Free Guided Tours of Protected Areas

Environment and Labour (to April 1/08)

April 12, 2006 12:56 PM

Hikers, walkers and paddlers in Nova Scotia have a chance to go on free guided tours of the province's protected areas.

The Department of Environment and Labour has arranged guided outings in nine protected areas in different parts of the province. The tours will be conducted by specialists from the department and from community groups. The first guided tour takes place on Saturday, April 29, and the final tour is Feb. 10, 2007.

The tours will offer nature lovers a range of experiences in Nova Scotia's great outdoors, including: a late evening owl survey, an easy walk through an old growth forest, a day-long paddle beside coastal sand dunes, a hike to the top of a mountain, and a survey of mosses and lichen on the way to a waterfall.

"Our protected areas provide a secure place for nature and wildlife to prosper in Nova Scotia," said Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, Minister of Environment and Labour. "These guided tours are a good way for Nova Scotians to enjoy and learn about the natural history of the province that is protected by these areas."

The guided tours are:

Saturday, April 29
Owl Prowl at Eigg Mountain-James River Wilderness Area, Antigonish County
Rob Cameron, ecologist with the Department of Environment and Labour's protected areas branch, and Mark Pulsifer, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, for a late evening owl survey to determine species and numbers around Eigg Mountain. The survey will consist of a drive along a pre-determined route with stops every 1.6 kilometre. At the stops, owl hooting recordings will be played and the owls' responses documented. To register, contact Rob Cameron at 902-424-2176 or at camerorp@gov.ns.ca .

Sunday, June 11
Abraham Lake Old-Growth Forest Walk at Abraham Lake Candidate Nature Reserve, Halifax County
An easy walk through an impressive old-growth red spruce forest -- a remnant forest type which has all but disappeared in the province. Suitable for all ages. Contact David MacKinnon for more information at 902-424-2027, 902-223-1760 or at mackinds@gov.ns.ca .

Saturday, June 24
Hike the Kenomee Canyon Trail at Economy River Wilderness Area, Colchester County. Join Garnet McLaughlin of Kenomee Trail Society (KTS) for an all-day, guided hike of the 18-kilometre Kenomee Canyon hiking trail. The tour features beautiful hardwood and spruce forests and waterfalls of the upper Economy River. This hiking trail is managed by KTS through an agreement with the Department of Environment and Labour. Good fitness is required. For information, contact Garnet McLaughlin at 902-897-3180 or at gmclaughlin@colchester-county.ns.ca .

Saturday, July 8
Family Adventure Treasure Hunt at Cloud Lake Wilderness Area, Annapolis-Kings County
Spend the day exploring Cloud Lake by canoe, learning about the natural and cultural history of the area through a self-guided nature treasure hunt. Participants will locate seven learning stations and solve each riddle to gather clues, leading to the hidden treasure. Safe canoeing practices and basic paddling experience are required. For more information and to register, contact Leif Helmer at 902-543-4685 or at helmerpl@gov.ns.ca .

Saturday, July 22
Paddle to the Coast at Gabarus Wilderness Area, Cape Breton Co.
Enjoy a day-long paddle along the shores of Gabarus and Belfry lakes to the coastal sand dunes bordering Fourchu Bay. This is a unique opportunity to canoe or kayak scenic, wilderness freshwater lakes while enjoying lunch on Belfry Beach. Suitable for teens and adults with some canoeing or kayaking experience. For more information and to pre-register, contact David Williams at 902-563-3428 or at williadc@gov.ns.ca .

Saturday, Aug. 12
Coastal Barrens Interpretive Hike at Duncans Cove Nature Reserve, Halifax County
Explore footpaths within the recently designated Duncans Cove Nature Reserve. Overlooking outer Halifax Harbour, these rugged coastal barrens are home to many species adapted to wind, fog and thin soils. Participants might find blueberries, or even see whales. Register by contacting Oliver Maass at 902-424-2123 or at maassoc@gov.ns.ca .

Saturday, Aug. 26
Mosses of Eigg Mountain-James River Wilderness Area, in Antigonish County
Learn how to identify common mosses, liverworts and some lichens. Lunch will be at James River Falls. This is a rugged trail with wet spots, and some steep slopes and slippery areas. Register by contacting Rob Cameron at 902-424-2176 or at camerorp@gov.ns.ca .

Saturday, Sept. 16
Climb a Mountain Today -- The Sugarloaf! at Sugarloaf Mountain Wilderness Area, Inverness County
This guided hike through a hardwood forest trail to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain will reward hikers with fabulous views of the upper and lower sections of Margaree Valley. This hike is demanding in terms of length (10-12 kilometres) and elevation. To preregister, contact David Williams at 902-563-3428 or at williadc@gov.ns.ca .

Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007
Cross Country Skiing at Gully Lake Wilderness Area in Colchester County
Explore the hardwood forest trails of Gully Lake Wilderness Area on skis. This new, 3,810 hectare (9,400 acre) wilderness area protects the largest remaining patch of mature forest in the Truro-Pictou area and was home to Kitchener MacDonald, known as the hermit of Gully Lake. To register contact Oliver Maass at 902-424-2123 or at maassoc@gov.ns.ca .

For more information and a map showing the guided tour locations, see the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour website at www.gov.ns.ca/enla .


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Hikers, walkers and paddlers will have a chance to go on

free guided tours of the province's protected areas.

     Nova Scotia's Department of Environment and Labour has

arranged guided outings in nine protected areas in different

parts of the province, beginning on Saturday, April 29th.

     Nature specialists will lead tours which will include: a

late evening owl survey, a walk through an old-growth forest, a

day long paddle beside coastal sand dunes, a hike to a waterfall,

and several other tours.

     Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, the minister of Environment and

Labour, says the guided tours are a good way for Nova Scotians to

enjoy and learn about the natural history that is protected by

these areas.

     Locations, dates and registration information can be found

on the Department of Environment and Labour website

(www.gov.ns.ca/enla).

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Media Contact: Bruce Nunn
              Environment and Labour
              902-424-6427
              E-mail: nunnbx@gov.ns.ca