News release

Thaw Risky for Trail Users

Trail users in the province should be cautious as warming temperatures lead to thawing and risky ice conditions.

"Nova Scotia's trails can be wonderful places for hiking, snowmobiling and other winter activities, but special care is needed at this time of year to stay safe," said John MacDonell, acting Minister of Natural Resources. "Melting and thawing conditions present risks that trail users should watch for."

After storms in the fall and wet conditions this winter, there may be hidden cavities, or washouts, beneath the melting snow and ice. Soft ice and snow near open water is especially hazardous. Trail users, on foot or in a vehicle, should avoid unfamiliar areas and carry a staff to probe suspect sites or to serve as a rescue reach.

"Outdoor recreation is a great way to remain physically active," said Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness. "As temperatures begin to rise, Nova Scotians should stay off ice that may be too soft."

Nova Scotians enjoying recreational trails at this time of year are encouraged to remember the 1-10-1 rule. Immediately after falling into cold water, a person has one minute to catch their breath, 10 minutes before losing muscle control, and one hour before hypothermia sets in. Keeping calm in the first few minutes is important.

Someone who falls into a partially frozen lake or waterway should try to not panic. If the adjacent ice is not solid, the person should try to break it. If solid ice is near, the person should use a kicking motion to try to get up onto the solid ice and then roll to safety.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Hikers, snowmobilers and other trail users should watch for thawing and risky ice conditions.

The departments of Natural Resources and Health and Wellness advise that soft ice and snow near open water is especially hazardous.

A person who falls into cold water, has about one minute to catch their breath, 10 minutes before losing muscle control, and one hour before hypothermia sets in. It's important to keep calm in those first few minutes.

It's a good idea to carry a staff to probe suspect sites or to serve as a rescue reach.

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Media Contacts:

Bruce Nunn
Department of Natural Resources 902-424-5239 Cell: 476 6454 E-mail:
Tony Kiritsis
Department Health and Wellness 902-424-0585 E-mail: