By Renée Hartleib
With the County of Annapolis Recreation Services for the last 13 years, Brian started out as a summer student while was studying Recreation at Acadia University. In 2003, he came on full time as their Projects and Programs Assistant.
“I feel very lucky that I get to work in the community where I grew up, seeing familiar faces, and always meeting new people as well.” Brian’s goal is to ensure people have positive, enriching outdoor recreational experiences. “I love it when someone realizes how much fun recreation and the outdoors can be,” he says. “This often leads to them recreating those experiences on their own time.”
Snowshoeing certainly falls into this category for Brian. Nine years ago, he helped create the “Snowshoe Annapolis County Snowshoe Treks” and they’ve been growing ever since. This winter, they are offering seven events with five different routes, including a Sweethearts Moonlit Trek in Annapolis Royal for Valentines Day.
Guided by Brian, with his in depth knowledge of the county, the treks usually involve an element of the history of the region. Last year, a large group trekked along a trail to the Tupperville Falls.
Sheila Goldsmith, who lives in Round Hill, outside of Annapolis Royal, brought her husband and 14-year-old grandson along. “It was a beautiful walk through the woods on a looping trail with the waterfall at the half way mark.” Enormous icicles and huge glassy boulders greeted them. Even the fact that Sheila tripped a few times on her snowshoes didn’t wreck the fun! “And you can’t beat the hot cider and cookies at the end!”
Brian says that people are often drawn to the snowshoe treks for the camaraderie of it all. Others enjoy exploring new places, while still others do it for the sheer fitness element. Brian and his team offer a variety of distances: 1-2 km for family treks, with longer hikes of 10km too. And don’t let the fact that you don’t own snowshoes stop you—the County of Annapolis supplies them! Up to seventy people have participated in the past, making these events enormously successful.
For even larger groups within schools, community groups, and workplaces, the recreation group of the County of Annapolis also offers winter group activities. Two members of Brian’s team travel around the county in special vehicle filled with snowshoes, Nordic poles, and kick sleds. A special bag of tricks is pulled out for schools that include a geocaching treasure hunt. This year, there are 50 programs, and all in just 51 days!
“A lot of people go into hibernation mode in the winter,” says Brian. “But our vision is to get as many people as possible out and active and having fun.”
Don’t waste all the great snow this year. Get out there!