Lucy Hoblyn was on her way to work Thursday morning last week, taking her usual route down Knowlton’s Sentier Féerique, when she noticed several of the decorations and bird houses had been damaged, destroyed and strewn across the wooded area.
Hoblyn, who owns Brome Lake Books, went to Facebook, sharing images of the vandalized Fairy Trail project with the rest of the community. It took her a few minutes to conclude it had been a human act, and not mother nature or just some mischievous animals.
According to Hoblyn, there is also a lockbox containing an iPod on the trail, which plays music and provides a special ambiance for visitors. The lock was broken, but the iPod wasn’t stolen, she said, adding this is the first time in a while that the town has seen vandalism like this.
“Not for many years, I mean, you sort of wonder what sort of made them do it, whether it was anger at the current situation or just extreme boredom, as well, I mean it could be something like that,” Hoblyn said in a phone interview with The Record.
She also participated in the project. She built a few pieces that were featured along the trail. Hoblyn said she has noticed some things missing from time to time, but she always chalked it up to some children having sticky fingers, or animals getting a little too curious.
She was never bothered by that, though. This time, however, it felt different because it appears to be a senseless act of destruction. Hoblyn said that with a lack of activities due to Quebec’s health and safety measures, it’s possible the people, or person, who did this were bored.
But while most members of the community were appalled by the vandalism, Hoblyn noted that some folks were trying to stay positive. One person said to respond in kindness, which she found to be a thoughtful sentiment. And the community was also eager to fix the trail.
“It’s the magic, as I say, I walk one way most days and so many people are walking on the path, and children are looking at the magic of the path, being able to go into the woods a little bit, running around the trees and stuff like that, looking for little hidden gems,” said Hoblyn.
A small group did in fact go out to clear the mess on Thursday afternoon. Isabelle Daval, one of the people responsible for developing the Fairy Trail project, gathered a handful of helpful residents to clean up the trail. They also fixed up some of the destroyed pieces.
“We asked a few people to come with us. We were five or six [Thursday], we cleaned up and I did a few repairs in my cabin. It’s still a fairy tale and we’re going to continue the project. It’s unfortunate, and I’m looking for answers, but it’s really a shame,” said Daval.
She told The Record that the trail will remain in place until February. And she also asks the community not to focus too much on the damage done to the project. There’s no telling what the individual, or individuals, are going through right now, Daval explained.
She called it an isolated incident. According to Daval, it probably occurred after curfew, too, as the trail was completely untouched as of 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. She just wants to keep positive vibes around the trail, though, and she encourages everyone to continue using it.