). "So-called coywolf larger". Cape Breton Post. Sydney, Nova Scotia. p. A1. 
  3. ^ "Coyotes kill teen folk singer in Cape Breton park". 
  4. ^ "Park coyote attack prompts warnings". 
  5. ^ "Teenage girl attacked by coyote as she slept in Cape Breton - Toronto Star". 
  6. ^ "Coyote in Nova Scotia attacks sleeping girl, bites her head".