This winter’s bumper crop of snow was embraced by anyone itching to strap on snowshoes and enjoy the great outdoors.
For Hike Nova Scotia, the significant amounts of snow helped lay the groundwork for a very successful winter Guided Snowshoe Hike series.
The organization partnered with 16 host organizations across the province to offer 35 guided snowshoe hikes from January until mid-March. Although some hikes were cancelled due to bad weather, participation rates ranged from eight to 37 people per event. Barlow said that on average, they welcomed 20 people to each guided snowshoe hike.
“People really like this idea of this gadget called the snowshoe.. If you can walk you can snowshoe. People really like the idea of snowshoeing and they come out in droves for it,” said Hike Nova Scotia spokeswoman and NS Trails board member Janet Barlow.
“It’s kind of cool to feel like you’re floating on the snow, and it gives you access to trails you otherwise wouldn’t have access to when you only have your own two feet and would be trying to walk in snow up to your knee or hip.”
The last guided snowshoe hike of the series was held on March 14. Barlow said feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with both participants and hosts benefitting from the experience.
“Areas like Chester or East Hants, for example, (were) getting people coming from outside their municipality because of the Hike Nova Scotia events,” she said. “Those people get to enjoy another community, check out a new trail, and maybe go back to that community afterwards. It’s good news.”
The growing interest in snowshoeing is being reflected not only through Hike Nova Scotia’s partnered events, but also via the increasing numbers of places now offering snowshoes for people to rent, buy or borrow.
“Some of the days the Hike Nova Scotia events (ran) were picture perfect days. Beautiful sun, a crisp cold, tons of snow,” Barlow said. “When you have someone experiencing that, especially for the first time, it will leave a very great impression.”
The opportunity to showcase local trails through the guided hikes is also a benefit to the volunteers who work on trails throughout the province. Barlow said many people who might not otherwise visit trails are getting out and discovering what’s in their own backyard, or in neighbouring municipalities.
“I think trails organizations should have guided hikes on a regular basis to show off the great stuff they’ve done,” she said. “People may even become inspired enough to volunteer.”
Photo above: "Parting of the Boughs" ceremony at the official opening of Founders Trail in Trenton Park. (Left to right): David Hoffman, Director Trans Canada Trail Foundation; Trenton Mayor, Glen MacKinnon, Trenton Town Councillor, Fergie MacKay; Sally O'Neill, Active Pictou County; and Wilson Cameron, NS Trails Director.
Founders Trail in Trenton park was officially opened on Valentine's Day with a “Parting of the Boughs” ceremony. This newest section of Trans Canada Trail (TCT) in Nova Scotia brings the Nova Scotia Trails Federation (NS Trails), a step closer to reaching our 2017 connection deadline. NS Trails is the provincial partner for the Trans Canada Trail in Nova Scotia and our partners and volunteers are working hard in communities like this one across the province to connect gap sections of the TCT in time for Canada's 150th birthday celebrations.
This project was particularly exciting because of the involvement of the Nova Scotia Youth Conversation Corps. “If our community trails across the province are to be sustainable into the future, we need more youth volunteers,” said Wilson Cameron, a Director with the Nova Scotia Trails Federation (NS Trails). “NS Trails invites youth and all Nova Scotians to help us connect our province to this national legacy trail connecting over 1,000 communities from coast to coast.”
So far the Trans Canada Trail has contributed more than $20,000 to greenway trail development in the park and has approved an additional $40,000 for Phase 3 of the project.
(Left to right): Dave Hoffman, Oxford & Area Trails Association and Trans Canada Trail, Trish Stewart Mayor of Oxford, Keith Hunter, Municipality of Cumberland Warden, Bill Baker Municipal Councillor, Gerry McLellan, Oxford & Area Trails Association and Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong.
(Left to right) Dave Hoffman Oxford & Area Trails Association and TCT rep, Gerry McLellan Oxford & Area Trails Association (Trail Expert), Darlene Ellis Oxford & Area Trails Association and Oxford Town Councillor and MP Scott Armstrong.
Happy trails news yesterday for Oxford & Area Trails Association volunteers and supporters! On February 12, the federal government announced $130,000 in funding via the National Trails Coalition for building a further section of the Trans Canada Trail through the town of Oxford. This trail will extend the Oxford to Wallace rails to trails line to Main Street in the town of Oxford and will include a bridge to cross River Philip.
On behalf of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation and the Oxford & Area Trails Association (OATA), David Hoffman, President of OATA, said “We are absolutely delighted to be receiving this funding which will enable us to complete the River Philip bridge and this important section of the Trail. As well as creating a 5km loop around and through the Town of Oxford for local recreational use, it is a critical connection for the Trans Canada Trail on its way to completion in time for the 150 year celebration of Canada’s Confederation in 2017. This represents the culmination of over 20 years of hard work and planning to build a route through Oxford. It will be built this year, thanks to the funding groups and in particular the contribution from the Federal Government.”