Norris Whiston Receives Summit Award

Norris Whiston (centre), receives the Summit Award from Deb Ryan, Hike NS Past President (left) and Vince Forrestall, Hike NS Vice President (right).

Hike NS Summit Award
June 23, 2018
~ Norris Whiston ~

Norris Whiston was presented with a Summit Award at the Hike NS Annual General Meeting in Truro on June 23. The Summit Award recognizes outstanding leadership and commitment to the growth and development of hiking in Nova Scotia. Norris is a long-time board member of Hike NS and has been involved with the Cobequid Eco-Trails Society. His passion for hiking, nature and history has contributed greatly to the development of trails in Colchester County.

Norris was one of those folk that attended the very first Hike NS meeting held in Truro and shortly thereafter joined the board of Hike NS over 10 years ago. After retiring in 2008 his interest in hiking has not wavered and he has been involved locally, regionally and provincially in supporting and advocating change to create more hiking trails, linking people to our history and nature in creating new opportunities in Colchester County and beyond.

He attended one of the first international (International Appalachian Trail (IAT) meeting held in Iona, Cape Breton, supported efforts and connected people in the concept of a Cape to Cape Trail, worked on the Hike NS  board and has been involved with the Cobequid Eco-Trails Society (CE-TS).

Norris has a passion for the outdoors and nature and feels that the best way to connect more people to nature is through the development of hiking trails and education.

Norris is a founding member and was instrumental in the creation of the Cobequid Eco -Trails Society (CE-TS). He has been an active member and has been working collaboratively with CE-TS board volunteers to make a difference in creating, promoting, advocating for the protection of hiking trails in Colchester County for over 10 years.

He chaired the committee that built the Earltown Trails that would lead to a network of trails in the region. He researched the region including local historic trails, local landowner’s folklore and genealogy that existed in the area so that the group could shape, define, design and promote interesting trails.

Overall there were three trails built in the area that would include 35 km of hiking trail and he created a book on the background and history of each of the trails.

Rogart was the first trail build of the CE-TS group in 2008 (80 percent built by volunteers) which involved negotiations with five landowners. Norris spent many hours coordinating trail builds and worked with many volunteers keeping track of the hours spent on the trail builds, motivating people to come out and participate through his email journals and interesting tidbits. He was the glue that kept the team together.

He worked alongside volunteers and trail builders designing, flagging and building trails with Macleod’s and Pulaski’s and welcoming people back to his house for a social whenever possible. “Maggie the Hiker Dog” went on more trail builds than many volunteers and many enjoyed the interesting stories of Maggie’s exploits on the trails.

He worked on Earltown Lakes and Portage Trails with three private landowners  to create agreements to allow the connection to the Gully Lake Wilderness Area. Like many other volunteers, he understands the long and tedious process of building trail that includes planning, researching, searching for new funding opportunities, working with private landowners, negotiating with land owners for agreements, creating the designs, attending open houses and public processes, working through the DOE many steps for trail development, not to mention other regulations.

Although we are recognizing Norris’s hiking and trail achievements, Norris has written over 50 books and brought that passion to the landscapes of Colchester County, to the forests and to the pathways.

He took a course on how to identify mosses, lichens and such. He has taken over 5000 photos and categorized them to benefit the community of Colchester. Those inventoried photos include fungus, trees, mosses, grasses, lichens, vascular plants and many others too numerous to mention.

The information he researched was used in the creation of interpretative signs and historic information on native culture including the naming of the Sandy Cope Trail and Meguma Falls.

Some of those books include:

  • “Hardwood, Scrubs and Nature’s Dynamics of Maritimes and Northern New England”…31 pages and growing.
  • “Cobequid Mountain Field Guide to Ferns, Club Mosses, Mosses and Lichens”
  • “History of Gully Lake to Nutby Mountain Hiking Trails”…106 page book
  • “Climate Readings of Carbon, Climate, and Forests”… over 600 pages

Norris wants to remind us that we are just not just hiking we are walking through time and nature so we need to stop reflect on the beauty and look and understand our surroundings. Further and just as important in all of this, we need to stop the clear cutting and stop the soil degradation.

In all the research, there is one giant point that he raises: we are depleting the soils of nutrients that can never be replaced. What started as a project to promote hiking and trail building has taken on a greater need in getting people to understand the devastating effects of clear cutting on the soil.

We may ask ourselves why this is important and the simple answer is the need to protect our forests for biodiversity and for our planet.

Norris brings these issues to the board’s attention as we all need to be advocates for the conditions of our forests and he does this through his research, book creations and his Putcha Kutchas presentations at our Hiking Summits.

He says he might get carried away at times, however he is so committed to bringing nature and history of the region alive to the average person.  In doing so he has developed many friendships far and wide due to his passion and interest in the natural environment and hiking.

So from being a runner, a hiking leader, a trail builder, an advocate of the forests and the environment and an educator, he is committed to it all!  From simple flora and fauna explanations to the trips he has lead to the top of Nutby Mountain, Norris has done it all with passion and zeal!

It is for all of these reasons that Hike NS is pleased to present Norris Whiston with the Hike NS Summit Award.

Congratulations Norris!


Lyme Disease Prevention for Nova Scotians

Information, References, Resources and links to other sites

By Rob Murray

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ​ Hike Nova Scotia.

Prevention is essential and an understanding of the biology of blacklegged Ixodes ticks will help. Ticks can be infectious at any stage but they are more likely to be encountered in the damp cool weather of very early spring or late fall. They can be active down to 4°C. Ticks do not like to be dried out and are unlikely to be found in the center of paths and trails. Birds can also disperse ticks so Canadians can be at increased risk in new areas where they have not been commonly found in the past. There are many pro-active steps that can be taken at the local level by individuals and municipalities.

No ticks are good ticks. Approximately 20% of the blacklegged ticks are vectors for serious diseases like Lyme, Bartonella, Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis while only 1% to 4% of the larger dog ticks carry the Powassan virus.  There is no known treatment for this virus and it can render the patient unconscious in as little as 15 minutes. Dressing appropriately with light coloured clothing with long sleeves and pants tucked into socks is key. Even rubber boots can help. Several people have picked up ticks while riding on sit-on mowers.

Tick warnings and trail signage are municipal responsibilities. Dog owners generally know where the hot spots are located.


Most things that people suggest as repellents don’t work on ticks. The best seems to be Natrapel lemon-eucalyptus available from and a few pharmacies. Products containing 30% Deet don’t seem to work as well or last as long.—74ml-Pump?org_text=Natrapel  A student at the Mount Allison Tick Lab has been testing repellents and this recommendation comes from unpublished results.


Permethrin is an insecticide available worldwide for protection against tick bites except in Canada. The commercial product is sold at a 0.5% strength and lasts for up to 6 weeks or 6 washes on clothing and footwear. I have found 0.25% permethrin sprays available from all garden centres, Canadian Tire, Home Hardware and the Home Depot and it should do the same thing. max.1000464192.html A light spray on the clothing and footwear is allowed to dry and should do the trick. It doesn’t work on our skin, as skin oils will neutralize it within 20 minutes. The wet spray can injure cats and it should not be used near fish or pollinators like bees.

Information on the efficacy of permethrin and prevention of Lyme in Nova Scotia:

Tick Tubes:

Tick tubes are another use for the permethrin spray. Dryer lint or cotton wool can be sprayed with the permethrin and packed into toilet paper tubes. These are placed around the property, under the building, in woodpiles etc. where the rodents will collect the treated lint for their nests and this will kill the ticks at their source.

Dogs:  Dogs can get Lyme disease, but with treatment shake it off and build up resistance over time.  People don’t build up resistance and can be re-infected. Veterinarians should be consulted as vaccines and medicines are available.  Dogs should be on a leash and kept on the paths or trails in tick season.

Cats:  Outdoor cats should wear a collar. Check with your vet because now other medications are available. Cats are resistant to tick borne infections, feed on rodents and can deliver ticks to the owner and homes.  The collar recommended by many veterinarians is: by Bayer.

Other Measures:

Prompt, complete removal of ticks (if bitten) is very important. Not all ticks are infectious and generally it takes ticks time to attach and feed before they can infect a person. Tick checks and showering can help reduce the chance of infection.

Avoiding tall wet grass and undergrowth is a good idea. Cutting back the brush along pathways is a good measure to take as shrubs, shade and tall grass encourage ticks. Removing animal attractants like bird feeders will help.

To kill ticks drop them in alcohol.  If ticks are on clothing place the clothing in a dryer for 20-30 minutes before washing. –see instructions ‘CanLyme Prevention’.

References and Links to Articles on Prevention:

Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation:

NS Lyme disease Prevention and Control:  The Lyme risk map can be printed as a poster. In addition there are links to print pamphlets and an additional poster on the column to the right.

Protection against Lyme disease in Nova Scotia:

Protecting outdoor workers from tick bites and Lyme disease:

Landscape Tricks to Reduce Ticks:

Government of Canada:

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS):

Tick Management Handbook, Connecticut, pdf.

Tick Encounter Resource Center, University of Rhode Island/ prevention
and eliminate tick habitat:

Signs: Tick Habitat Warning Signs: AND

You Tube Videos

CanLyme videos:

Tick Talk; children’s:

How to contact the author:

Rob Murray (DDS ret’d)
Lunenburg, NS
Tel.:  902-634-8542

Board member Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (


Hiking Summit Features Cape Breton Trails

Hiking Summit in Ingonish a celebration of hiking culture in NS

About 250 people with an interest in hiking, walking and snowshoeing, will converge on Ingonish from May 11 to 13, 2018 for the seventh annual Nova Scotia Hiking Summit. Hosted by Hike NS along with Naturally Active Victoria County, Parks Canada and the Keltic Lodge at the Highlands, the Summit is a celebration of Nova Scotia’s hiking culture, and includes sharing best practices, stories and networking. Attendees include avid hikers, hiking clubs, trail groups, provincial government, municipalities and others.

Presenting sponsor is The Trail Shop and Platinum sponsor is Victoria County. Gold sponsors are Parks Canada and Destination Cape Breton. Silver sponsors are Cape Breton University – Sport and Physical Activity Leadership; the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage; Clif Bar, and Big Spruce Brewing. Bronze sponsor is the Ingonish Development Society.

Quotes:Franey - 1

“Cape Breton is seen as a hiking Mecca and we’re incredibly excited to have so many people come out to talk about hiking and trails and then actually get out onto those beautiful trails,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “We were pleasantly surprised to have the Summit sell out in just one month and we’ve got a long waiting list.” The Summit is also a great to launch Destination Cape Breton’s new #HikeCapeBreton initiative.

Event details:Franey - 2

Date: Friday May 11, Saturday May 12 & Sunday, May 13, 2018
Location: Keltic Lodge at the Highlands, Ingonish
Time: 12 pm on May 11 to 5:30 pm on May 13

Fast Facts:

The Summit includes:

  • Keynote David Miller, author of AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and The A.T. Guide
  • MCs Chris Surette and Jan-Sebastian LaPierre from A for Adventure
  • A smudging and drumming ceremony to open the Summit
  • A new kids’ program
  • Hikes featuring the gorgeous scenery of the Cape Breton Highlands
  • Interesting sessions, skills workshops and Pecha Kucha presentations
  • Friday night reception and Saturday night supper with keynote speaker
  • Hike Nova Scotia’s Summit Awards
  • Silent auction and displays
  • Songs and stories around the campfire

The program and other details are found at


Keynote David Miller is available for phone interviews leading up to the Summit as are representatives from our various co-hosts and partners. See the contact information below to arrange interviews.


Find photos on Facebook or Instagram or use some of the photos on this page.

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Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 717-4408


NS Hiking Summit

Hike Nova Scotia invites individuals and groups with an interest in hiking, walking and snowshoeing to the seventh annual Nova Scotia Hiking Summit from Friday, May 11 to Sunday, May 13 in Ingonish at the Keltic Lodge. The summit is a celebration of hiking culture and includes best practices, stories, networking opportunities, hikes and a new family / kids’ program. It is hosted by Hike NS, Naturally Active Victoria County, Parks Canada and the Keltic Lodge at the Highlands. Presenting sponsor is The Trail Shop, Platinum sponsor is Victoria County, Gold sponsors are Parks Canada and Destination Cape Breton, Silver sponsors are the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and Big Spruce Brewing and Bronze sponsor is the Ingonish Development Society. The guys from A for Adventure will be our MCs and the keynote speaker is David Miller, author of AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and The A.T. Guide.

There is limited space, so please register early to secure your spot. Registration is $45 for paid Hike NS members, $55 for non-members and $35 for children, youth and students. With the new family / kids’ program this year, families are invited to attend (some childcare provided). Registration includes: access to information sessions, hike events and socials along with Saturday and Sunday lunches. There are optional breakfasts and a Saturday supper at additional cost. Registration does not include accommodation or other meals – you must arrange them on your own. The deadline to register is May 6. Learn more and register online here.

Snowshoeing Grows with Hike Series

Now that winter is upon us, rather than hibernate indoors, Hike NS says to get out and try snowshoeing. You’ll be in good company, since everyone seems to be trying it. Hike Nova Scotia and its partners across the province are offering the 2018 Winter Guided Snowshoe Hike Series from January to March.


“Snowshoeing is probably one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities in our province,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “We’ve had the highest number of events registered across the province this season, even surpassing our fall hike series. Last year, people came out in droves.”

Event Details

Date: January 13 to March 17, 2018

Location: The full schedule with registration details and directions is found at Hikes are led by local folks and participants qualify to win trail prizes. Hikes are free or low-cost and pre-registration is required​ unless otherwise indicated. Over 65 hikes are listed by date and region. Hikes include the following regions:

  • Cape Breton (Cape Breton Island)
  • Highland (Guysborough County, Antigonish County, Pictou County)
  • Fundy (Municipality of East Hants, Cumberland County, Colchester County)
  • Annapolis Valley (Municipalities of Hants West and Clare, Counties of Digby, Annapolis and Kings)
  • South Shore (Counties of Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg and District of Argyle)
  • Halifax (Halifax Regional Municipality)

Fast Facts

  • Hike NS and 38 host organizations partnered up to offer the guided snowshoeing series in January, February and March.
  • Over 65 snowshoe hikes are scheduled province-wide.
  • Hikes are led by local folks and participants qualify to win trail prizes. Hikes are free or low-cost and pre-registration is required​ unless otherwise indicated.
  • Hike NS thanks its local partners for organizing the hikes on the ground as well as Goose Lane Editions and the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage for their support.
  • Wondering where to find snowshoes? Not to worry, since you can easily find snowshoes to borrow, rent or buy using Hike NS’s online guide, with 75 listings. A growing number of municipalities, businesses and organizations are buying sets of snowshoes to lend or rent. There are at least 55 venues listed where you can borrow them for free.
  • Hike NS encourages and promotes a growing hiking culture throughout the province, striving to be the voice for those who hike, walk and snowshoe.


Find photos on Facebook  or Instagram or use some of the photos on this page.

Social Media

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Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia

(902) 932-6902




Share the Hiking Love on Giving Tuesday: Nov. 28

Why do you love hiking? Is it the fresh air, the calm feeling of green or the heart-pumping rush of reaching a summit for a great view? Share the Hiking Love: On @GivingTuesdayCa (@NSGives) – November 28 – share a photo of you on an NS trail on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and then donate to Hike NS! Don’t forget to tag Hike NS when you post: #HikeNS @HikeNS @hikenovascotia. Check out our donation page



Hiking for the Holidays Online Auction

Nov. 18-Dec. 3HikingForTheHolidaysAuctionGraphic2017

Support the Hike NS Hiking for the Holidays Online Auction. Shop once and give twice: once to your loved ones and once to Hike NS. Do your holiday shopping online with us and spend more time hiking, less time shopping. From big gifts to stocking stuffers, we’ve got presents that hikers will love. Special thanks to The Trail Shop for donating most of the items in the auction. Bidding opens Nov. 18 and ends on Dec. 3. View items here

Fall Hikes, Events & Courses

Fall is a busy time and this season Hike NS has over 60 hikes, events and courses available. Check them out!


Hike NS Fall Guided Hike Series 2017

Hike Nova Scotia and 28 host organizations across the province have partnered up to offer the 2017 Fall Guided Hike Series from September to November. There are 50 hikes led by local folks and participants qualify to win “trail prizes.” Hikes are free and Continue reading “Fall Hikes, Events & Courses”

Slate of 2017-18 Hike NS Courses & Workshops Released

Hike NS’s schedule of courses and workshops across Nova Scotia is now available for 2017-18. Beginning in June through to February, they range from how to share nature with children to how to be a hike leader to navigation. 

Continue reading “Slate of 2017-18 Hike NS Courses & Workshops Released”