Wakefield Trails, boardwalk see 4,000 people per week
Mr. Ferguson is not the first person to wonder how many, if any, use the Riverwalk trail/boardwalk from Valley Drive to Turntable Park next to The Wakefield General Store (“Build a dock, no one uses the boardwalk,” July 20 edition). Four years ago a community group asked Wakefield Trails how they could help our trail organization.
We had done some research to answer this key question and knew exactly what we needed: laser people counters. This organization gave us enough funds to buy five units. Four are installed close to the entrances of all our other trails and the fifth one we installed next to the old train bridge over the La Pêche River. And from this one we have data for three years.
Our average for each of the last three years is almost 90,000 people. During our first summer, we wanted to check the laser-counted numbers versus an actual person count. The laser undercounted by 20 per cent, due to the fact that many people walk side by side and the laser sometimes misses the second person. During the summer months, we have had as many as 4,000 persons per week. And in doing some surveys, we have found that 80 per cent of the people walking on the boardwalk are not from Wakefield Village proper. And these people bring much tourism business to our village’s merchants.
Ken Bouchard, president, Sentiers Wakefield Trails