Guided Hikes Get You on the Trail

Fall is arguably the most beautiful time to hike in Nova Scotia. Hike Nova Scotia and 14 host organizations across the province have partnered up to offer the 2016 Fall Guided Hike Series in September, October and November. There are 21 hikes led by local folks and participants qualify to win “trail prizes.” Most hikes are free unless otherwise indicated in the schedule.

Quotes:

“There are hikes in different parts of the province, of varying lengths and difficulty levels,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “So there’s really something for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a newbie.”

Fast Facts:

  • Hike Nova Scotia and 14 host organizations across the province have partnered up to offer the 2016 Fall Guided Hike series.
  • There are 21 hikes led by local folks.
  • The series runs from September 10 to November 5.
  • Most hikes are free unless otherwise indicated in the schedule.
  • Hikes take place in areas across mainland Nova Scotia. For hikes in Cape Breton, see the Hike the Highlands Festival line up at www.hikethehighlands.com.
  • The full list of events – including hike dates, times, registration details and directions – is found at www.hikenovascotia.ca. Hikes are listed by date or by region: Halifax, South Shore, Valley, Fundy.
  • Participants qualify to win “trail prizes.”
  • The hikes are meant to help get more people outside and active on our trails.
  • Hike NS thanks its partners for organizing the hikes on the ground, Goose Lane Editions for its prize donations and the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage for its support.
  • Hike NS encourages and promotes hiking, walking and snowshoeing throughout Nova Scotia.
  • Membership in Hike NS means keeping up-to-date on the latest hiking news and having a say in its many projects.
  • Hike NS is supported by the Province of Nova Scotia.

Photos:

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Contact:

Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 717-4408
Email info@hikenovascotia.ca

Leave No Trace Summer Workshops

LNTWorkshops-2015-graphicLeave No Trace Canada has partnered with Hike Nova Scotia to promote Leave No Trace Principles and host a Summer Educator, who will help raise awareness about Leave No Trace Principles through delivering workshops to groups in Halifax and beyond. Workshops will be offered from mid-July to mid-August, 2015. Tailored for groups of various ages and interests, workshops will cover the seven Leave No Trace Principles that encourage low-impact use of our natural environment. A small fee or honourarium may be required depending upon workshop location and number of participants.
To learn more and book your workshop, please visit: www.hikenovascotia.ca/projects/leave-no-trace.

Leave No Trace Tips: Be Considerate of Others

As part of our regular feature on the seven Leave No Trace Principles, we’re featuring Principle #7: Be Considerate of Others.

One of the most important components of outdoor ethics is to maintain courtesy toward other visitors. It helps everyone enjoy their outdoor experience. Many people come to the outdoors to listen to nature. Excessive noise, unleashed pets and damaged surroundings take away from everyone’s experience. So, keep the noise level down while traveling and if you bring a radio or music, use headphones so you will not disturb others. Also keep in mind that the feeling of solitude, especially in open areas, is enhanced when group size is small, contacts are infrequent and behavior is unobtrusive. To maximize your feeling of privacy, avoid trips on holidays and busy weekends or take a trip during the off season.

Groups leading or riding livestock have the right-of-way on trails. Hikers and bicyclists should move off the trail to the downhill side. Talk quietly to the riders as they pass, since horses are spooked easily.

Take rest breaks on durable surfaces well off the designated trail. Keep in mind that visitors to seldom used places require an extra commitment to travel quietly and lightly on the land. Click here for more details on being considerate of others, including campsite etiquette, how to lessen visual impacts, dog-owner etiquette and respecting the land.

Learn more about Leave No Trace Canada.

Leave No Trace Tips: Respect Wildlife

As part of our regular feature on the seven Leave No Trace Principles, we’re featuring Principle #6: Respect Wildlife.

Learn about wildlife through quiet observation. Do not disturb wildlife or plants just for a “better look”. Observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee. Large groups often cause more damage to the environment and can disturb wildlife so keep your group small. If you have a larger group, divide into smaller groups if possible to minimize your impacts.

 

Quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals. Travel quietly and do not pursue, feed or force animals to flee. (One exception is in bear country where it is good to make a little noise so as not to startle the bears.) In hot or cold weather, disturbance can affect an animal’s ability to withstand the rigorous environment. Do not touch, get close to, feed or pick up wild animals. It is stressful to the animal, and it is possible that the animal may harbour rabies or other diseases. Sick or wounded animals can bite, peck or scratch and send you to the hospital. Young animals removed or touched by well-meaning people may cause the animal’s parents to abandon them. If you find sick animals or animal in trouble, notify a game warden. Click here for more details on respecting wildlife.

Learn more about Leave No Trace Canada.

Leave No Trace Tips: Minimize Campfire Impacts

As part of our regular feature on the seven Leave No Trace Principles, we’re featuring Principle #5: Minimize Campfire Impacts.

The use of campfires, once a necessity for cooking and warmth, is steeped in history and tradition. Some people would not think of camping without a campfire. Campfire building is also an important skill for every camper. Yet, the natural appearance of many areas has been degraded by the overuse of fires and an increasing demand for firewood. The development of light-weight efficient camp stoves has encouraged a shift away from the traditional fire. Stoves have become essential equipment for minimum-impact camping. They are fast, flexible and eliminate firewood availability as a concern in campsite selection. Stoves operate in almost any weather condition, and they Leave No Trace.

The first thing to ask yourself is do I need a campfire. Click here to learn more about:

  • Lessening impacts when campfires are used
  • Using existing fire rings
  • Building a mound fire
  • Using fire pans
  • Firewood and cleanup
  • Safety

Learn more at Leave No Trace Canada.

Leave No Trace Tips: Camp on Durable Surfaces

As part of our regular feature on the seven Leave No Trace Principles, we’re featuring Principle #2: Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. Last time we focused on the first part of this Principle. Now we’ll focus on the second part: Camp on Durable Surfaces.

Selecting an appropriate campsite is perhaps the most important aspect of low-impact back try use. It requires the greatest use of judgment and information and often involves making trade-offs between minimizing ecological and social impacts. A decision about where to camp should be based on information about the level and type of use in the area, the fragility of vegetation and soil, the likelihood of wildlife disturbance, an assessment of previous impacts, and your party’s potential to cause or avoid impact. Find more detailed information here on:

  • Choosing a campsite in high-use areas
  • Camping in undisturbed remote areas
  • Camping in river corridors

Learn more at Leave No Trace Canada.

Fall Guided Hike Series

Another slate of Fall Guided Hikes is available through Hike Nova Scotia and its partners across the province. The 15 hikes in September and October are led by local folks and participants qualify to win “trail prizes.” Click here for details on the following hikes:

  • Sept. 9: Annapolis Royal Seasonal Walk
  • Sept. 10: White Point to Burnt Head Trail, Cape Breton
  • Sept. 15: Fishing Cove Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Sept. 18: Cape George Trails, Antigonish County
  • Sept. 18: St. Mary’s River Walk, Waternish (Guysborough County)
  • Sept. 18: Windhorse Farm Trail, New Germany
  • Sept. 24: Greenwood Walk, Greenwood
  • Sept. 25: Card Lake Colors Hike, Card Lake Provincial Park (near Chester)
  • Oct. 2: Keji Trails, Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site
  • Oct. 12: Acadian Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Oct. 13: Branch Pond Look-Off, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Oct. 14: Franey Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Oct. 14: Kingston Year Round Walk, Kingston
  • Oct. 22: Kentville Pumpkin Walk, Kentville
  • Oct. 23: Rogers Hill Trail, Durham (Pictou County)

Hike NS thanks its partners for organizing the hikes on the ground: Valley Trekkers Volkssport Club, Hike the Highlands Festival, Fresh Air Society, Nova Scotia Nature Trust, St. Mary’s River Association, Windhorse Farm, Chester Recreation and Parks, Annapolis County Recreation Services, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Celtic Colours Festival, and Cape to Cape Committee of the Pictou County Trails Association.

Leave No Trace Tips: Travel on Durable Surfaces

As part of our regular feature on the seven Leave No Trace Principles, we’re featuring Principle #2: Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. We’ll focus on the first part of this Principle – Travel on Durable Surfaces. The next time, we’ll focus on Camp on Durable Surfaces.

  • Travel on Durable Surfaces: The goal of backcountry travel is to move through the backcountry while avoiding damage to the land. Understanding how travel causes impacts is necessary to accomplish this goal. Travel damage occurs when surface vegetation or communities of organisms are trampled beyond recovery. The resulting barren area leads to soil erosion and the development of undesirable trails. Backcountry travel may involve travel over both trails and off-trail areas.
  • Travel on Trails: Concentrating travel on trails reduces the likelihood that multiple routes will develop and scar the landscape. It is better to have one well-designed route than many poorly chosen paths. Trail use is recommended whenever possible. Encourage travelers to stay within the width of the trail and not short cut trail switchbacks (trail zigzags that climb hill sides). Travelers should provide space for other hikers if taking breaks along the trail. The principles of off-trail travel should be practiced if the decision is made to move off-trail for breaks.
  • Travel Off-trail – Spread Use and Impact in Pristine Areas: All travel that does not utilize a designed trail such as travel to remote areas, searches for bathroom privacy, and explorations near and around campsites is defined as off-trail. Two primary factors increase how off-trail travel affects the land: durability of surfaces and vegetation, and frequency of travel (or group size). Durability refers to the ability of surfaces or vegetation to withstand wear or remain in a stable condition. Frequency of use and large group size increase the like hood that a large area will be trampled, or that a small area will be trampled multiple times.

Learn more at Leave No Trace Canada.

Host a Safe Hiker Course

What: Hike Nova Scotia’s Safe Hiker Course aims to teach new and inexperienced hikers how to have safe, low-impact and enjoyable hiking experiences.
Why: Hike NS envisions more Nova Scotians and visitors enjoying a broad network of places for hiking, walking and snowshoeing and doing so in a responsible manner. To realize this, we need to give hikers the skills and knowledge to do it safely, with minimal impact and with confidence.
Who
: The course targets new and inexperienced hikers, especially youth (13 to 18) and seniors (55 and up). The minimum age for participants is 13 years old. Hike NS offers the course to organizations that can recruit between 10 and 20 participants. Course hosts may include schools, scouting/guiding groups, youth-serving organizations, seniors groups, trail groups, hiking/walking clubs, naturalist clubs and others. The course is a resource for such groups to build skills, knowledge and capacity in encouraging healthy and safe physical activity among their target audiences.
When & Where
:Courses will take place in the fall of 2011 (Sept. to Dec.). There are a limited number of courses available, so potential course host organizations are encouraged to contact Hike Nova Scotia as soon as possible. It is a half-day course (3.5 hours).
Cost
: $20 per participant, including a manual and certificate of completion. The fee may be paid by individual participants or covered by the host organization. Host organizations must recruit between 10 and 20 participants in order to run a course.

Find more details about the course here.  Contact Hike Nova Scotia for more information at info@hikenovascotia.ca.

Leave No Trace Tips: Plan Ahead and Prepare

As part of our regular feature on the seven Leave No Trace Principles, we’re featuring Principle #1: Plan Ahead and Prepare.

Adequate trip planning and preparation helps backcountry travelers accomplish trip goals safely and enjoyably, while simultaneously minimizing damage to the land. Poor planning often results in miserable campers and damage to natural and cultural resources. Rangers often tell stories of campers they have encountered who, because of poor planning and unexpected conditions, degrade backcountry resources and put themselves at risk. Why is trip planning important?

  • It helps ensure the safety of groups and individuals.
  • It prepares you to Leave No Trace and minimizes resource damage.
  • It contributes to accomplishing trip goals safely and enjoyably.
  • It increases self-confidence and opportunities for learning more about nature.

There are seven elements to consider when planning a trip:

  1. Identify and record the goals (expectations) of your trip.
  2. Identify the skill and ability of trip participants.
  3. Select destinations that match your goals, skills, and abilities
  4. Gain knowledge of the area you plan to visit from land managers, maps, and literature.
  5. Choose equipment and clothing for comfort, safety, and Leave No Trace qualities.
  6. Plan trip activities to match your goals, skills, and abilities.
  7. Evaluate your trip upon return and note changes you will make next time.

Learn more at Leave No Trace Canada.