Carbonear’s Slide Paths

A local slide path located behind Columbus Drive, that cuts through Pike’s Pond, Barry’s Pond, and Job’s Pond. Map by Autumn Lambert and Colby Sharpe, 2020.
A local slide path located behind Columbus Drive, that cuts through Pike’s Pond, Barry’s Pond, and Job’s Pond. Map by Autumn Lambert and Colby Sharpe, 2020.

This summer, Green Team members Autumn Lambert and Colby Sharpe mapped the paths and trails of Carbonear. They also collected stories about the paths histories and what their uses. In this post, Autumn writes about Carbonear’s Slide Paths.

What are “Slide Paths”?

Slide paths are historical paths that people used to get around and move items, since roads weren’t common at the time. Slide paths were mostly used to collect firewood, therefore they were mostly used during the winter season, while the ponds were frozen over.

Since these paths were usually long and rough, people would sometimes have to leave the night before to get back the following night with their wood or other items. Since most slide paths ran beside nearby ponds, to save time and energy, people would often take their sleds right across the frozen ponds that ran beside the paths. Slide paths in the vicinity of ponds, especially the paths between these ponds, were called pinches, and the idea was to take the shortest route from one pond to the next.

Arrows indicate “pinches” on the slide paths. Map by Autumn Lambert and Colby Sharpe, 2020.

The picture located above is a local slide path in Carbonear that has two entrances either at English Hill, or Chapel Hill and would intersect Pike’s Pond at the east end and the southeast end. Both paths would then proceed over Pike’s Pond and then connect and proceed over the hill to Barry’s Pond. From this point, the path would go overland south of Job’s Pond and then to Victoria Long Pond and up the country. The path from Pike’s Pond to Barry’s Pond is known as “Pike’s Pinch”.

Since everybody would use the same slide path, over the years the ground below was worn down, and on the paths there is still evidence of its prior uses. On the path between Barry’s Pond and Victoria Long Pond, and around other areas like Job’s Pond Brook, the rocks in the area are worn smooth as a result of the iron runners on the bottoms of peoples sleds. Although these slide paths haven’t been used in 50 years or more, the paths and pinches are still visible today. 

Story and information was provided to the Carbonear Green Team by local resident Duncan Howell.

Learn more about the Carbonear story mapping project on the Town of Carbonear website. You can also check out the Green Team program here. Follow Conservation Corps NL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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